KARACHI: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government, in the budget for 2016-17, allocated Rs8.63 billion for the development of agriculture sector, up 79% compared to Rs4.82 billion in fiscal year 2015-16, according to the White Paper issued by the provincial government on Tuesday.
The White Paper – a detailed document that presents an analytical commentary on the revenue and expenditure estimates laid down in the provincial budget – said K-P had an almost agrarian economy.
“Agriculture and livestock contributes around 24% to K-P’s GDP while agriculture alone engages more than 50% of the labour force of the province.” The agriculture department envisions an exportable surplus that will generate employment and income opportunities with no problems of food security.
“Diversification into horticulture (with a potential to provide more income per acre amid higher labour inputs) and rural-based agriculture processing units offer promising avenues for increasing the income of rural households,” the paper added.
For industries, the provincial government has allocated Rs2.44 billion for 2016-17, down 51% from 2015-16.
Out of Rs4.96 billion that the provincial government allocated for the current fiscal year, it spent only Rs3.03 billion, according to revised estimates.
According to the White Paper, the government is trying to promote industrialisation through special policies and incentive packages. “Efforts are being made to revive sick industrial units as well as increase manpower through a robust technical education programme.”
There are 2,881 industrial units, of which 2,192 are active while 362 are not operating.
“The government is trying to provide employment opportunities through revival of the industrial sector and in this regard 40 new industrial units are being commissioned in the province,” it added.
The White Paper also talked about the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Industrial Policy 2016 in detail, saying the policy was based on providing employment opportunities by creating a facilitating environment for industrialists to set up new industrial units in the new special economic zones and to expand their existing industrial setup in existing industrial estates.
Talking about aims of the industrial policy, the paper said the policy would promote trade and commerce with Afghanistan and the Central Asian states in a manner that would make K-P the food basket and processed consumer goods supplier to Afghanistan and the Central Asian states.
The industrial policy is also directed at improving the industrial infrastructure and other facilities through public-private partnership and training industrial human resource through both public and private sector training organisations to match the skill sets required by industry, agriculture and trade.
Moreover, the paper said the policy would also try to harness opportunities arising from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by setting up industrial zones and logistic parks along the corridor.
The provincial government also aims to promote heavy industry to develop technological capabilities and related vendor industries, facilitate small and medium enterprises and create jobs through provision of support services including financial support.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2016.