Presiding over a meeting, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan urged accelerating the measures needed for the establishment of special economic zone which are related to CPEC, new industrial estates and making functional the existing ones. The location disadvantage of being far away from seaports, lack of fiscal incentives like tax holiday of about 10 years, irrationally high electricity tariff and non-availability of skilled workers are the major impediments in giving impetus to industriaisation in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa.
In the past the fiscal incentive of tax holiday and cheap electricity attracted entrepreneurs for setting up industries in Gadoon Industrial Estate. Midstream withdrawal of fiscal incentives of tax holiday, exemption of import duty on machinery and imported raw material caused closure of large number of industrial units in the industrial estate. The excessive electricity billing in the second PPP government turned out the proverbial “The last straw on camel’s back.” These factors amply explain the lack of interest of entrepreneurs to avail concessions provided by the provincial government under the Industrial Policy which was announced in May, 2016.
As far the fast-tracking of Rashakai special economic zone (SEZ), necessary PC-1s for laying down the necessary infrastructure in the shape of provision of electricity and gas in SEZs are yet to prepared by the Power Division and Ministry of Petroleum and natural resources for submission to the Ministry of Planning for formal approval of CDWP and final approval by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council. Unless and until this infrastructure is built by the federal government, the measures taken by the provincial government alone cannot realise the dream of this special economic zones.
The high power tariff and use of crude mining technology are hitting hard the marble industry in the province. Provision of electricity at affordable tariff and application of modern technologies both in mining of marble and production of its value added products are inevitable for a flourishing marble industry.