Militancy, withdrawal of incentives closed 1,196 industrial units in KP

PESHAWAR, Dec 23: Militancy and withdrawal of incentives led to closure of 1,196 industrial units in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the provincial assembly was informed on Thursday.

Responding to a supplementary question of PML-Q parliamentary leader Qalandar Khan Lodhi, Food Minister Mohammad Shuja Khan informed the house that Afghan war and militancy had left worst effects on economic sector of the province.

He said that 19,970 workers lost their jobs owing to closure of industrial units in the province. “About 496 industrial unites have been closed in Malakand division owing to violence and military operation and government has announced several incentives for the revival of sick units in the violence-hit region of the province,” he added.

Speaker Karamatullah Khan Chagharmatti presided over the proceedings, which started about one and half hours late because of parliamentary party meeting of Pakistan People`s Party.

The minister said that federal government had announced incentives to attract investors to establish industrial units at Gadoon Amazai in Swabi district in 1989. He said that another industrial estate was set up at Hattar in Haripur district.

He said that investors had invested Rs27.921 billion in those two industrial estates and 397 units were established while 14,284 workers got employments.

Major incentives for investors in Gadoon were eight years exemption from income tax, five years exemption from sales tax and immunity of imported machinery from custom duty. He said that out of total 2,254 units some 1,196 had been closed down.

He blamed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for the closure of industrial units at Gadoon. He said that Nawaz government withdrew incentives in 1990s as a result Gadoon industrial estate was turned into graveyard. His remarks offended members of PML-N.

The minister said that investors had shifted their machinery to other parts of the country. He said that present government had set up committee under the chairmanship of chief of Small Medium Enterprises Development Authority to chalk out plan for the revival of sick units.

The house referred a question of, seeking a detailed inquiry into the financial irregularities in Barani Area Development Project in Hangu district, to the committee concerned.

Mufti Said Janan told the house that under the initiative 62.657 kilometres shingle roads had been constructed at a cost of Rs8.5 million. He said the Composite Schedule Rate (CSR) specified that per kilometre shingle road would cost Rs0.150 million maximum, however, under this project Rs2 million for one kilometre road construction had been paid to the contractors, violating the rules and plundering public money.He said that several drinking water and irrigation schemes in his districts had been left incomplete but officials had released payment to the contractors. He said that about 36 projects were yet to be completed.

Minister for Planning and Development Rahimdad Khan, responding to the question, said that government would not tolerate any irregularity and action should be taken against responsible officers. He agreed to refer the question to the concerned committee.

The house also referred a question of Israrullah Khan Gandapur related with technical education department to the committee.

Mohammad Zamin Khan tabled The Provincial Motor Vehicles (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) (Amendment) Bill, 2010.

The assembly rejected resolution of Mohammad Zamin Khan seeking separate division comprising Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Chitral districts and Bajaur Agency. Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that under the Constitution Bajaur Agency was part of Federally Administered Tribal Areas and provincial government could not intervene in Fata.

He said that it was beyond the jurisdiction of the provincial government to make administrative arrangements for the tribal areas. He opposed the resolution and the house rejected it with majority.

The assembly passed resolution of PPP lawmaker Abdul Akbar Khan, who demanded computerisation of revenue and land records of the province. Minister for Information Technology Mohammad Ayub Ashari informed the house that government had comprehensive plan to computerise the record. The proceeding was adjourned till Dec 30 – Dawn