SUCCESS OF PAKISTANI SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES: INTERPLAY BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND SOCIETY
Keywords:Special Economic Zones (SEZs), SEZ Success, Pakistani Economic Development, GovernmentSociety Interplay, Challenges in SEZ Implementation, SEZ Policy and Governance, Societal Context and SEZs, Unintended Consequences in SEZs, Sustainable SEZs, Adaptation from China, Economic Growth Strategies, Cultural Norms and SEZs.
Governments establish Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to turbocharge job creation and economic development. These are
spatial areas having a legal status. Pakistan, following the footsteps of China, is working to establish many such zones. Their success, however, is not guaranteed because of the various challenges that have to be overcome: tailoring the concept to our own context; issues in implementation like dealing with politics, societal and governance challenges; question of their long-term success; and dealing with their unintended consequences. This study was carried out to understand how SEZs model adapted from China can work in Pakistan, and what unintended consequences will this create and how the government can mitigate them with an understanding of Pakistan’s societal and moral context so as to ensure sustainable and lasting results. We have used an interpretivist approach, conducting interviews with industrialists, zone managers, government officials as well as university researchers. Data was analyzed using a grounded theory QDA approach adapted from Chamaz. Themes derived from the analysis include: cultural norms and moral values especially work ethic and standards of morality; issues with understating the concept of SEZs; issues relates to policy, planning and implementation; issues related to bureaucracy and governance; and, requirements of making these zones successful,
especially decades needed to succeed, in contrast to our expectations of a quick harvest. Recommendations are related to contextualizing the concept; policy; governance; educating the society; and managing expectations related to the time needed to succeed.
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