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Export processing zones to have factory premises: minister

ISLAMABAD (April 21 2003) : The government is planning to build factory premises in the export processing zones (EPZs) for the investors to install machinery and quickly start their businesses in order to further attract foreign investors.

This was said by Minister for Industries and Production Liaquat Ali Jatoi, while speaking as a guest of honour at the second day's morning session of the International Conference on Investment and Privatisation in OIC Countries, here Sunday.

He said that as a special incentive to the EPZs, the ground rent has been reduced from $2 to $2.5 per square meter for industries and trading/warehousing, respectively.

Besides, lease money has been dispensed with and six months ground rent will be charged as security deposit. Scrutiny fee and transfer fee of $250 each is being abolished, he added.

He said an incentive package for EPZs is in final stages, which would be announced shortly.

The minister informed the forum that the government is making all out efforts to facilitate the local and foreign investors by providing various fiscal and other incentives, besides upgrading the infrastructure facilities of the existing industrial zones. He informed that a piece of land owned by PIDC in Karachi industrial area has been made available to the investors who intend to establish projects there under the public-private partnership scheme.

The minister, while responding to various questions raised by the delegates, informed that Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali's government is committed to continue the prudent economic policies of President Pervez Musharraf.

The minister assured that the government is also committed to provide infrastructure facilities to the industrial zones.

He said that one desk operation is being opened at international airports of Pakistan.

All concerned departments have been directed to provide power, gas, water and telecom facilities within three days of the receipt of the application, he said, adding that an official of the Board of Investment would be available to guide the investors at airports.

While mentioning about the export processing zones, the minister informed that 24-hour facility would be made available for Customs clearance of the consignments even on holidays.

He reiterated that the government is making all out efforts to bring EPZs at par with other regional countries.

The minister specifically mentioned that the Pakistan Investment Guide-2003 contains information on viable projects to facilitate the potential investors.

The areas where the investment potential exists have also been identified. The minister stated that there is a vast opportunity for investment in fertiliser and pesticides sectors.

Liaquat Jatoi said there is a wide gap between rich and poor countries. He said that the developed countries should come forward to reduce this gap to make the poor countries economically viable.

He told the investors that skilled and unskilled labour are available in Pakistan at cheaper rates, adding that all the multinational companies are making double digit profits in Pakistan.

Automobile sector growth rate has reached 40 percent, which shows Pakistan is viable for investment, he asserted.

The minister invited the investors to come forward and take the advantage of the liberal policies of the government and make investments in Pakistan.

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