A Chinese company will start construction of Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Khyber Pakhtoonkhaw (KP) province, the first industrial park under framework of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in June this year.
Wu Guisheng, Vice President, China National Electric Engineering Co.Ltd (CNEEC), a competitive contractor in Pakistan’s energy sector which has so far completed 12 projects including power plants and power grids throughout the country, told Beijing Review that the company is working with its Pakistani partners to build the SEZ.
Both the local government of KP and the federal government have approved the plan, and the Chinese government also supports this project, expected to start in June, said Wu. Wu said the CPEC is not only a transport route, but also a basket of comprehensive solutions to support the sustainable development of the local economy and people.
Rashakai Special Economic Zone, less than 50 km away from a planned CPEC railway and Peshawar, is designed to cover an area of 4.04 square km, he said, adding, the SEZ will become a new home to manufacturing and hi-tech innovation companies and a land hub of trade and logistics.
“Besides construction, we will run the SEZ and provide companies in the zone with all-around services, including training for local employees,” said Wu, adding that locals are concerned about access to job opportunities.
Wu said that CNEEC, like many other Chinese companies in Pakistan, gives priority to efforts to employ locals. Local talents account for the majority of employees at a CNEEC subsidiary established last September in Lahore.
Zhao Yao, Managing Director of CNEEC Pakistan Engineering Co. Ltd. said the new subsidiary has around 1,000 Pakistani employees, but only 20 Chinese staff members. Zhao who has worked in Pakistan for 13 years and is also vice president of the association of Chinese enterprises in Pakistan is acquainted with local conditions and the importance of recruiting and training local employees.
“It is unfeasible to maintain a large Chinese construction team in any foreign country. So we made efforts to recruit local people and offer them training in electronics, construction and management,” said Zhao. He said that training locals has helped CNEEC’s bids for projects in Pakistan.—APP