January 8: The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) established in Bhairahawa with the objective of increasing trade, export, and creating employment has not been fully operational even after 20 years of setting up the facility.
Industrialists complain that the SEZ that has been inaugurated twice still lacks infrastructure and some legal provisions have prevented it from coming into operation. However, the government has been saying that it will leave no stone unturned for infrastructure development.
Initially, industrialists were not willing to set up factories at the Bhairahawa SEZ due to the provision to export 80 percent of the manufactured goods. Even after the SEZ Act was amended to allow 60 percent export, it has not been able to attract industrialists. They complain that the provision of exporting 60 percent goods is too much and the rent of the land fixed by the SEZ is also expensive. The rental charge that was Rs 150 per square meter during the time of amendment has been reduced to Rs 20 per square meter. The businessmen have been saying this is also expensive.
In a virtual meeting organised by the Society of Economic Journalist (SEJON) on Thursday regarding the special economic zone and current situation, stakeholders have stressed on the need to create a favorable environment by removing the policy hurdles in the SEZ as it has not been fully operational even in 20 years.
Former vice president of the National Planning Commission Dr Shankar Sharma said that the future of other SEZs is uncertain as SEZ has not been able to operate for a long time. He stressed on the need to operate SEZ by easing export criteria.