Lahore - Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) Chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, while appreciating the decision to set up a new industrial zone of 2,000 acres in Chunian, has asked the government to also establish separate industrial zones for SMEs and cottage units, besides reviving the sick industry all over the province.

In a joint statement issued here on Saturday along with Senior Vice Chairman Tanveer Ahmed Sufi and Vice Chairman Khawaja Shahzeb Akram, Sheikh said the revival of such units would also provide jobs to the jobless if the government provided these with the required working capital.

He said Chinese investment in Pakistan was a welcome step, which, he hoped, would increase manifolds in days to come.

“A number of projects are near completion in Punjab with an investment of billions of dollars by the Exim Bank,” he added.

PIAF chairman said the Chinese financial institutions were playing a historic role in the promotion of Pak-China cooperation through timely and uninterrupted completion of projects in Punjab. He said that Chinese investors would set up factories in the industrial park spreading over an area of 2,000 acres under the agreement.

“There is a need to explore new avenues for strengthening contacts between the two countries,” he said, and added, “The export of value-added products had decreased significantly due to under-utilisation of existing operational industrial units which need to be operated at their full capacity.”

He said steps should be taken for the revival of sick units by giving them working capital so that they could increase the exports. He further said that revival of such units would open jobs for unemployed youth as well.

He proposed that the existing industrial units should be exempted from taxes. “New industrial zones, estates and clusters should be established away from the densely populated residential areas, especially alongside motorways or major roads to accommodate or relocate industries from residential areas. The cost of land in these industrial zones should be less than the cost of land in the urban areas and should have better environmental conditions,” he stressed.

Sheikh said that Punjab Industrial Estates Development and Management Company (PIEDMC) should take steps to utilise the available space in the existing export processing zone to set up new clusters for SMEs and cottage units.