The Balochistan provincial government has officially declared Gwadar as a tax-free zone, urging federal authorities to grant the region a similar economic status, Express News reported.
According to the provincial government, Gwadar will now be exempt from services and excise tax, and any tax on property transfers, a significant development for the district which is of immense importance in the region and slated to become a hub for investment in South Asia.
Senator Kauda Babar, who belongs to district Gwadar, hailed the cabinet’s decision as a welcome step.
Expressing his gratitude towards Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo and the cabinet, Babar said the cabinet’s approval of Gwadar as a tax-free zone was the fulfillment of a long-standing demand. He further urged the federal government to provide relief in federal taxes.
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Babar expressed his belief that the status of a tax-free zone is likely to revive the true spirit of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), stimulating activity at the Gwadar port and attracting further investment.
He mentioned that the progress in other port cities like Dubai and Singapore was also possible due to their status as tax-free zones.
In addition, he predicted that the establishment of industries in Gwadar would create job opportunities for millions and bring foreign exchange into the country.
Last month, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo approved a summary of the planning and development department giving a special economic district status to Gwadar.
A major reason behind giving a special economic district status to Gwadar is to attract national and international investors and open new vistas of development and prosperity in the area. The objective of the initiative is the fast track development of Gwadar and promotion of port related activities.
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Establishment of special economic district (SED) is essential for tourism and other service sectors, sources in the government told The Express Tribune.
After the establishment of SED, trade, tourism, real estate and hoteling sectors will be boosted to the best level of competition, they mentioned. The proposal for Gwadar as a Special Economic District (SED) aims at introducing vocational policies. SED will provide an investor-friendly environment for foreign investment in the port city, the official said.
The sources stated that incentives for exemptions on federal and provincial taxes for industrial activities and concessions in visa policy for investors were also part of the special status. With this initiative, subsidy will be provided to the investors in Gwadar in order to attract more and more investment in the shortest possible time.
This decision on behalf of the Balochistan government has come after massive development activities currently underway in Gwadar to make the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a success.
Gwadar deep sea port has opened new vistas of development and prosperity in the region. It has so far provided jobs to thousands of youth from Balochistan and other parts of the country.