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Rs 5 billion to be spent on Pakistan Steel expansion Phase-I

RAWALPINDI (January 13 2003) : Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Liaquat Ali Khan Jatoi, has said that Rs 5 billion would be spent in the first phase of the expansion plan of Pakistan Steel Mills.

He said this while addressing members of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Sunday during his visit to 4th Pakistan Industrial Exhibition organised by the Chamber here.

He said that Pakistan Steel has offloaded loans of billion of rupees recently, which were outstanding against it since long, and sale of Rs 20 billion is expected during the current fiscal year.

“We have taken steps regarding mismanagement, overstaffing and control losses of the Pakistan Steel Mills and took a historic decision for its expansion to modernise it. The expansion would also provide job opportunities to unemployed youth which is also a commitment of the government,” he added.

He said that 'one-desk operation' would start soon at airports and ports to facilitate foreign investors.

He said that the government would provide maximum incentives to the local as well as foreign investors for setting up of industrial units and to enhance exports.

He said that a countrywide survey is being conducted for sick units and units which would be viable would be revived in private or public sector.

He said that the Prime Minister is very keen for revival of sick units and has directed for revival of more and more units.

He said that revival of units would promote investment culture and would also provide jobs.

Government attaches very high priority to the promotion of industrial sector, particularly the export-oriented industries, by providing consistency in its policies, simplified procedures and financial package for small and medium enterprises with the object to reduce cost of doing business in Pakistan.

Reduction of custom duty on raw material and capital machinery and rationalisation of tariffs for removal of anomalies and irritants are some of the measures taken to facilitate local manufacturing, he added.

He said: “Rawalpindi is the gateway to Afghanistan and to Central Asian States. I am sure this exhibition will also attract importers from these countries for our products, particularly for use in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. We are also inviting industries and trade ministers from Afghanistan to see our manufacturing products for export to that country.”

He said: “Availing this opportunity, I will impress upon the manufacturers to go for high standard for their products to reduce cost of production to make their products internationally competitive.”

He said that the Ministry of Industries is planning to establish Export Processing Zones throughout the country.

Three such Zones are already working at Karachi, Sialkot and Risalpur.

These zones will provide all requisite infrastructure facilities under one window operation for export-oriented industries and warehousing facilities for export to Afghanistan and Central Asian States. Jatoi said that he has requested the Prime Minister for removal of 0.5 percent sales tax from the EPZs in Sindh.

Jatoi appreciated the efforts of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in organising the Fair and said the exhibition would go a long way in promoting high standard manufactured goods in the country.

“I assure the business and trade community of my full support to achieve the desired objectives in the field of industry and trade.”

He said that the problems of RCCI industrial estate regarding provision of gas and setting up of grid station would be resolved on priority basis.

Earlier, the President of RCCI, Usman Whaeed, thanked the Minister for his visit to the exhibition and stated briefly the business activities of the chamber.

He also apprised him of the status of the RCCI industrial estate and its problems.

The Minister also visited various stalls in the exhibition and inquired of the stall holders regarding their products and sale in the country and their exports.

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