China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has made the bond between two countries stronger than ever. According to Chinese media, Gwadar is emerging on the world map as next Dubai. There will be some massive changes economy-wise not only for the Pakistan but it will also benefit whole region.
Gwadar is a town in the outskirts of Balochistan. It is a town with a population of less than 0.1 million. Since 1947, Gwadar was the territory of Oman before it was being bought by Pakistan 11 years later in 1958. Gwadar is gifted with a natural deep-water harbor that falls close to main shipping lanes and an anchor-shaped peninsula that acts as a breakwater shielding the harbor from the waves of the Arabian Sea.
A grand ceremony will take place next month in Gwadar to mark the completion and initiation of major mega infrastructure projects. A hospital, water dam and a school will be put in use in the month of August. There will be some more developments afterwards in the form of a seaside expressway, a training center, a pipeline and Gwadar International Airport which will require a sum of $260 million. These projects are majorly financed by China and they fall under CPEC.
China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) is a Chinese company under which Gwadar port is being managed. The COPHC Pakistan Chief, Wu Chunguo, said that the company will initiate manufacturing the Gwadar Free Trade Zone (FTZ) with a preliminary investment of $150 million this month. He stated that:
“First phase projects in the FTZ include a multi-function business center, an exhibition hall for Chinese goods and cold storage”
The Government of Pakistan has granted preferable policies to attract local and foreign investment in the region with the exemption of tax for companies inside the two (The FTZ and the Gwadar Special Economic Zone) zones for whopping 23 years and 10 years respectively.
Gwadar port was chosen by China as one of the 4 attentions for its aspiring scheme to refurbish the infrastructure of Pakistan. Rest of the 3 domains are upgrading road and railroad networks, patching up the energy sector and establishing industrial parks, all projects that stand to benefit from a prosperous Gwadar port.
COPHC Pakistan Chief, Wu Chunguo, is elated with the overall progress after seeing things moving in the right direction. He said that:
“We are seeing an increasing number of businesses coming for talks to invest in the port. In April we received more than 350 business representatives, a record high”
Gwadar is tipped to become the next big thing of Pakistan. Things are moving in the right direction at present and the government of Gwadar is hoping to develop the seashore town into a modern metropolitan area with a major port, industrial zones, tourist attractions, recreation grounds and high-end real estate.
According to the Gwadar Port Authority Chairman, Dostain Jamaldini, a land price in Gwadar has more than doubled in the past 2 years. He stated that:
“An acre of land in the FTZ, which cost PKR 3.4 million rupees (32,000 U.S. dollars) in 2014, is now priced at more than PKR 10 million rupees (95,000 US dollars). Land price for the most prime location on the tip of the peninsula is even higher”
The locals are also looking forward to a better life as they look forward to secure a better life.
Dostain Jamaldini was optimistic about the future of Gwadar stating that CPEC will play a vital role in helping the region to become a business and tourist center. He also believes that Gwadar can become what Dubai has achieved today. He stated that:
“Dubai is the word which is often used when the people of Gwadar picture their future, believing the huge opportunities created by CPEC. It will transform their fishing town to a center of business, shipping and tourism. What Dubai can achieve, so can we.”