LAHORE      -    The Pakistan Industrial & Traders Association Front (PIAF) has welcomed the government plan to revive 687 sick industrial units within sixty days, saying it is imperative to enhance industrial base for the revitalization of economy and industrial growth. PIAF chairman Mian Nauman Kabir called for collaboration with the private sector for promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises, giving importance to small industrial units so that employment opportunities could be generated. Nauman Kabir also stressed the need for increasing existing installed capacity of the manufacturing sector so that industrial base economy could be increased. As Pakistan’s exports have been almost flat for a long time, it is the need of the time to utilize existing production capacity to the optimal level and operationalise the closed units on competitive basis, he added. He observed that owing to the positive steps regarding business facilitation these sick units have a chance to reconnect to their past glory. He added that the US-China trade war can have a positive impact on Pakistan garment exports, as the Global Value Chains (GVCs) are realigning in US market due to high tariff against Chinese imports. This realignment can provide immense opportunity to Pakistan’s export industry to integrate it into GVCs, contributing in enhancing exports of the country, he said.

Mian Nauman Kabir, the former interim provincial minister, stressed that frequent meetings with the stakeholders is the first step for the advancement of small and medium industries, revival of sick industries and facilitation of the whole business community. He asked the government to run economic system in a sustainable manner to generate employment opportunities, enhance investors’ trust and promote local industries, which is not possible without taking the business community onboard. “It is a right decision of the government to present a complete action plan for promotion of SMEs, carrying specific time limit to achieve different targets.” Nauman Kabir, who is also ex-senior vice president of LCCI, suggested the government to settle the economic issues on strong foundations to create opportunities for maximum employment, increasing trust among foreign investors and enabling local industries to flourish. He said that the SMEs sector was facing various challenges including a lack of investment, sophisticated technology, skilled labour force and a lack of research.

The government should work out a policy paradigm for upward growth of manufacturing sector in general and LSM in particular, he said and added that expansion of industrial base was the need of the hour for export promotion, employment generation and industrial growth.

He asked the government for early finalization of Industrial Policy, focusing on areas that can assist the industrial sector to improve the economic growth by effective allocation of resources.

He said that facilities should be provided to industrialists and investors, with making tax collection system easier, by removing unnecessary hindrances in setting up new industries. He also demanded the government that inspectors’ interference in factories on the name of inspection should also come to an end by implementing inspector-less regime.