Atif Ikram urged govt to announce a new industrial zone in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD, Jun 01 (APP):Chairman of the Capital Area of Pakistan Business Forum (PBF), Atif Ikram Sheikh has urged the federal government to officially announce a new industrial zone in Islamabad to promote industrial sector and attract investment. 

Addressing the members of Islamabad Industrial Association on Saturday, Atif Ikram who is also President FPCCI, said Islamabad has seen fast expansion during the last 15 years, and the existing industrial area has no more space to set up new industrial units. As per Master Plan of Islamabad, the industrial area of sectors I-9 and I-10 have come almost in the middle of the city with no adequate space available for establishment of additional industrial units,” he pointed out.

Ikram said that industrial estate played a pivotal role in bringing prosperity to a larger extent with poverty reduction through creating plenty of job opportunities. Urging the government to give due consideration to this important issue, the PBF Chairman said that a massive ratio of taxes on part of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) had multiplied the problems of local industrialists in the capital city.

He said the new industrial zone will not only promote industrial base but also bring multiple benefits to the economy as it would create new job opportunities, enhance tax revenue and boost exports.

Atif Ikram mentioned that a few years back, with joint efforts of CDA and ICCI, Sector I-17 was earmarked for the purpose of industrial estate, and land acquisition process had also started, but later, the CDA changed the Master Plan for Islamabad and redesignated Sector I-17 from industrial use to institutional purposes.

The government has identified a piece of private land near Rawat Industrial Estate to establish a new industrial zone in the vicinities of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT); however, there are some other options under consideration. A large number of potential investors are willing to set up industries in Islamabad, he added.

He further said that industrialisation was a key element of Pakistan’s bright economic future, a gateway to northern areas, and also the main artery towards China, which could prove a potential economic hub in coming years to boost trade and industrial activities in the region.

He also demanded the government to revisit on the policy rate to support new industrialization 22 percent central bank’s interest in Pakistan was highest in the whole Asia compared to interest rate in Japan is 0.1 percent, Taiwan 1.88 percent, Thailand 2.25, Malaysia 3 percent, China was 3.4 percent, Vietnam 4.5 percent, and Indonesia and Hongkong 5.75 percent, Bangladesh and India 6.5 percent. Currently high interest rate has made our industry uncompetitive in the national market due to which our exports are also suffering.

The best way to revive the economy is to focus on export-led growth of the economy for which single digit interest rate is the key requirement; he added.