Need For Modern Industrial Zones For Peshawar Stressed

PESHAWAR: Infrastructure bottlenecks, slow digitization, lack of cheap credit availability and poor entrepreneurial skills are hampering the growth of businesses in the provincial capital, says a study.

It advocated modern industrial zones around Peshawar to meet the growing demand for industrial plots.

The study, whose findings were released in an event here on Thursday, was jointly conducted by the public sector Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (Smeda) and NGO Centre for Governance and Public Accountability (CGPA).

The study titled ‘Barrier to Start, Formalise and Grow a Business in Peshawar and Measures to Remove Barriers’ revealed that the micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) provided around 50 per cent employment worldwide and their role in Pakistan’s economy in terms of GDP contribution, employment generation and overall business growth couldn’t overlooked.

It recommended that the MSME’s revitalisation in KP was imperative for income generation.

The study said during the last two decades, Peshawar’s economy was devastated by terrorist attacks in terms of financial and human capital.

According to it, the overall precarious law and order situation has impeded business activities in the city.

The study said a lack of collaboration among industry, academia, research institutions and government departments was hindering development of entrepreneurship in the province, so there should be a joint platform for government institutions to combine their synergies to boost business innovations, discuss their problems, and come up with financially viable projects.

It added that boot camps for new entrepreneurs should be arranged by the relevant government departments and they should be linked with investors for seed funding.

The study called for internship schemes in industries and business to provide youth with entrepreneurial experience and equip them with regulatory, evaluation skills and technical knowledge.

It said entrepreneurs struggled to acquire industrial plots for new businesses due to the unavailability of land in the provincial capital’s industrial zones, so they operated from housing colonies to create problems for residents. The model is also not commercially viable for entrepreneurs due to lack of business amenities, it said.

The study said keeping the local and export potential in view, dedicated zones should be set up for marble and granite, furniture, leather and footwear, honey processing and packing, carpet weaving, and gems units with training facilities and modern machinery.

The study pointed out a lack of awareness of laws, rules and incentive schemes by the government. It said the SMEs had less access to information and communication channels and they face hurdles in complying with labor, environmental and social laws.

“Government organizations should organize awareness seminars for the business community, MSMEs sector investors for this purpose,” it said.

The study called for simpler laws, marketing and linkages development, capacity building of SMEs, and easy access to finance.

Mohammad Saleem briefed participants about the research methodology and findings.

Spokesman for the government Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif, who was also in attendance, said he would take up the issues of business community with authorities for resolution.