COPHC gets 23-year tax exemption: Ali Zaidi

ISLAMABAD:The government has granted tax exemption to the China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) for 23 years to establish its industrial units at the Gwadar Port.

The COPHC, which is operating the Gwadar Port, would get tax exemption for installation of machinery and other equipment at the port, said Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi told a press conference here on Tuesday.

Flanked by COPHC Chief Executive Officer Zhang Baozhong and Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, he said the initiative was a step towards relocation of Chinese manufacturing industry in Gwadar engaging the local labour, which would ultimately boost Pakistan’s economy.

Ali Zaidi said China had announced to build the Pak-China Technical and Vocational Training Institute in Gwadar at a cost of around $10 million. It would open job opportunities for the local people at the port as about 360 students equipped with technical skills would pass out annually from it, he added.

He said the Pak-China Friendship Hospital costing $100 million would also be established on 68 acres land to cater the medical needs of the locals.

The minister said the COPHC would also set up a desalination plant with the cost of Rs 1.95 billion to provide some 5,000 gallons water per day to the indigenous population.

A coal power plant of 300 mega watt electricity would also be set up in Gwadar, he added.

On the issue of Gwadar Port’s connectivity with the Makran Coastal Highway, he said the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) had approved construction of three bridges on the Eastbay Expressway to resolve the grievances of local fisherman.

Around 40 percent construction work on the Eastbay Expressway had been completed while the rest would be completed by December 2020, he added.

COPHC CEO Zhang Baozhong said with the timely intervention, the present government had resolved the tax exemption issue, which had been pending for the last seven years.

He expressed the hope that due to the business friendly policies of the government, more foreign investment would come to the country and Gwadar would become a new economic hub.