The ceremony was attended by Federal Ministers, parliamentarians, dignitaries, senior officials and others.
Giving details of the Bill signed yesterday, spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said SEZ Bill 2012 originated in the Senate and was passed by it on 8th March, 2012. National Assembly also passed the Bill on 13th July, 2012, without any amendment.
He said that, addressing the gathering on the occasion, the President said that one of the major reasons for economic backwardness has been the frequent reversal of economic and investment policies with the change of the governments for political reasons. He said that this is for the first time that the President gave assent to a consensus law to ensure continuity of economic and investment policy and it would no longer be possible to change the policy without changing the law.
In his address, the President congratulated Chairman Board of Investment and his team on this landmark achievement and said that he was pleased to learn that the new law was based on consensus and has the support of economic ministries, the private sector and all stakeholders.
The President said that we believe in consensus and taking along all stake holders. The SEZ Bill, he continued, is an example of this policy.
He said that the law will help in reducing the cost of doing business and will increase exports, create jobs and enhance the rate of return to investors.
The President said that under the new law all capital goods, machinery and equipment will get one time exemption from the customs duties and the entrepreneurs will be exempted from Income Tax for ten years.
He said that this law lays the basis of industrial development in the country as the incentives granted to investors will be protected by Law. He said that it will enhance the investor’s confidence and will ensure continuity of economic policies.
The President also said that such laws have played a major role in the economic development of China, India, Thailand and other regional countries.
On this occasion, the President lauded the vision of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and her economic policies. He said that Shaheed Benazir established Board of Investment at a time when there were tremendous opportunities for the country to attract foreign investments.
The President said that imprudent reversal of her policies resulted for the country to miss important economic and investment opportunities. He reiterated his call for ensuring continuity of the economic policies so the economic progress goes unhampered.
The President said that Pakistan has great economic potential. He said that we have a strategic location, rich mineral resources, and skilled manpower. We must utilize these assets for the economic development of the country, the President emphasized. He also urged BOI to ensure the speedy implementation of the SEZ Act.
Earlier, Saleem H. Manviwala highlighted various features of the Bill. In his remarks, Chairman BoI said that SEZ Bill has undergone thorough consultative process with Economic Ministries, private sector and has the unanimous support of all federating units of Pakistan. He said that BoI has worked very hard over a period of 3 years to achieve this convergence.
The chairman said that the approval of SEZ Bill was another achievement of the present democratic government. The law, he said, will provide the basis for industrial development in the country in a big way.
He said that this law has been made to meet the global challenges of competitiveness to attract FDI. It will allow creation of industrial cluster with liberal incentives to enhance productivity and reduce cost of doing business. He said that the incentives granted to investors under this Act are protected by law which will go a long way to enhance the investor’s confidence in our economic policies.