Balochistan yet to enforce policies on industrialisation

KARACHI   -   The industry department of Balochistan has been unable to craft and execute the policies that promote industrialisation in the province.

Industries are largely concentrated in Hub district, which is close to Karachi, with few processing factories and plants of mines and minerals located in Quetta and its surrounding areas. The Hub Industrial Area has not seen any growth as neither new plants nor industries have been set up there for last many years.

“The situation is disappointing in terms of industrialisation in the province,” said Saeed Kasi, secretary of Balochistan Industry Association.

Talking to WealthPK, he said industrialisation was key to a country’s development, but Pakistan lagged behind. He said rising cost of production was a big impediment to industrialisation coupled with the apathy of the departments concerned as well as the regulatory hurdles and lack of conducive environment. He said that development of two economic zones had long been announced in the province, but these projects were yet to be accomplished.

Nasir Durrani, a member of the Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told WealthPK that lack of industrialisation in Balochistan had encouraged smuggling, hurting the formal economy the most.

He said that the industry department had failed to come up with robust policies for promotion of industrialisation due to red tape. “The province’s regulatory regime is not business friendly.” He pointed out that a major chunk of the provincial budget was spent on non-development expenditure with least focus on the development sector. He said the private sector should be encouraged to help boost industrialisation effort as the government lacked the capacity to run industries. He said the industries set up by the government were shut down after running into losses. Nasir said smuggling also needed to be stopped as it had dented the government’s revenues and discouraged the flourishing of the production sector.

Mukhtar Rizvi, a business leader at Hub Industrial Area, said that insufficient infrastructure and disruptive utilities hampered expansion of the industries in the area. He said because of its proximity to the Karachi Port, Hub Industrial Area had the potential to boost exports provided the provincial industry department designed and implemented prudent policies.