KP govt to establish 10 economic zones across province

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has planned to establish at least 10 economic zones across the province in the next decade under the Industrial Policy, 2020, after the provincial cabinet’s approval of the policy in this regard last month.

According to local media outlets that reviewed the policy, the proposed zones include Rashkai Special Economic Zone and Nowshera Economic Zone Extension and will be set up in Jalozai, Nowshera, Chitral, Mohmand, Ghazi, Darband, Swat, Buner and Shakas areas, while the establishment of two special economic zones (SEZs) under public-private partnership (PPP) in the next five years has been planned.

Similarly, the document proposes the establishment of 19 small industrial estates across the province in the next decade.

The policy will promote construction, automobile, pharmaceutical, electronics, apparel, transshipment, IT and food and labour intensive industries in the province, proposing that human resources be equipped with modern and technical skills, including artificial intelligence, and those required for fourth industrial revolution.

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It also calls for leveraging the province’s natural resources like hydel, mines and minerals, oil and gas, food and beverage processing, and cottage industry to make the local industrial sector competitive.

The fiscal incentive package proposed for investors to set up industrial units in the province provides for the exemption from provincial electricity duty for new and expansion projects, initial installation and balancing, modernisation and replacement facility for one-time duty, tax-free import of capital goods both plant and machinery, exemption of tax on transfer of sick unit property and repatriation of profit for foreign investors subject to the existing laws and commitments.

The policy also proposes incentives in the merged tribal districts, especially in those with raw material and human resources and says they will be provided with 15pc quota in credit incentives for SMEs. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will be asked to direct both public and private sector commercial banks to extend Shariah compliant commercial lending to these districts.

Furthermore, land in the specific merged areas earmarked for industrial zones will be provided at 15 per cent discounted price, while electricity will be supplied through independent feeders. Also, an easy access to local markets will be ensured in respect of the goods processed and manufactured in the merged tribal districts.

The policy also reveals that the exemption of KP sales tax on services will continue in tribal districts until June 30, 2023.

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