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PESHAWAR: Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Economic Zones Development and Management Company (KP-EZDMC), Javed Iqbal Khattak has said that the efforts of the company have put the province on the track of rapid industrial growth.

Talking to this scribe here on Sunday, he said that due to the natural resources and geographical advantage of neighborhood with export market of Afghanistan, the industrial sector of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is attracting robust investment.

He said that in past due to lack of industrial infrastructure, investors from other parts of the country were hesitant in making investment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, now the situation has now totally changed as ten more economic zones have been added to its fold in different parts of the province from D.I. Khan to Chitral, which is receiving acclamation from not only across the country but also fr0om Chinese and overseas Pakistanis.

Javed Iqbal Khattak said that industrial plots in all newly established zones have been sold it and now we are expanding them to create space to adjust more investors.

He rejected the impression that the industrial sector of KP is not attracting investment and said that even in the prevailing situation 298 industrial units are under construction in different economic zones of the province.

He said that crucial project amongst the newly established economic zones is the Rashakai prioritized Special Economic Zone, which is being established under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and has become the only such zone that has become operational.

Javed Khattak said that 18 companies including domestic and Chinese enterprises are establishing their industrial units in it. Furthermore, he said that big groups from across Pakistan are also investment in it.

Similarly, he said, another Special Economic Zone has been established on 434 acres land at Hattar (Haripur) where 7 units have already become operational, while 35 more are under construction.

He said that keeping in view the natural resources available in the province the company has started work on establishing sector specific economic zones including one Marble City (Buner), Salt & Gypsum City (Karak) and for Marble & Granite City at Mohmand.

He said that these factors are negating the impression of weak industrial growth. Rather, he said that KP has edge over other provinces as the export market of Afghanistan is at its doorstep.

He said that the prospects of energy availability in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are also better than other provinces, which is highly essential for investment in industrial sector.

He invited all Pakistanis to make investment in KP by establishing industrial units here and assured the provision of all facilities including security, electricity, gas and water through one-window operation.

Regarding security in economic zones, the CEO said that the management of the zones always remain in close-coordination with security agencies wherein special police stations have been established, which is regularly patrolling while staff of the zone are extending full cooperation to them.

In this connection, he mentioned Rashakai Special Economic Zone as best example wherein beside domestic investors from the across the country, overseas Pakistanis and Chinese are also investing.

He termed the availability of cheap and hard working labors force another advantage of the province and said that it is economic not only than other parts of the country rather also than more most of our neighboring countries.

Furthermore, he said that in capacity of the head of the company, he assures all facilities to investors through one-window operation and for this purpose have established Investors’ Facilitation Centers (IFCs) at all economic zones of the province wherein all issues including the issuance of no objection certificates (NoCs) are issued to them.

The CEO KP Economic Zones, who has over 25 years experience in the promotion of SMEs, also stressed need for investment in agriculture sector to prevent the wastage of agricultural produce, saying the province has huge potential for the establishment of processing units.

He said even during the period of Corona pandemic when all industrial units were closed only food and pharmaceutical units were operational and earning profit. He was of the view that margin of profit in these two sectors is also higher than other.

He said that by the promotion of investment in agricultural sector, we can also encourage farming community that their product is utilized in best manner and they are getting its benefit. He said that through putting trust in our natural endowments and its value-addition, we can also export them.

Another potential sector, in which we are showing poor performance, is mineral processing and still away from the export market. He stressed need for maximum investment in the mineral processing sector as both resources and raw material are available.

Javed Khattak said that investment in these both sectors would prove beneficial for the investors and as well as for the province as our products enjoy advantage over the products of other countries in the export market of Afghanistan, which as compare to developed countries has less requirements and we can utilize it in our interest.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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