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KARACHI: Governor Sindh Kamran Khan Tessori has said that the megacity has lost its status of being Pakistan’s economic hub.

Addressing industrialists at the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), Tessori cited the rise in crime and dwindling investor confidence as primary reasons for this decline. He noted that many industrialists are relocating their operations to other cities or abroad, highlighting the critical need for joint efforts to address these issues.

He criticised the inequitable distribution of the Export Development Fund (EDF), which benefits cities like Sialkot but not Karachi, despite its significant contributions to the national economy. He urged a collective approach to tackle these disparities and promised to engage the federal authorities, including the Prime Minister if necessary.

Tessori called for introspection and proactive measures, inviting industrialists to discuss solutions at the Governor’s House with Finance Minister and other key federal officials.

KATI President Johar Qandhari outlined the escalating challenges faced by Karachi’s business community. He reported a 37% increase in production costs, along with the burden of the highest electricity and gas prices and interest rates in the region.

He noted that industrialists are independently rehabilitating industrial areas, a task that should fall under government responsibility. He emphasised the need for a comprehensive 10-year economic policy and announced the submission of a detailed 72-page budget proposal to the government, which has received commendation from the Prime Minister’s House.

The rising crime rate in Karachi has deeply concerned investors and industrialists, according to Qandhari. He stressed that without sufficient government support and facilities, the business community’s efforts would be insufficient to drive economic growth.

Zubair Chhaya highlighted the severe impact on employment, with 30 to 40 percent of workers laid off from private companies and industries in Karachi. He praised the government’s SIFC initiative as a potential economic game-changer but reiterated that restoring local investor confidence is essential for attracting foreign investment. He called for policy development in consultation with the business community.

Zahid Saeed, CEO of KITE Limited, pointed out that despite legal provisions for federal and provincial grants under the Industrial Areas Development Companies Act, Karachi has received no such funding from the federal government. However, the Sindh government, led by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, has allocated over one billion rupees, enabling high-quality development in the Korangi Industrial Area at reduced costs. He lamented the lack of EDF allocations for Karachi, which exports $16 billion annually, and criticised the misallocation of infrastructure levy funds meant for city improvements.

In his closing remarks, Sheikh Umar Rehan, Special Assistant to the President of FPCCI, reinforced the need for collaborative policy-making to address these systemic issues.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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KU May 17, 2024 01:21pm
Not so strange or surprising are the ways n past of the administration. They have Sin'd for three decades now, n continue with their rob-fest, and cry too, this has to be best soap opera ever.
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