LANDI KOTAL: The tribal districts have great potential for investment but need 10-year tax exemption package for speedy development and attracting investors, says former president of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Zahidullah Shinwari.

Speaking at Meet the Press programme at press club here on Sunday, he said that tribal districts had great potential for investment in natural resources like exploration of copper, granite, chromite and marble besides tourism, agriculture, hydel power projects and livestock with a clear government policy of 10-year tax exemption.

Mr Shinwari, who is also director of Joint Pak-Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that successive governments not only kept the region economically backward but also imposed taxes on local people in the name of erstwhile Fata being a tax-free zone.

SCCI former chief criticises govt for losing Afghan market

“The former Fata had never been a tax-free region as the local administration would impose taxes on all items, even life saving drugs, when brought to tribal areas from other cities of the country,” he said.

Mr Shinwari said that local entrepreneurs always opted for investing outside Fata owing to imposition of various types of taxes and lack of basic infrastructure and incentives from the government.

“If the government sincerely wants to develop tribal districts and encourage local people to invest in their own region, it should devise a proper regulatory framework and announce a comprehensive 10-year tax exemption package,” he said. He added that tribal districts needed special attention of government as the region was at a long distance from Karachi port with no proper infrastructure for establishment of industry.

Criticising the federal government for its flawed Afghan policy, Mr Shinwari said that Afghan market was unnecessarily lost to India, Iran and Central Asian States as Pakistani exports to Afghanistan was reduced since the imposition of new border management policy at Torkham.

MATCH: Young Kukikhel cricketers defeated Swat Scouts in a friendly cricket match in Jamrud on Sunday.

Batting first, Young Kukikhels scored 153 runs in stipulated 10 overs.

They managed to bundle out the entire Swat Scouts team for 85 runs, thus winning the match by 68 runs. Junaid Khan of the Young Kukikhel team was declared ‘man of the match’ for his impressive innings of 85 runs.

Speaking on the occasion, Lt Col Tanveer Gul of Swat Scouts said that organising sports activities was aimed at spreading the massage of goodwill between the forces and local people. He said that armed forces will also organise free medical camps for the poor people of the area.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2019