Islamabad:Merit should be strictly observed in selection of tracts for a cluster of businesses and factories. This will accelerate development and help reduce unemployment. Sites for industrial parks should be close to more than one mode of transport. It should be designed to reduce the pre and post business expenses and contain proper electric supplies, sophisticated communications cables, suitable water supplies, and high-volume gas lines.
Pieces of land selected as industrial estates for other reasons do not serve the purpose. In recent times, some influential businessmen and politicians have developed a trend to buy arid lands at throwaway prices and later get it declared as an industrial estate to multiply fortunes, the Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) said on Sunday.
Recently, riots and protests by industrial workers have been witnessed in many parts of country owing to energy shortages. Businessmen claim that a large number of units have been closed due to energy, interest rates and tax related issues.
However, at the same time, demand for new industrial estates on specific locations is being repeated almost daily from different quarters, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW. They should demand to upgrade, develop and beautify existing industrial areas, he said.
Islamabad is no exception, said Dr. Mughal adding that the claim that present industrial estates are fully colonized hold no water. With two per cent growth rate, closing industrial units, failing businesses and non-performing loans touching almost Rs 300 billion mark, who needs new industrial estates, he added.
“Estates is Islamabad aren’t saturated; there are vacant plots being used as godowns, storage warehouses, workshops, showrooms etc,” he said. Some plots are also used for marriage parties and other functions.
Some business leaders have used their influence to get many plots in industrial areas and later rented them. Also, they get plots in the name of their servants and later sell it for profit.
Dr. Mughal said that entrepreneurship should be combination of innovation and risk taking that increase tax collection, provides employment and benefits society but many businesspersons seems to prefer aid over trade. Reaping benefits by seeking government favours seems a priority.
Many feel that business chambers do not represent the community and have lost capacity to deliver. Decades of crude self-projection, absence of democracy, non-existent opposition, intolerance, objectionable practices and indifference towards genuine problems of community has shattered the confidence of majority.
Common members feel betrayed as well as manipulated and unrest is growing at every level. Role of such groups in boosting businesses needs to be revisited.PEW