Government should extend 10 Years tax holiday for manufacturing sector in NWFP to revive economy in the province – Mian Shaukat Masud

  • June 12, 2009
Being the frontline area, NWFP is the biggest sufferer from ongoing way against militancy, therefore, government should extend 10 years tax holiday for manufacturing sector in NWFP to revive business and economic activities in the province. This was demanded by Mian Shaukat Masud, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a statement. He said according to some sources of the province, NWFP has sustained a loss of over Rs.515 billion in these years, which could even be bigger. He said due to militancy, in less than one year about 843 production units have been closed down in NWFP bringing down the number of operational industrial units to 594 in December 2008 while around 34000 workers have lost jobs during almost one year because the number of workforce involved in the industrial sector has dropped from 58,000 a year ago to 24,000 in 2009.  Majority of industrial units have been closed from war-hit area which include 287 units from Swat, 178 from Buner, 36 from Malakand, 32 from Dir and 115 from Mardan.

ICCI President said the rising unemployment and poverty due to closure of large number of business and industrial units will thwart the government’s efforts to restore peace and normalcy in the province, particularly in conflict-hit areas. He said the unemployed people will become easy recruits for militants spreading more militancy and creating more law and order challenges for the government. Therefore, government should draw up a comprehensive plan to create maximum job opportunities by providing attractive incentives and tax holidays to investors and manufacturers in the region. He said restoring confidence of investors and creating a viable environment for business in the wake of ongoing insurgency will be an uphill task and needs proper planning on priority basis.

Mian Shaukat also called upon the banking sector to provide easy lending on soft term to trade and industry in NWFP for quick revival of business activities. Banks have reduced lending facility to industry in NWFP because of increasing risk factor. According to official statistics compiled on Sep: 30 last year, the total amount of lending by banks in Pakistan was Rs.852 billion while industry in NWFP was provided loans of only Rs.32 billion which was merely 3.8 per cent of the total countrywide credit. He said banks should play their due role in improving the economy in NWFP by extending credit to trade and industry on easy terms and with low interest rates. He said providing more jobs to people and promoting economic activities is the best recipe to cope with militancy & extremism and to restore long term peace in the region. Therefore, government should work on this with utmost focus and priority, he stressed.