Federal Minister for Industries and Production Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi declared on Saturday that economic zones at a distance of every 200 kilometres will be established along Motor and Expressways across the country.

Talking to the journalists here after inaugurating an up-gradation project of NFC Institute of Engineering and Technology, he added that the proposed zones would enjoy facilities and concessions equal to existing zones. He said that a zone would also be set up in Multan. He further revealed that consultations with stakeholders were underway and national industrial and auto policies would be introduced in a couple of months.

Earlier, addressing the members of Multan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI), he said that the auto policy would be introduced for a five-year period and many big companies had shown their interest in making investments in Pakistan. He disclosed that the technical workers would be imparted trainings at National Productivity Organisation (NPO) to improve their skills and boost national production. He hinted at leasing out Multan Agro-Food Processing Plant, saying it was running in loss.

Referring to prevailing energy crisis in the country, he declared that it would be over in four and half year period as the government had adopted a number of steps to launch new power generation projects besides convincing foreign investors to invest in power sector. He blamed previous governments for the prevailing energy crisis, adding that their ill-conceived poor policies caused increase in electricity prices. The minister said that dollar would be depreciated to Rs.100 level.

To a query on giving MFN status to India, he said that the government took decisions while keeping in view national needs and current situation of international market. To a question of Mian Iqbal Hassan, The Minister said that he would present their grievances before the ECC regarding levy of 17 % General Sales tax which would make the tractor costly and farmers would not be able to purchase tractors.

He revealed that the government provided latest machinery used for the extraction of oil from flowers and vegetables to the farmers and imparted them trainings for its utilization. He pointed out that the country produced the best varieties of fruits in the world but they were sold at lower prices because of poor processing and packing.

MCCI President Khawaja Muhammad Usman, Senior Vice President Tahir Rehman Naqi, Vice President Syed Iftikhar Ali Shah, NPO CEO Khawaja Muhammad Yousaf and DGCCI President Muhammad Anees Khawaja were also present on the occasion.