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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet will approve funds for the acquisition of 1,600 acres land for the Rashkai industrial estate in its next meeting, said Chief Minister Mehmood Khan on Wednesday.

He was chairing a meeting of the KP Economic Zones Development and Management Company (EZDMC) at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, said a statement issued here.

The meeting was attended by adviser to the chief minister on industries Abdul Karim Khan, provincial additional chief secretary Dr Shahzad Khan Bangash, finance secretary Shakeel Qadir Khan, Strategic Support Unit head Sahibzada Saeed, EZDMC chief Saeed Ahmad Khan and other relevant senior officials.

The chief minister said the government was also working to open the Rashkai industrial zone spread over 1,000 acres in near future.

He said a country or a province could not progress without having a solid industrial base.

Mr Mehmood said in the past, efforts were not made to put the province on industrial map, which resulted into industrial backwardness of the province compared to Punjab and Karachi’s.

He said local youths left for Karachi and other parts of country for jobs or immigrated to other countries due to lack of opportunities for them in the province.

The chief minister said besides Hattar and Rashkai industrial estates, industries would also be set up in every district of the province.

He directed the official concerned to prepare a blueprint for setting small and medium enterprise in all district of the province.

Mr Mahmood said also directed EZDMC officials to improve the workings of the provincial government owned company, which has been setup with a stated aim of rapid industrialization of the province.

He said that it was unfortunate that raw material from the province is transported to other province to make into finished product, while KP itself be setting up industrial not only can earn more but could also provide jobs to its young population.

He said that company was established to speed up province’s economic development and creation of job opportunities.

The EZDMC chief executive officer briefed the chief minister about the company and progress on its ongoing projects.

He said the company was currently working on Rashkai and Hattar industrial estate in cooperation with the China Roads and Bridges Corporation.

Mr Saeed said the company had created around 9,000 jobs at 424 acres Hattar special economic zone.

The chief minister directed the officials to bring locals and foreigners to the province to invest in industrial estates on the basis of public-private partnership.

He said the province had not enough resources of its own to make all that possible.

Mr Mahmood said he would talk to the federal government for the inclusion of the Rahskai and Hattar industrial estates in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2018