Gwadar Master Plan 2021 is a 75-page master plan document, prepared by the Chinese state-owned company China Communications Construction Company in conjunction with Pakistan’s Minister of Planning and Development, and Gwadar Development Authority.
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Gwadar’s population is expected to exceed 2 million people in the next few years with highly paid expatriate professionals moving to the city in huge numbers accounting for 80 percent of the population.
The major attractions in the city include high-paid jobs, high-tech industries, mega shopping malls, a tax-free environment, manmade islands, luxury resorts, and Pakistan’s largest international airport which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan. All of these will make Gwadar the 3rd largest city in Pakistan by economic output.
Gwadar Master Plan 2021 is making headlines all around as it chalks out an elaborate road map and plans on how Gwadar is on track to become the trade and economic hub of South Asia with an impressive GDP per capita of $15,000, 10 times that of Pakistan’s average. As per the estimate of the Government of Pakistan and China, Gwadar’s economy is expected to surpass $30 billion per annum in the long term, creating over 1.2 million high-paid jobs with an income per capita of $15,000. Currently, Pakistan’s per capita stands at $1,500, which Gwadar single-handedly will surpass by some 1000 percent.
According to the Master Plan, the city will become the fulcrum of economic development in western Pakistan, the main port in western Pakistan, one of the westward sea routes in western China, the five Central Asian countries, and the trade centres of Afghanistan, South Asia, and the neighbouring Middle East.
The master plan lays out a list of mega-projects that will be completed in the long-term including a $5 billion investment into Gwadar’s power sector with 15 new power plants, $1 billion invested into generating 700,000 m3 of freshwater per day through desalination plants, central business district, Pakistan’s tallest building all in a tax-free environment where life can be enjoyed without paying taxes.
In a recent development, the members of the Association of Builders and Developers have raised their concerns over the Gwadar Development Authority’s new town planning regulations included in the Master Plan 2021. Some of these regulations have superseded the Town Planning Regulations, 2004 that were initially in place.
A controversial clause of this Master Plan is that the GDA Land Management Director will register the mortgage deed within the Authority, besides looking after amenities and reserved land of the Authority. The developers are of the view that the amenities should be looked after by the developers, sponsors, and builders.
In response to these concerns, the GDA Director General admitted the lack of coordination in policymaking among departments was witnessed in the past. However, he assured that the developers would be taken into confidence before the policies are implemented and introduced. He also said that the authority will also bring all the stakeholders into confidence.
Coming back to the master plan, Pakistan's current trade and economic hub of Karachi sea some 65 million tons of cargo through the port each year and with Gwadar eclipsing that by 2030 as the key route for trade with the Middle-East, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and China, the city is expected to become the region's leading trade centre leading to growth in the entire region let alone in Pakistan.
When we talking about development, the need for housing is also expected to surge. Gwadar will require some 15,800 new homes by 2025, 47,600 by 2030, and 254,500 by 2050 according to the new Gwadar Smart City Master Plan.
A tax-free haven with high technology industries, 5 beach resorts, science and technology parks, exhibition centres, shopping malls concert venues, and Pakistan's first ‘weapon-free city will see Gwadar economic output reach $30 billion per annum and population balloon to 2 million residents resulting in a mega shortage of housing.