SWABI, June 3: The decision by the newly formed provincial government to restore some incentives to Gadoon Amazai Industrial Estate is lauded by many, however, local industrialists are not optimistic about implementation of the plan.
The industrialists believe that only federal government can restore incentives to Gadoon Amazai Industrial Estate (GAIE). “It is not domain of the provincial government,” Liaquat Ahmad Khan, former president of Sarhad Chamber and Industry (SCCI), told journalists here on Monday.
Mr Khan, a leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and also a former president of Gadoon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), termed the announcement made by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar and other leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf about restoration of incentives to GAIE as misleading.
The GAIE was set up in 1988 by the then federal government with the financial assistance of the United States to eradicate poppy in the area and provide alternative source of livelihood to poppy growers.
The local industrialists said that they had worked hard for several years to restore some of the incentives. Liaquat Khan exhausted all the available options and links when he was president of SCCI and GCCI, they added.
Majority of entrepreneurs were of the view that neither provision of 100 per cent incentives by the first government of Benazir Bhutto was a correct policy nor withdrawal of incentives by the first government of Nawaz Sharif in May 1993 was a right strategy.
“The PPP government’s policy created concerns among Sindh and Punjab industrialists, who ran a full-fledged campaign against it and termed GAIE a black cobra for the country’s industry,” said Fazl Amin, former president of GCCI.
He said that withdrawal of incentives by the then Nawaz government was also a wrong decision. “After the withdrawal of incentives no one was ready to hear to Gadoon industrialists, who faced numerous difficulties,” he added.
At present only 20 units out of 450 are fully functional while 30 others are partially operational.
The industrialists said that restoration of incentives by the incoming premier Nawaz Sharif might be difficult because he himself withdrew the same owing to the pressure mounted by industrialists-cum-politicians of other provinces.
“The Gadoon industrialists will continue to run their units despite numerous difficulties if the government provides some incentives to them,” they added.
The industrialists demanded of the government to restore some of the incentives to enable them to continue their work in GAIE.