PTI will attract overseas investment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Participating in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Investment Roadshow 2015 in Dubai in February last year, Khan had said: “We are setting up investment cells to make things easier for investors.”
He had vowed that an office would be set up in the Chief Minister’s Secretariat to specifically deal with investors; to ‘redress any problems faced by investors’.
Imran had also announced the government was planning development of a mass transit system in the provincial capital city of Peshawar, which would be environment-friendly and help reduce congestion.
“KP wants to develop marble cities, granite processing plants. KP is an extremely fertile land for quality crops, fruit, and vegetables. Both national and international airlines connect to Peshawar and all of Pakistan is accessible with ease,” he had said.
Truth Tracker approached Abdul Karim, Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) and special assistant to chief minister on commerce and industry, who said that KP’s investment; trade and commerce sectors are on takeoff position but in the long run.
“From the day-one, we have been trying to remove hurdles to facilitate investors,” Karim remarked. He said that after broad-based consultations with the private sector, the KP coalition government has established Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Economic Zone Development Management Company (KPEZDMC).
“We have identified 17 or 18 locations throughout the province for establishing economic zones. The Chinese government has offered to give an industrial estate to each province in the CPEC project,” he recalled.
He said that the chief minister’s visit to China in September last year yielded positive results in favor of his province.
In addition, he said that the Chinese government has offered to extend all possible technological help to units, which have no resources but want up gradation. “We have offered incentives to local and foreign investors after six months of their commercial production,” he added.
He said the KP government is working on war-footing to exploit rich mineral of the province and Fata region.
“We have set up a separate cell known as one-window operation of KP Economic Zone to facilitate investors after Khan’s announcement in Dubai last year,” Karim added.
He also said that one-window operation is working to remove hurdles in the way of investors. “The incentives include that if you want to establish an industry then the provincial government will give you 5 per cent mark-up back,” he added.
Haji Muhammad Afzal, president KP Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KPCCI), said: “The PTI members are immature and don’t know how to work in tandem.”
But the chamber of commerce, he said has its own world and it is largely linked to federal government. The only positive step the PTI has taken was that to abolish the Sarhad Development Authority (SDA), which was virtually a dead body and formed a new body comprised with private sector members to deal with setting up new industrial estates, he added.
Afzal said the PTI should have focused on power generation and exploitation natural and untapped resources soon after assuming the office but he is not sure they would deliver on the investment sector because they have almost one and a half year at its disposal.
“The PTI was in a position to generate almost 10,000 megawatts of electricity but nothing could be done in power sector,” he rued.
Muhammad Ali Shah Bacha, Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), said that investors often flock to the areas offering attractive opportunities but here in KP there is nothing on the ground to woo investors.
“KP couldn’t utilize the budget properly even. Let me tell you very frankly, not in capacity as PPP member but in capacity of common citizen, that there is no commerce and trade activities on the ground,” he added.
When approached for comments on investment and trade activities in KP, Zahid Khan, a senior leader and spokesperson of Awami National Party (ANP), said: “There are zero investment activities on the ground but yes there are a lot of investments in KP if you directly ask PTI chairman.”
Zahid Shinwari, former president KPCCI, told Truth Tracker that the only positive aspect of PTI rule is their industrial policy in which they have offered attractive incentives to investors.
In addition, reforms were introduced in the institutes of Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA), he added.
“In policy matters the PTI is doing very well but there is nothing on the ground if you talk on implementation stage of their policies,” he noted.
The PTI has reformed TEVTA, abolished the SDA, which was replaced with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Economic Zone Development Company on modern line and it’s vice chairman is from private sector.
But again, he said there is no industrial investment and they plan to establish industrial estates but there is snail’s pace progress on them.
For example, he said that people are waiting for the promised expansion of the sprawling Hattar Industrial Estate and extension of Gadoon Industrial Estate. The PTI, he said could not built its promised industrial estate in Peshawar so far.
Similarly, the PTI is planning to build two new industrial estates in Rashakai and Kohat district but with no progress reported as of yet. “There is no progress to woo investors in KP,” he noted.
When asked how he would sum up the PTI past performance to bolster the KP investment sector, Shinwari said: “They have practically done nothing. They are wasting time on petty issues. They have nothing solid things in hand to show people.”
In the light of comments and views of advisor to chief minister on commerce and industry, KP Chamber of Commerce and Industries incumbent and former officials and opposition lawmakers, Truth Tracker rules that the PTI pledge to bolster the KP investment sector stands compromised.