SEZs: Govt likely to set up ‘Nidra’ to supervise SEZs

SEZs : Communications Secretary Fawad Hasan Fawad highlights the government’s commitment to enhancing investor facilitation and promoting accountability in service delivery through the privatization initiative.

In a significant development, the Pakistani government is contemplating the creation of the National Industrial Development and Regulatory Authority (Nidra) to oversee Special Economic Zones (SEZs) throughout the country.

This strategic move, championed by the Minister for Privatisation, Fawad Hasan Fawad, aims to enhance the facilitation of investors and introduce a higher degree of accountability in the delivery of services.

Minister Fawad Hasan Fawad, in discussions with concerned Ministries and provincial governments, shed light on the challenges posed by the current SEZ framework.

He pointed out that the existing model, with dispersed authorities and varying incentive structures among different tiers of government, has led to confusion among investors and inefficiencies in service delivery.

To address these issues, Minister Fawad Hasan Fawad proposed a model based on Constitutional arrangements, particularly under Article 147. The key features of this proposed model include:

  1. Establishment of the National Industrial Development and Regulatory Authority through legislation, following consultations with provinces.
  2. Empowerment of the Authority with executive powers in SEZs, consolidating functions currently distributed among provinces and local governments.
  3. Adoption of a company structure in each SEZ or zone, with a Chief Executive having complete authority, responsibility, and accountability.
  4. Elimination of distortions caused by different types of zones, such as Economic Zones, Technology Zones, and Industrial Zones.
  5. Prohibition of the sale of land within any zone, with land being provided rather than sold.
  6. Protection of the revenue interests of provinces, ensuring that any revenue collected by the Authority related to provincial functions is transferred to the respective provinces.

Minister Fawad Hasan Fawad sought feedback on this proposed model from participants, including representatives from provincial governments and relevant divisions. The response was generally positive, with key officials endorsing the potential for increased efficiency and viability.

While challenges remain, the proposed model signals a concerted effort to establish a more streamlined and accountable system for SEZs in Pakistan.

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