The Allama Iqbal Industrial City, a prioritized Special Economic Zone under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, will generate approximately 70,000 new jobs within a year, Faisalabad Industrial Development and Management Company Chairman Mian Kashif Ashfaq said on Friday.
In an interview with state-run Associated Press of Pakistan, Ashfaq claimed the Allama Iqbal Industrial City, inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier this month, had attracted great interest from investors across the world. He said this was the third project launched by FIEDMC, noting that both the M-3 Industrial City and the Value Addition City had proven to be success.
According to the Ashfaq, over Rs. 357 billion had been invested in the special economic zones already. He said the government had announced that all companies investing in the zones would be granted a 10-year tax break as well as duty free imports of plants, machinery, raw material and other equipment.
The FIEDMC chairman said the organization was currently negotiating with Germany’s GIZ, the Fauji Foundation and the Punjab Vocational Training Council to secure the skilled manpower that would be required by the zones. Under the proposed deals, the institutions would be provided land to set up training centers, which he said, would work in line with industry demands to ensure the students were imparted all necessary expertise. In addition, he said, the technical institutions already operating in Pakistan would also be included in this project to maximize the training potential.
Ashfaq said the training would focus on fulfilling the needs of various industrial sectors, and the government would provide the workers provisional contracts so they would be assured of receiving employment immediately upon completing their instruction. He said the zones were also seeking to hire up to 20,000 locals who spoke Chinese to facilitate the industries.
The FIEDMC chairman hailed mega projects and the special economic zones as harbingers of industrial revolution in Pakistan. He said initially the export-oriented industry would be preferred, followed by import substitution industry, and then the local industry.