Islamabad - Minister for Finance, Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Thursday said that the ship building industry has huge potential due to long deep sea shores of the country.

Chairing a meeting regarding proposal for building new shipyards along Pakistan’s coasts, he said that in line with the true potential and ideal location, ship building industry could contribute towards national economic development and poverty alleviation.

The Minister said that during last 8 months industrial sector had performed well and it is the vision of the PML (N) leadership to make Pakistan a country that could prosper and develop as per its potential. He said that it is the responsibility of the government to attract key industrial projects like shipyard industry as major triggers for further industrial growth. He assured full support of the Ministry of Finance to Ministry of Defence Production for the projects which could help generate economic activity and attract valuable foreign expertise and investments. He stressed the need to train and utilize abundant local human resource which would contribute to employment opportunities and increased per capita income. Chairman Ship Building Association, Vice Admiral (R) Iftikhar Ahmad Rao, gave a detailed presentation on global shipyard industry and emphasized that the nations which realized the importance of seas benefitted and became great powers.

He said that maritime sector was prime source of new growth, employment and social cohesion in the developing countries. He informed that the world GDP grew at an average of 3.6pc per annum, whereas sea trade grew at 4.3pc per annum in the last 50 years.

In other words, world’s GDP grew eight times, whereas, sea trade grew 13 times in the last half century, he added.

He said that China started ships building in the 1990s and today it is the global leader with 41 pc share, followed by South Korea and Japan with 33pc and 20pc share respectively.

He informed that there are over 1000 shipyards in China and even India had over 100 shipyards. In comparison, Pakistan has only one shipyard, Karachi Shipyard Engineering Works (KS&EW) with two small dry docks.

He underlined deep sea shore, abundance of labor force and location as Pakistan’s advantages in comparison to other regional countries.

He briefed the meeting about plans for two world class shipyards on joint venture basis at Gwadar and Port Qasim and informed that these shipyards projects will attract major investment from foreign shipyard companies.

Iftikhar Ahmad said that this initiative of building two shipyards at Gwadar and Port Qasim had been pending, since 2008, and no progress has been achieved during the last five years.

He emphasized that Gwadar is being a new port; a shipyard over there will greatly help the port itself.

The Minister for Defence Production, Rana Tanveer Hussain informed the Finance Minister that a shipyard takes five years to be completed/ operational and we need to expeditiously complete the necessary approval process in order to achieve progress in ship building sector.

He informed that the Federal Government can provide land and related infrastructure as its equity in the proposed shipyards. The rest of the investment will be made by foreign companies which are leading the industry.

The meeting was also attended by Finance Secretary, Dr Waqar Masood, Maj Gen Raza Muhammad, Acting Secretary, Ministry of Defence Production, Rana Assad Amin, Advisor to the Finance Ministry and senior officials of the Ministries of Finance and Defence Production.