PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Economic Zone(s) and Industrial Estates Development and Management Company, which is in the phase of establishment, has an ambitious agenda from establishing and managing industrial estates to overseeing hydel power generation units along corporate lines.

An official of the provincial government told Dawn that the company, first of its kind in the public sector across the country, would be allowed to set up corporate entities including power generation, distribution, transmission, purchase, and sale for fulfilling its objectives: the establishment and management of new economic zone(s) and industrial estates in the province apart from managing any of the existing estate(s) if handed over to it.

“It’s a new initiative for which inspiration has been taken from the government of Punjab, but without paying attention to creating an atmosphere conducive to industrialisation,”said an official concerned.

The new outfit will be a public company and the provincial industries commerce and technical education department is in the final stages to register it under section 42 of the Companies Ordinance, 1984.

To be set up with an authorised capital of Rs500 million and the initial paid-up capital of Rs100 million, the company had originally been conceived by the previous elected provincial government with inspiration taken from the Punjab Industrial Estate Development and Management Company, a public-private partnership aiming to ‘achieve orderly, planned and rapid industrialisation’ in Punjab.

The draft memorandum of association (MoA) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s under-establishment company also provides a glimpse of its being put in place on the pattern of the government of Punjab’s company.

The draft MoA contains certain ideas and phrases that have apparently been ‘copied’ from the website of the government of the Punjab’s management company.

“They (the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government) are reinventing the wheel without paying attention to the fact that the idea has not clicked in Punjab,” said a senior government official.

He said Sundar Industrial Estate, an initiative of the Punjab Industrial Estate Development and Management Company, had a marginal occupancy rate of around 10 per cent to 11 per cent.

“Out of a total around 700 industrial plots at the Sundar industrial estate, hardly around 105 industrial plots have functional manufacturing units and the rest are vacant,” said the official, bringing under question the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s decision to set up a public company of its own.

According to the draft MoA of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa management company it would be “organised and established for orderly, planned and rapid industrialisation” of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The chairman, members of the Board of Directors, and general body of the company would all be appointed by the provincial government in accordance with the articles of association.

The company has been conceived to “establish new economic zone(s) and industrial estate(s) and to upgrade those existing industrial estate(s) as may be assigned” to it by the provincial government.

Besides, the new entity would be responsible to “select/ acquire/lease/purchase appropriate site(s) for the development of new economic zones and industrial estates and to make ancillary arrangements related thereto for establishing such estate(s) including but not limited to creation of charge, lien, mortgages, encumbrance, etc”.

While it would be responsible to “facilitate the provision of utilities, like electricity, gas, telephone and medical facilities and ancillary services for the units established or to be established within the economic zone(s) and industrial estate(s)”, its scope of work is massive, requiring huge investment.

According to the draft MoA, the company will “form/incorporate/manage/ administer/dispose of corporate entity (ies) as subsidiary (ies) with prior approval of the government including but not limited to power g e n e ra t i o n / d i s t r i b u tion/transmission/purchase/ sale and/or any other purpose deemed expedient for the fulfillment of the objects of the Company and/or co-operate with any other company (ies) or association(s) having similar objects.”

Beyond that, the government also wants the upcoming company to generate electricity through any means of generation developed or to be developed in future and to deal in transmitting, converting, transforming, switching, feeding, dispatching, selling, purchasing, and distributing electricity and other utilities.

The new company, according to the draft MoA, would be responsible to provide common facilities for the economic zone(s) and industrial estate(s) in this respect it would be allowed to enter into financial transactions as and when required.

“It would borrow funds or raise money by all legal means/instruments with permission from the provincial government,” said an official.

The functions and responsibilities to be performed by the new company would duplicate the role of the Small Industrial Development Board and the Sarhad Development Authority, one of which is likely to be disbanded in line with a recommendation currently under consideration.

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