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Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is located at Rashakai in district Nowshera of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province along the M-1 (Peshawar-Islamabad) Motorway. It is the most attractive economic zone for local and multinational companies because of easy access and its proximity to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This SEZ will be spread over an area of more than 1000 acres and will provide opportunities to the companies to set up their industrial/manufacturing units. Different types of industrial units will be established in the SEZ including electronics and electrical appliances, automobiles and mechanical equipment, general merchandising and sports goods, home-building materials, garments, textile products, etc. This project has been conceptualized by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Economic Zones Development and Management Company (KPEZDMC), giving its incumbents an additional benefit of being an exceptionally preplanned SEZ of international standards. RSEZ is located on M1 Motorway at Mardan Interchange and links to CPEC through Burhan Interchange on M1 and Swat Express Way (CPEC route) on Karnal Sher Khan Interchange connecting Dir, Chitral and Shandur. Due to its central position in the province, it is going to be the imminent trade hub of KP.
It will bolster industrialization, promote Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), construction, pharmaceutical, food and marble industries, in addition to increase trade volume between Pakistan and the aforementioned countries.
RSEZ, a three-year project would be developed in three phases. Total area designated for the industrial use is 702 acres and as per Federal SEZ Areas Regulations,159 acres would be developed in Phase I, 279 acres in Phase II and 264 acres in Phase III, besides 76 acres of land has been allocated for the commercial use.
In the first phase, industries related to textile, garments, home-building materials, general merchandise, electronics, mines and minerals, electrical appliances, automobile, mechanical equipment and food processing plants would be set up at RSEZ and, at later stages, more industries would be included to gain maximum capital.
RSEZ holds a unique competitive advantage due to its close proximity to the first juncture of CPEC (China- Pakistan Economic Corridor) route, close location with Peshawar Airport and ML-I, besides a significant resource and manufacturing base, making it an attractive destination for domestic and international investors to capture local and international markets.
The aggressive marketing of the SEZ to local and foreign investors is crucial for its speedy occupation and operationalization. With the standard of services combined with the attractive incentives offered by the Pakistani government, Rashakai has the potential to become a hub of economic activity.
Pakistan and China are on one page to give preference to the construction of Rashakai as a priority Special Economic Zone in KP province which would be the first of its kind economic zone under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in KP and measures are being taken to ensure speedy construction of the special economic zone. It is false propaganda that China prefers Hattar over Rashakai as a priority Special Economic Zone. It is untrue and the speculations in this regard are out of context and one-sided, in addition, these seem like part of the move to light up a baseless controversy. The Rashaki Economic Zone site has been identified by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government as a priority location, approved for inclusion in CPEC by the 6th Joint Cooperation Committee held on Dec 29, 2016, in Beijing, China. The zone site has been preferred by the KP government due to its location on M1-Peshawar to Karachi Motorway which under the CPEC Transport Plan and is part of both Western and Eastern corridors. The Board of Approval chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved Rashakai Economic Zone under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project which will give jobs to about 200,000 people. The investment of Rs.4 billion will be made in the RSEZ which will bring a new era of development to the province. The investors will get special facilities in the project and people will get jobs which will improve the overall economic situation. The merger process of former tribal areas in KP is continuing at a rapid pace. Prime Minister Imran Khan played a great role in sanctioning Rs83 billion for the development of merged tribal districts. RSEZ is one of the nine such zones under CPEC. Economy experts believe that the mega project is a major opportunity to change the economic geographies of Pakistan and China, especially of Pakistan under which both the countries plan to establish special economic zones alongside the corridor in years to come. It will boost industrialization and generate economic activities.

The writer is a PhD Scholar (English Literature).
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