Govt drafting strategy to restore SEZs

Industries minister says govt working to revive textile sector as well


APP May 02, 2020
Hammad Azhar. PHOTO: ONLINE

ISLAMABAD: The government is making all-out efforts to revive the economy, which has been severely dented by the Covid-19 pandemic, said Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar.

Talking to Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC) Chairman Mian Kashif Ashfaq on Friday, the minister said that government was chalking out a comprehensive strategy for restoring activities of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

In particular, he mentioned that the government was focusing on resuming the functioning of the Allama Iqbal Industrial City following consultations with the stakeholders.

Azhar added that the federal government was also working on reviving the textile industry and despite the mammoth challenge of national debt, Prime Minister Imran Khan preferred to provide relief to people affected from the lockdown restrictions.

He said, "The government is fully focused and committed to facilitate the people in this critical situation."

"The provision of medical facilities and food to the people is the top most priority of the government and to achieve it, we will request the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to release their aid amounting to $600 million on a fast track basis."

He stressed that all provinces and federation were on the same page in determining essential industries which needed to become operational amid the lockdown. He added that industries that are providing raw materials and inputs to these essential industries would also be kept open.

He said that the government would also ensure transportation of labour forces to these industries.

Also speaking on the occasion, FIEDMC chairman said that as soon as international markets reopened following eradication of coronavirus pandemic, Pakistan's SEZs, including Allama Iqbal Industrial City, would stimulate the export base of industries besides bringing foreign investment worth billions of rupees.

"Currently, FIEDMC is also facing hurdles to accomplish necessary tasks," he expressed concern. "The completion of these tasks is important in order to create economic activities and to help the country boost exports."

He highlighted that production of export orders worth $2 billion are pending due to the virus outbreak.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2020.

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