PESHAWAR - Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has approved handing over of 11 industrial estates of the province to Economic Zone Development and Management Company (EZDMC).

The working/ authorised capital of the company has also been raised from Rs 1billion to Rs4 billion to ensure smooth and effective take off of the EZDMC. These companies will manage the industrial estates in an independent and autonomous manner following the corporate governance approach and explore ways and means for sustainable trade and industrial growth as well as employment opportunities.

These decisions were taken in inaugural meeting of the Board of Directors of EZDMC held at CM Secretariat with Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak in the chair. The provincial Minister for Minerals, Ziaullah Afridi, Secretaries of Finance, Industries, Planning and Development and Labour departments, representatives of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Haripur Chambers of Commerce and Industries, the chairman of the company and other members of the board attended the meeting.

The meeting discussed at length the transitional arrangements for transferring the responsibilities of the industrial estates management from Sarhad Development Authority (SDA) to EZDMC and took various decisions in this respect.

The meeting was informed that following the Chief Minister’s directives EZDMC has been established with 75 and 25 percent representation of the private and public sector respectively. The company will independently work for viable industrial growth and sustainable and up to the mark development of the industrial estates by ensuring all the allied activities and operations required for achieving the consolidated goals.

The meeting was told that in first phase 11 industrial estates would be handed over to EZDMC by SDA. The estates include Hattar (new), Rashkai Nowshera, Ghazi, Mansehra, Jalozai, D.I.Khan, Risalpur, Nowshera (new), Karak & Kohat, Gadoon (new) and Buner industrial estate.

The BOD also consented to form Legal, Finance, Audit and HR committees to support operations of the company.

Regarding future plans of EZDMC it was disclosed that targets have been fixed for creating two millions job opportunities through the industrial and trade sectors, creation of separate Board of Management for each Industrial Estate, capitalisation of district investment strengths, online services and information, setting up of a new state of the art industrial zone and hi-tech industrial park for machinery manufacturing.

Speaking at the meeting Chief Minister Pervez Khattak congratulated the industries department and the BOD for materialising another plan of the provincial government for development of industrial sector of the province and formally empowering the private industrial sector to solve the regulatory and managerial problems by itself. He stressed that EZDMC should strive for establishing close trade relations with neighboring Afghanistan and revive historical trade linkages with Central Asian States to exploit available potential of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in this sector.

To focus on consumer markets of Afghanistan, he asked the board to constitute a joint working group of Afghanistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa comprising trade and industries investors as well as concerned government officials. He assured that Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would fully support the industrialists and traders of the province for establishing trade relations with their Afghan counterparts.

Regarding public sector supports at the provincial level for major industrial inputs the Chief Minister asked the board to identify the industrial estates wherein surplus gas of the province could be provided for generating cheap and uninterrupted electricity for industries. He also disclosed that 97 Megawatts electricity of Malakand-II and Pehur Power projects was available for industries and asked EZDMC to chalk out a plan for utilising the available amount of electricity for industrial purpose.

He stressed that industrialists should also invest in hydel power production sector for which the provincial government would fully support and facilitate them. He told that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority has been mobilized for imparting modern technical training to youth of the province for industrial consumption adding that Pakistan Air Force was collaborating for such trainings.

Terming unemployment one of the major problems of the province, Pervez Khattak said that address on this issue through sound and viable industrialisation was an integral part of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ruling party’s vision for which the private sector was engaged by the provincial government.

He emphasised that the company should take concrete measures for reviving the whole industrial sector and explore opportunities for foreign investment keeping in view the interest of China, Afghanistan and certain other countries. He assured that the law and order situation was improving in the province and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government would provide full security to foreign entrepreneurs for visiting and investing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.