The business fraternity of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has demanded the government to take measures to give an impetus to the state’s ailing industrial sector.
The local business community, through their main representative forum, the AJK Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AJKCCI), urged the government on Saturday to grant incentives to help revive 90 non-operational industrial units in industrial zones in Mirpur and Bhimbher districts.
Khawaja Zafar Iqbal, the chairman of AJKCCI Committee for Revival of Sick Industries, said that out of a total of 200 industrial units in AJK, mostly established in Mirpur and Bhimbher districts, 90 are “lying sick” due to the lack of required infrastructure and operational facilities.
He said that the chamber is contemplating to ink an extensive program to help revive these non-operational units.
“We have already forwarded recommendations to the state-run Board of Investment and the AJK government for early provision of required incentives to help revive sick industrial units and promote new ones,” said Iqbal.
The recommendations include expanding the existing five-year tax holiday for new industries to 10 years, uninterrupted supply of natural gas, power and water to industrial units and construction of a mega bridge linking Mirpur city with New Industrial Estate Mirpur.
An official of the AJKCCI, requesting anonymity, said the AJK government as already decided to take necessary steps for the rehabilitation of non-operational industrial units under a broad-based industrial uplift plan.
Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajran Chief Suhail Shujah Mujahid urged the government to devise a “sustainable plan” for the revival of industrial units, focusing on reducing their debt burden and ensuring operational facilities.
He said that once the industrial units are revived, it will strengthen the state’s economy and ease the burden of unemployment. He said that employment opportunities can also be created by encouraging trade and industrial actives in the state, where an atmosphere conducive for trade is already available.
AJKCCI Senior Vice President Mubeen Khan said that the chamber was concerned over the slow pace of industrial development in AJK,
despite the availability of the mega industrial estates in Mirpur and Bhimbher districts.
He said that creation of a committee for the rehabilitation of “sick industrial units” is a welcome step; however, he stressed that practical measures, including provision of required infrastructure and operational facilities, are needed to revive the state’s industrial sector.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2012.
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