ISLAMABAD – Construction work on pilot phase of Gwadar Port Free Zone will be completed by December this year, Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo announced on Thursday.
The minister said that according to the existing Gwadar City Master Plan being managed by Gwadar Development Authority and the Balochistan government, the entire area is divided into two major portions. One is port and industrial areas along the East Bay side of Gwadar and residential, commercial areas and tourism on the West Bay side of Gwadar.
On East Bay side, three industrial economic zones have been established by the government. Gwadar Port Free Zone, owned by Gwadar Port Authority and Ministry of Ports and Shipping is on 2,281 acres of land adjacent to port area. After the completion of pilot phase in December 2017, work on next phase will be started from January 2018. Gwadar Industrial Estate is on 2,445 acres of land, whereas Gwadar Export Promotion Zone owned by the Ministry of Industries is spread over 1,000 acres of land. According to the City Master Plan, major tourism related initiatives can be taken on the West Bay side of Gwadar. The federal government has allowed 23 years tax incentives to the investors registered in GPFZ. These include exemptions from paying federal taxes like import and export duties, sales tax, corporate income tax and federal excise duty.
While replying to a question, Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Sardar Muhammad Yousaf said that total Haj applications received for Haj 2017 were 388,696, while 104,982 were declared successful after balloting.
The minister said as per Haj Policy and Plan 2017, two percent of the total seats under government Haj scheme was reserved for the hardship, broken family, newly born infant cases, and applicants belonging to the far-flung or rural areas. Out of above reserved quota, 500 seats were reserved for low paid employees, labourers of public sector or corporate organisations, and companies registered with the EOBI or Workers Welfare Fund.
The cases of hardship are under process while Haj applicants above 90 years of age were declared successful without ballot along with one helper.
He said no applicant has been selected for Haj on recommendations of any one.