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The provincial cabinet of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is likely to accord approval to a 10-year industrial policy 2020-30 to support human resource development, innovation and create a supply chain to capitalize on many potential opportunities available in the province.

The Special Assistant to KP CM on Industries and Commerce, Abdul Karim Khan has also confirmed it while speaking at a gathering of the business community. He said for the promotion of investment in the province, the provincial cabinet will approve new industrial policy in upcoming meeting.

The new industrial policy, he said would help to promote small and medium industries to bring them into mainstream.

According to the executive summary of the draft industrial policy, the KP province is blessed with a myriad of natural resources and has tremendous potential to strengthen, grow and make its industrial sector competitive to improve the economy and create unemployment opportunities.

Due to various reasons in the past that include location disadvantage due to long distance from the port, security challenges, lack of requisite infrastructure, energy crisis, financial constraints, and in the absence of a systematic mechanism for ease of doing business, the industrial sector could not achieve the expected growth trajectory. However, the situation has considerably improved with strong commitment to allocate resources and develop the industrial sector. Under the same pursuit, the provincial government has also laid a strong emphasis on developing a convenient and integrated platform for ease of doing business to facilitate the prospective investors. Furthermore, with significant improvements in infrastructure due to investment through China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the investment climate in the province is extremely promising.

A special focus is also being given towards development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and industrial zones to create clusters of industrial excellence to jump start growth of industries.

The challenge was to create an enabling environment and have a policy framework that encompasses and addresses the negative trends, rationalizes the disproportionate economic growth, address environmental concerns, ensures revival of sick industries and equitably spread of economic dividends resulting in an inclusive and sustainable industrialization across the province.

The new policy makes an attempt to prioritize and incentivize industrial sector and create a 'Pull Factor' for investors to form joint ventures with local investors, invest in utilizing indigenous natural resources, bring new technology, invest in labour intensive and export oriented industries, and add value to local products.

To embark on a journey of rapid industrialisation, availability of quality infrastructure facilities become necessary. Therefore, the new policy stresses on importance of developing the critical infrastructure facilities through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) process which will help the provincial government to optimally utilize its resources while extending full facilitation to the prospective investors.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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