ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs on Tuesday endorsed its sub-committee’s recommendation to make the entire Gwadar city a tax-free zone.
Recommendations were presented in a report by sub-committee convener Senator Kauda Babar to the Senate panel with Senator Nuzhat Sadiq in the chair. All of the recommendations have been given the green light.
The Senate panel also endorsed the suggestion that investors in Gwadar should be facilitated like the ones in other special economic and export processing zones.
Senator Babar apprised the chair that the report was formulated after close negotiations with relevant stakeholders and mentioned all the problems of the fishermen and the local community inhabiting Gwadar whereas member of Balochistan Assembly Jamal Kalmati was also taken onboard.
The report expressed dissatisfaction over the facilities provided at the Gwadar Airport and suggested enabling facilities being rendered at other big airports of the country.
The report also suggested establishing 300 megawatts (MW) coal power plant in Gwadar on a priority basis.
It further proposed that railroads, internet service were necessary for the development of Gwadar Port whereas the issues pertaining to the provision of potable water and electricity needed to be resolved as there would be no investment and development without these facilities.
Senator Shamim Afridi said that the Gwadar Development Authority had banned investment in the city which was hampering development and investments to embark on the port city which should be elevated at the earliest.
Senator Rana Mahmoodul Hassan opined that floating cage fish farming had proved to be a fruitful source of fishing whereas Gwadar had the ideal terrain for the concept as it was carried out in the sea.
He said the government should collaborate with the Chinese authorities to devise a plan for providing finances to local fishermen’s families, adding that there were unexplored resources in Gwadar which needed to be exploited for the good of the local community as well as the country.
(This news/article originally appeared in The Express Tribune on January 9th, 2019)