KARACHI: The Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) was established in 1980 with the mandate to plan, develop and operate export processing zones (EPZs) in Pakistan. EPZA is an autonomous body working under the Ministry of Industries. It has a nine member board of directors, and is tasked with setting up EPZs in Pakistan.
EPZA as a system has worked well in Pakistan, especially in Karachi. As an already established, known and tried system for attracting investments and generating exports from Pakistan, it can provide almost risk-free economic uplift.
As an organisational concept, EPZA facilitates, promotes and provides business support to those who wish to set up their units in EPZs. Primarily, it is a service-oriented organisation for the promotion of exports from Pakistan. EPZA itself is not involved in physical business.
The main objectives of EPZA are to improve industrialisation through commercial and marketing activities, provide country-specific investment linkages on reciprocal basis and to simplify paperwork and transfer of technology through foreign investment. For a more holistic picture of what EPZA does, consider that it attracts foreign capital, sets up export-oriented industries, assists in acquiring sophisticated technology, transfer such technology to Pakistan, generates employment and skill development activities, boosts exports and foreign exchange earnings and increases import of raw material from Pakistan.
For businesses, EPZA provides developed land on highly competitive rates for 30 years lease. All zones are enclosed in a boundary wall with well-defined security parameters. EPZs enable business to import machinery, equipment and materials free of duty, while allowing them freedom from national import regulations and exemption from exchange control regulations. Repatriation of capital and profits is allowed to foreign investors, and there is no sales tax on input goods, including electricity and gas bills. Furthermore, duty-free vehicles are allowed under certain conditions
EPZs in Pakistan
Over a period of time, EPZs have been established in different places in Pakistan to develop the natural resources of these areas and to provide job opportunities to locals. Zones which are currently operational include those in Karachi, Risalpur, Saindak, Sialkot, Duddar, and the Tuwairqi Steel Zones in Gujranwala, Gwadar, Reko Diq and Khalifa Coastal.