Byline: Syed Fazl-E-Haider
Gwadar Port has the potential to transform the country's economic status forever. Strategically located Gwadar enjoys prime importance as it marks the confluence of South Asia, West Asia and Central Asia. The port city is emerging as modern investment center in the region.
This month, President of Pakistan promulgated ordinance to grant tax concessions to the Gwadar Port and its free zone in a move to attract foreign investors into the port. Islamabad has already approved sales tax and federal excise duty exemptions on the import of machinery, equipment, and material either for use in Gwadar Free Zone or for export, subject to the condition that all such imports were made by investors of the free zone. It approved tax exemptions for the businesses to be established in the Gwadar Free Zone area for a period of 23 years with effect from July 2016 on their packaging, distribution, stuffing and de-stuffing, CFS (container freight stuffing), container yard, warehousing including cool and cold rooms, transshipment, labeling, light-end assembly, re-assembly, imports, exports and their value addition, and all related commercial activities.
A special industrial development zone with an area of 4,000 hectare has been proposed for setting up various industries in Gwadar. The export processing zone has also been planned for assembling plant and other industries. Oil storage yard and refinery have also been proposed in the north of Gwadar town. Gwadar is poised to emerge as a hub port providing facilities of warehousing, trans-shipment, transit and coastal trade and the commercial and industrial openings for international export-import trade. The proposed industrial zones in the port city of Gwadar would contribute to the harnessing of the country's potential in natural resources and development of heavy and large-scale industries, petrochemicals and manufacturing.
Federal government has also approved legislative changes to address a longstanding issue of tax concessions for Gwadar Port and Gwadar Free Zone. For the last three years, China wanted Pakistan to amend the Income Tax Ordinance, Sales Tax Act and Customs Act. The decision of amendment was recommended by the National Development Council (NDC), which is chaired by the Prime Minister Imran Khan with Army chief as its member. The new tax concessions have only be granted to the Gwadar zone. China Overseas Port Holding Company Limited (COPHCL), the operator of Gwadar...