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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production, Wednesday, unanimously, approved the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) Amendment Bill 2023 with some minor amendments.

The committee meeting was held here under the chairmanship of Senator Khaleda Atib to discuss the matters related to the Export Processing Zones Authority Amendment Bill, 2023, introduced by senators Faisal Saleem Rehman, Dilawar Khan, Manzoor Ahmed, and Hidayatullah.

The members while reviewing the bill in detail said that increasing the country’s exports was critical to deal with the persisting balance of trade and economic growth. Senior officials of Export Processing Zones informed the committee that some proposals have been prepared regarding this bill.

The officials said that the country has proven potential to increase the exports of medical, textile, leather, surgical, value-added textiles, engineering goods, sports goods, vegetables, chemicals, and other items but needs an enabling environment.

Public-private EPZs: rules and regulations in final stages: PSM chief

The chairman committee advised the Ministry of Industries to facilitate the firms, businessmen and investors to increase local manufacturing so that Pakistan can achieve the desired status among the global community.

The panel was informed by the officials that the federal minister a year ago directed the relevant quarters to review the existing rules and regulations of EPZA and other Special Economic Zones (SEZs) for making them more industry-friendly to increase ease of doing business in the country.

The panel stressed that all the provincial and federal organisations and departments need to collaborate to solve problems faced by the surgical industry to further increase the exports of the surgical sector.

The panel was informed that in Pakistan various sectors have significant potential to increase the country’s exports and in this regard information technology sector, Engineering Development Board (EDB), Small and Medium Enterprises Development, National Productivity Organization (NPO), Pakistan Industrial Technical Assistance Centre (PITAC) and Technology Upgradation and Skill Development Company (TUSDEC) along with provincial organisations including Punjab Small Industrial Corporation, Cluster Development Institute, TEVTA, and Customs Department can play a critical role.

The members stressed the need to close cooperation among all the relevant quarters to resolve any matter being faced by the export-oriented industries. The panel underlined the need for improvement in efficiency, productivity and enhance, as well as, diversify exports.

The committee members said that the industry needs the government’s support for identifying joint venture, partners from China for the transfer of technology for entering into manufacturing.

The chairman committee said the other important issues were the appointment of trained and experienced staff in EPZs, who could efficiently handle the inbound and outbound shipments. “The staff should have the proper knowledge and skills concerning export processing and customs laws.”

Taking an export consignment to Karachi for further processing is cumbersome and worrying for exporters as it also increases the exporters’ expenses, and cargo handling becomes a problem in this way, so resolution of such matters was also a need of the hour.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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