RAWALPINDI: Punjab government has sought help of the local business community to develop economic corridors along the proposed Ring Road and Leh expressway in Rawalpindi.

This was stated at a meeting of the steering committee of Punjab Planning and Development Department held at the commissioner office here.

Chief Minister’s Adviser on Economic Affairs Dr Salman Shah, Planning and Development Department Chairman Habib Gilani, Commissioner Saqib Zafar and other officials were present.

The meeting expressed satisfaction over the initial report of the consultant hired for the Ring Road project.

The consultant is preparing PC-I and has suggested establishing economic zones along the main road.

Proposed Leh Expressway can also be transformed into a modern commercial hub in collaboration with private sector, says CM’s adviser

Business opportunities would also be created along Leh expressway so that local people would get employments.

The projects have three components: construction of roads on both sides of Leh Nullah, establishment of a sewage treatment plant and a flood channel.

The meeting was informed that the length of Leh Nullah was 30 kilometres of which 17 km fell in Punjab government’s limits and 13 km was in Islamabad’s jurisdiction. The federal government will be requested to divert the nullah so sewage would not enter Rawalpindi or set up a sewage treatment plant so that untreated sewage from Islamabad would not be discharged into Rawalpindi.

According to official figures, Islamabad discharges 100 cusecs of sewage into Leh Nullah from New Kattarian near IJ Principal Road which creates a flood-like situation in Rawalpindi during monsoon season or heavy rains.

Meanwhile, the steering committee visited the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) and briefed businessmen about Private Public Partnership Authority of Punjab through which businessmen register themselves for investment or any joint venture with the provincial government.

Talking to the business community, Dr Salman Shah said the government would use the Ring Road as an economic corridor in which different zones could be developed.

Leh Expressway can also be transformed into a modern commercial hub in collaboration with the private sector.

“Under the public-private partnership, private sector will have ample opportunities to promote investment and business activities. The private sector should take advantage of the emerging opportunities,” he said.

Dr Shah said there were challenges faced by the IMF programme, lower tax collection and debt servicing. Investments under public-private partnership will be fully secured and protected, he added.

The adviser said macroeconomic indicators were improving due to government’s effective economic policies.

“The exchange rate has stabilised, current account has surplus and there have been heavy investments in the treasury bills,” he added.

The commissioner updated the participants on current and future programmes. He assured the business community of full support and cooperation in this regard.

The chairman Planning and Development also gave a presentation to the participants.

Earlier, RCCI President Saboor Malik appreciated the commitment and efforts of the Punjab government in boosting trade activities in the region and thanked it for taking chamber of commerce on board while formulating the new initiatives.

He said the private sector should be given incentives to facilitate businesses.

Basic facilities, including electricity, gas and road infrastructure should be prioritised for setting up of industries.

The chamber is actively operating an industrial estate, adding the scope of public-private partnership can accelerate industrial development and create more employment opportunities in the area.

Senior Vice President Nosherwan Khalil, Vice President Hamza Saroosh, former presidents, representatives from trade associations and a large number of members attended the session.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2019