Finance Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Taimur Saleem has said that as security situation was much better in KP and it was going to stay that way on a sustainable basis, the KP government has started offering a lot of facilities and incentives to boost investment and industrialization in the province, hence the business community of Karachi must also take advantage of the situation by setting up their production units and investing in some of the most promising sectors of KP’s economy.
Inviting the business community of Karachi to invest in KP, the lawmaker said that despite being a small province with limited resources, KP has a lot to offer and it was capable of providing maximum facilities to investors. “Your investment in KP would prove favorable for your businesses, the province and Pakistan’s economy”, added Taimur Saleem, who was accompanied by KP’s Minister for Industries Abdullah Karim Tordher and CEO KP Board of Investment & Trade Hassan Daud Butt during a visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) on Tuesday.
Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) & Former President KCCI Zubair Motiwala, General Secretary BMG AQ Khalil, President KCCI Muhammad Idrees, Senior Vice President Abdul Rehman Naqi, Vice President Qazi Zahid Hussain, Former Presidents Haroon Agar, Shamim Ahmed Firpo, Muffasar Atta Malik, prominent industrialist Maqsood Ismail and KCCI Managing Committee Members also attended the meeting.
KP Finance Minister informed that abundant investment opportunities exist in the energy sector including the hydro power generation, transmission & distribution while the tourism sector, which has risen sharply by at least 4 times this year, also offers abundant opportunities to the hospitality industry. KP government was setting up four tourism zones to attract investors who can also look into the possibility of investing in the agriculture, mines & minerals, services and IT sectors etc.
Highlighting social sector initiatives taken by KP government, he particularly mentioned that KP was the only province whose every single resident holds a health insurance cover of up to Rs1 million which was an opportunity for businessmen associated with the health sector who can establish healthcare facilities in the province.
He further informed that KP government has also approved a US$400 million project for setting up road infrastructure from Peshawar to Torkham. “Our target is to improve road accessibility as we want get road access beyond Afghanistan to Central Asia which, if achieved, would have an impact of US$50 to US$60 billion on Pakistan’s GDP”, he added.
Speaking on the occasion KP Minister for Industries Abdullah Karim Tordher said that several industries from Karachi have been successfully operating from KP province which was the growing land of opportunities. “We intend to establish 13 Economic Zones, of which work on 7 economic zones has already begun whereas 19 industrial areas will also be established all over the province to make the best use of indigenous resources and go for import substitution and enhanced exports”, he said, adding that the business community can look for investing or undertaking joint ventures in development of gems, gypsum, mines & minerals, hunting arms, cold water fishing, hydro power, fruits & vegetables, organic fruits and tea which can be harvested on a huge land of 1,80,000 acres. “To encourage, investment and industrialization, KP government has withdrawn around 17 different taxes”, he added.
Chairman BMG & Former President KCCI Zubair Motiwala, in his remarks, underscored that in order to actually attract investment, KP government has to ensure that the investors receive more profitability as compared to what they have already been earning in Karachi otherwise no businessman would be interested in setting up a unit in KP. “The investors must be guaranteed that they will get all the industrial inputs like uninterrupted gas, water and electricity which they were not receiving here and this must be followed by an assurance that if they were earning 10 percent in Karachi, they will get 20 percent in KP.”
He also stressed the need to introduce Preferential Tariffs for gas and electricity which should be less than what was being paid in Karachi along with guaranteed uninterrupted supply. KP government has to convince the federal government to give tax holidays for a period of 5 to 10 years in special economic zones being established in KP which should preferably be established by the private sector.
He said, “KP is gateway to a GDP of 400 billion dollars and we congratulate KP government for approving construction of Peshawar-Torkham highway which was going to connect Pakistan with CIS and Europe. keeping in view the exorbitant charges by shipping lines, it has become inevitable to have access to Europe via highways.
He further noted that KP has a number of natural spots where dams capable of generating 21,000 megawatts electricity can easily be constructed without major investment, massive construction and time. This huge amount of cheaper electricity generated via hydel power can be sold to rest of Pakistan and also to Afghanistan, he said, adding that value-addition in the agriculture sector of KP requires special attention as it has been observed that fruits were largely being exported without any value-addition at throwaway prices in the international markets.
“KP can earn more foreign exchange if preservation and packaging industry is given special attention and properly developed in the province”, he added.
Earlier, President KCCI Muhammad Idrees, while welcoming the KP Ministers, advised KP government to develop IT Parks and encourage the local manufacturing and assembling of IT-related products and other electronic equipment by giving them special incentives.
He also offered KCCI’s platform to KP government for all its future endeavors to promote trade, industrialization and investment in KP province which offers profitable opportunities in various sectors of economy particularly the tourism sector. “The federal government, instead of luring foreign investors all the time, should facilitate the local business community through ease of doing business which would prove fruitful and result-oriented in terms of achieving progress and prosperity all over the country”, he added.
CEO KP Board of Investment & Trade Hassan Daud Butt delivered a presentation on the occasion in which the potential sectors along with government policies to ensure ease of doing business in KP were highlighted in detail.