PESHAWAR (News Desk): Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is all set to launch its flagship prioritized Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) under CPEC. The Development Agreement of Rashakai pSEZ was recommended by the board of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa SEZ Authority (SEZA) to the Federal Board of Investment (BOI), in its meeting held on Wednesday, said in a press release issued here. In the first phase, a land of 1000 acres in Rashakai was chosen by the Provincial Government to be considered as a prioritized SEZ in Central KP. Rashakai pSEZ is among the three prioritized SEZs that are being focused on in the second phase of CPEC, the other two being Dhabeji (Sindh) and M3 (Punjab). Rashakai has already been given the SEZ status by the Federal BOI through a notification issued on 19th September 2019. The PC-1’s for provision of electricity and gas have already been approved by Power and Petroleum Division’s respectively. KPEZDMC has commenced work on the construction of access road to the doorstep of the zone, well ahead of its committed schedule. The development and subsequently the colonization of Rashakai pSEZ is expected to yield multiple economic benefits including 50,000 direct and 150,000 indirect job creation and opportunities for trade and export to central Asian markets through the expected Torkham corridor. Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Industries, Textile and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on Wednesday said that China Pakistan, Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) is a game changer for increasing the Pakistan exports and also for maintaining balance of trade with China. Speaking as the chief guest, the adviser said that CPFTA Phase II could be weighed as better negotiated than the previous phase due to enhanced protection given to businessmen. The Ministry of Commerce and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) organized here the second of the series of countrywide seminars for apprising the business community of the business and export opportunities arising out of the second phase of CPFTA, which has become operational from 1st January 2020. Under CPFTA-II China has eliminated tariffs on 313 tariff lines, giving Pakistan benefits at par with those of ASEAN countries. These 313 items including textiles, engineering, chemicals, leather, food items, meat, and fisheries besides other which comprise the major chunk of exportable items of Pakistan. The Additional Secretary Commerce briefed the audience about the Phase-II of CPFTA, which offers an enhanced and deeper market access to Pakistan. He apprised the audience that the Phase-II would help Pakistan in enhancing exports from Pakistan to China in coming years with mutual collaboration of Government and Private Sector. The President of RCCI, Saboor Malik said that business community was keenly willing to play its role in supporting Government sector for economic development of the country. He welcomed the CPFTA as a step in the right direction. The President of ICCI said that Trade cooperation between Pakistan and China is need of the hour. He said that CPFTA was a monumental agreement and its application in letter and spirit would help both China and Pakistan in realizing the true trade potential. He also urged the business community for increased value-addition to exports. Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Dr. Muhammad Hamid Ali delivered a detailed presentation covering almost all relevant product areas and other aspects of CPFTA. He enlightened the audience about benefits which would be accrued out of this arrangement. A large number of businessmen from Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce Industry (RCCI), Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and industry (ICCI) , Islamabad Women Chambers, major trade associations and export sectors of Pakistan including agro-food, gemstones, jewellery, marble and stone, chemicals etc. attended the seminar. Federal Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed on Wednesday said that most of CPEC related road projects have been completed whereas work on Western Route has been started. He stated this after a MoU signing ceremony between NHA and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) was held here at NHA Headquarters on Wednesday. The minister said that groundbreaking of Pakistan’s biggest build-operate-transfer (BOT) project Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway would be held soon. Under the MoU, the NBP will provide 11,000 olive plants to NHA free of cost and these will be planted along Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway (M-1) and other roads. Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, State Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul, Secretary Communications Jawwad Rafique Malik, Chairman NHA Capt Sikandar Qayyum (retd) and senior officers of Ministry of Communications, National Highway Authority and National Bank of Pakistan were also present on the occasion. The minister that as per vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, ground is being prepared for making Pakistan an Islamic welfare state by adopting welfare schemes like Ehsas Program, Kamyab Jawan Program, Sehat Insaf Card, Shelter Homes, etc. He further said that extremely changing climate is demanding more and more plantation in the country so that a safe future could be given to the coming generation. Through reforms, National Highway Authority and Postal Services have been put on the track of development in terms of increasing revenue and savings. He said under Clean & Green Pakistan initiative, the NHA is making the highways and motorways of Pakistan beautiful and it is responsibility of the masses to play their role in keeping them clean. Murad said that the government is working on the plan to make NHA a self-reliant institution which would build roads without government funding. He said that in the past, rulers used to build palaces for themselves and had done nothing for the poor segment of the society. He said that it is the PTI government which launched shelter homes and Langar Khanas (soup kitchens) for the homeless and poor people. He said that Kamyab Jawan and Ehsas programs are also PTI governments’ flagship schemes which would play role in making Pakistan an Islamic welfare state. About Sehat Insaf Card, he said that 5.7 million families have benefited from the health insurance scheme so far. Lashing out at the Sindh government he said that it is not cooperating with the federal government for inclusion of the province in Sehat Insaf Card. He said that 2020 would be the year of development, economic stability and public welfare. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has put the country’s economy in the right direction with difficult and bold decisions and fruits of this betterment would reach the common man. NHA’s General Manager (M-1) Amjad Ali Khan and Vice President & Regional Head of Islamic National Bank of Pakistan Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Saima Rahim signed the MOU. Murad Saeed said during the last 16 months, revenue of National Highway Authority has been increased and savings are recorded considerably. Malik Amin Aslam said the Prime Minister has given a clear vision for making Pakistan a welfare state. The present government is endeavouring to bring about a positive change in all spheres of life so that a bright future could be given to the youth. He said Ministry of Climate Change is fully aware of climatic changes and utilizing all available resources for ensuring plantation in the country. Wide ranging plantation is the dire need of the present time, he added. State Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said, “Changing weather conditions have posed threat to the nation and we are to face it through collective efforts. Plantation along road network is an expensive job.” She expressed gratitude to Ministry of Communications, media and civil society in achieving the plantation targets in the country. Zartaj Gul said the government is taking concrete measures to address challenges arising out of climate change in the country. She said the government is establishing green belts along motorways in collaboration with NHA. Vice President & Regional Head of Islamic National Bank of Pakistan Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Saima Rahim also expressed her views on the occasion.