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LAHORE: The Punjab Industries, Commerce, Investment and Skills Development Department has released a report of the sectoral growth of 2021-22, which shows over the years, Punjab is gradually becoming a land of opportunities for investors with a set of opportunities for innovation, industrialization, market development, export sourcing, and globalization.

According to the report, the planning division worked with China, Holland, and Turkey to develop a network of systems to support the operation of the industrial areas, so all investors considering making an investment in the area can rest easy.

“China is the flagbearer of production and Punjab is following in its footsteps, so the investors have nothing to worry about,” Department Secretary Dr Ahmed Javed Qazi said.

“The government has also covered the distance between engineers and technologists that earlier existed and proved to be a hindrance to the proper workings of industries.”

The report highlights the setting up of various industrial estates all over the province that would allow many industries to be set up. Some of these estates are being set up in Bahawalpur, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan and Sialkot.

In the agricultural sector, there is the introduction of fish farms in Chunnian that will increase the production of high-quality fish and fish products. Additionally, the department of commerce in Punjab is working to bridge the gap between industries and universities so that the right kind of research and development can take place.

Moreover, with this bridging of the gap, universities can offer the right kind of programs so that when students are launched into the job market, they are not left unemployed and the industries are not left to hire freelancers from abroad.

The Punjab government has also established three technology-based universities that will produce future skilled workers. In addition to that, the commerce department will have to facilitate the apprenticeships of 5 percent of university students and employees so that better human resources are created.

The government is working on entrepreneurial people, a young, skilled labor force, endowed geography, and an enabling business environment, says the report. Additionally, the land is linked by extensive value chains that span Punjab’s Special Economic Zones, Industrial Estates, and Manufacturing Corridors.

These not only cater to the demands of the local population but also regional and global demands through a network of global markets through land, sea, and air links. Punjab offers opportunities in Urban Regeneration & Infrastructure, Agriculture & Food Processing, Textile & Value-added Garments, Livestock & Dairy, Energy, Irrigation, Mining & Minerals, and IT & ITeS.

Punjab houses a population of 110 million people, out of which 60 percent are in the working age range of 15-65 years. Of this working-age population, approximately 35 percent is youth. The literacy rate in the region is 66.3 percent.

The province has abundant raw materials produced by its agriculture and mining sectors, which are then processed in the industrial hubs of the region. These industrial hubs are run by highly skilled human resources.

The total GDP of Punjab is $162 billion, it has 10 Special Economic Zones and 68,000 industrial units. The land of the five rivers produces 60 percent of the agricultural products, 70 percent of the textiles, and 70 percent of the livestock, and it is responsible for 55 percent of the eCommerce operations in the country.

An industrialist said although the industrial landscape is expanding, Punjab is not producing enough appropriately skilled workers that can be of help to the newly developed industries.

Moreover, due to the failing economy it has become more and more difficult for industries to import heavy machinery from abroad as they cost a lot.

Additionally, the problem of lack of resources such as electricity, gas and water has left the industries working at half or even less capacity. The province faces many problems, however, with a new plan developed by the government of Punjab, many problems are likely to be solved.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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