Monday, December 13, 2021
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RASHAKAI ECONOMIC ZONE JOBS OPPORTUNITIES UP TO 500,000+

A joint delegation of Chinese National Development Reforms Commission (CNDRC) and investors visit the site of economic Zone at Rashakai near Mardan.

Project Director CPEC Economic Zone Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ghulam Dastgir briefed the delegation about the Economic Zone.

The Chinese delegation was told that the federal government has started work on the supply of electricity, gas and other necessary facilities to the zone.

Rashakai Economic Zone Jobs:

The economic zone which is being constructed under CPEC will generate over five hundred thousand jobs in rashakai economic zone directly and indirectly.

Moody’s affirms Pakistan’s B3 rating, maintains a stable outlook

The Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) affirmed the government of Pakistan’s B3 issuer and senior unsecured ratings and maintained a stable outlook.

According to Moody’s credit analysis, Pakistan’s medium-term growth outlook is strong, supported by the CPEC project.

The project to address critical infrastructure constraints, and the continuing effects of macro-stability-enhancing reforms started under IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program in 2013-16.

However, it added that the government’s debt burden was high and fiscal deficits remain relatively wide, driven by a narrow revenue base that also restricts development spending.

Construction work of Kurram-Tangi dam in full swing

Construction work of Kurram-Tangi Dam having a capacity of 83.4 MW is in full swing in North Waziristan Agency. The dam to be completed at a cost of about thirty billion rupees in five years.

The dam will also irrigate three hundred and sixty-two thousand acres of land in North Waziristan Agency and Bannu district.

The government determined to provide equal development opportunities to all districts: Aftab

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab says the government is committed to providing equal development opportunities to all the districts of Pakistan.

He was addressing a high-level meeting of Steering Committee on Prime Minister Sustainable Development Goals in Islamabad to review the allocation of funds to all constituencies.

He directed the concerned authorities to complete the ongoing projects before the deadlines.

China Pakistan Special Economic Zones (Directions, Importance, Security)

In the midst of slow socio-economic growth, negative export growth and rising unemployment, Pakistan have signed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with China as a part of its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.

OBOR is not merely a trade connectivity route, it has a pro-development agenda and outlook for all its 68 participant countries having a population of over 4.4 billion and 40% of the world GDP.

For CPEC to play its role in powering the intended socio-economic transformation, adequate and efficient production structures, and infrastructures must be in place.

In this context, one of the key components of CPEC is the establishment of special economic zones (SEZs) in Pakistan.

SEZs are expected to provide an impetus to stimulate economic activity along the trade corridor.

Thus, well-planned SEZs are considered hugely important in achieving sustained and inclusive socio-economic growth.

China and Pakistan are planning to establish nine SEZs in Pakistan. It is worth noting that at present there are about 3000 SEZs in 135 countries, which have created 68 million direct jobs with more than $500 billion worth of trade-related production.

Learning from Foreign Experience:

Global experience suggests that SEZs are an important source of:

  • Diversification of the economy,
  • Reduction in regional disparities,
  • Clustering of economic activities for complementarity generation with local industries,
  • Skill development of local labor force,
  • Transfer of technology and dissemination of know-how,
  • Promotion of ancillary industrial activities,
  • Development of local entrepreneurship,
  • Creation of competition,
  • The attraction of local and foreign direct investment,
  • Especially towards under-privileged regions,
  • Generation of employment,
  • Promotion of exports,
  • and last but not the least, ease of administration and management.

SEZs are generally self-contained in the procurement of raw materials (from local and international markets), power generation, mitigating pollution, sewage treatment and support services.

They practically have everything from transportation to cultural and educational facilities. So, they are perceived to provide significant insulation from the uncertain external/outside environment.

Laws and regulations of SEZs are different from generally applicable laws and regulations in the rest of the country.

SEZs are generally duty-free enclaves for both trade and manufacturing. Several fiscal and regulatory incentives are offered to investors within these zones by national, provincial and local governments.

Nonetheless, international experience suggests that decision to invest in SEZs is rarely based on financial incentives alone; indeed such incentives are not the key to SEZs’ success that may attract weaker firms.

Success factors for them include efficient and cost-effective infrastructures and governance (or absence of over-intrusive governance) that distinguish them from other parts of the country.

The success of SEZ inspires rest of the economy, encouraging the more effective provision of public services and infrastructure, and forcing the policymakers to introduce economic reforms to achieve what was not achieved before.

Thus, successful SEZs introduce structural change throughout the country relatively quickly through a combination of linkages and demonstration effects with local industries.

As a result of leaping up value chains and triggering positive externalities, they create economic space for their entry into basic and intermediate manufacturing.

Too often, SEZs generate and allocate resources for socio-economic uplift of the adjoining areas for their acceptability by the locals.

In the end, it is worth noting that despite gainful role played by SEZs worldwide, in some countries the zones have been criticized for being less legal and socially protective for workers, misusage of allotted land for real estate speculation and tax evasion.

International experience suggests that the main reason as to why SEZs fail is “rent-seeking” by interest groups, exploitation of incentives and other benefits, weak governance, bilateral disputes, regulatory issues, lack of a dispute resolution mechanism, etc.

To avoid such problems and to ensure effective management, countries assign decentralized decision-making roles to private-public partnership arrangements of SEZs with the inclusiveness of local communities and institutions.

Existing SEZs and Industrial Estates in Pakistan

Virtually every district headquarters of Pakistan has an industrial estate or area having infrastructures and offers incentives of various natures:

Punjab has 26 industrial estates, whilst Sindh, Balochistan, and KP have 30, 7 and 12 industrial estates, respectively.

Some of these are successful, while others are unsuccessful because they are established in remote areas lacking necessary skilled workforce or basic amenities for workers.

Some big cities also have industrial clusters on the basis of their strength in a skilled workforce, raw materials, support institutions and deep historical links with local and global supply chains.

These clusters include sports and surgical clusters in the city of Sialkot, textiles cluster in Faisalabad, fan cluster in Gujrat and engineering cluster in Gujranwala to name the major ones.

Existing SEZs in Pakistan include:

  1. Rashakai Economic Zone (Rashakai-Mardan, M1)
  2. Karachi Export Processing Zone (Karachi)
  3. Risalpur Export Processing Zone (Risalpur)
  4. Sialkot Export Processing Zone (Sialkot)
  5. Gujranwala Export Processing Zone (Gujranwala)
  6. Khairpur Special Economic Zone (Khairpur)
  7. Gadoon Economic Zone (Gadoon-Amazai Swabi)
  8. Hathar Economic Zone (Hathar-Haripur)

In addition, there are some Industrial Parks in Pakistan: Rachna Industrial Park (Lahore), Marble City (Lahore), and Textile City (Port Qasim).

Some of the newly established industrial estates are:

  1. Value Addition City (Sheikhupura-Faisalabad Expressway)
  2. M-3 Industrial City (Faisalabad)
  3. Quaid-e-Azam Apparel Park (M-2 Lahore).

For peculiar reasons, Chinese companies are not interested in investing in the existing industrial estates of Pakistan. They are only interested in SEZs to be exclusively established for them along the trade corridor.

Chinese Interest in Pakistani SEZs:

China, as one of the pioneering and successful countries in establishing SEZs, has been showing a keen interest in investing in SEZs that Pakistan has committed to establishing exclusively for Chinese companies.

In fact, back in 2001, a joint-venture between a Pakistani company and a Chinese company has established a successful industrial park near Lahore.

Since 2002, this company has been producing and assembling electrical and electronic products including refrigerators, deep freezers, washing machines, air conditioners, microwave ovens, televisions, and laptops.

Despite this successful venture, some interest groups in Pakistan are creating an impression that China intends to relocate its private industries that have lost their competitiveness, either because of rising labor costs or that the industrial technology has become obsolete in China.

They claim that for this purpose, China is promoting the idea of establishing exclusive industrial zones in Pakistan, where its industries can be relocated and benefit from the policy incentives and business environment.

Another perspective is that, given the new stage of development in China, it does not want to provide policy support to such industries anymore and that is why it intends to relocate its old industries.

Still another viewpoint shows that with huge surplus Chinese companies in any way want to invest closer to their markets provided they get desired skills, infrastructures, as well as conducive work and business environment.

Private investors from Chinese SEZs are accustomed to special economic policies and flexible governmental measures, allowing them to utilize economic management system that is more attractive for foreign and domestic firms to do business than in the rest of mainland China.

In SEZs, investment is conducted without any authorization of the Chinese central government. SEZs offer tax and business incentives to attract foreign investment and technology.

So the challenge for Pakistani policymakers is to provide the corresponding, if not better, incentives, infrastructure and business environment to Chinese investors than they are used to with at home.

It is pertinent to note here that in May 2010, China designated the city of Kashgar in Xinjiang as a Special Economic Zone, which is going to compete with Pakistani SEZs, to be established exclusively for Chinese companies and also with existing industries in Pakistan.

To attract Chinese investors to establish industries in Pakistani SEZs, some extra measures and effort are required to provide them with fiscal incentives, the most cost-effective and efficient infrastructures and support services as well as investor-friendly governance.

Pakistan, on its part, is anxiously looking for foreign investment and technologies to apprehend high and sustained export-oriented growth to generate employment.

Pertinent questions arise, whether Pakistan is ready to welcome such industries? And, once Chinese companies establish themselves in SEZs, will there be any global market to sell goods produced by SEZs’ firms or will they penetrate Pakistani markets and displace local industry?

Despite the desperate need for foreign investment, my suggestion is to develop a well thought and focused scheme for SEZs to welcome Chinese companies that should create pro-inclusive sustained growth, subject to minimum socio-economic costs.

This should ultimately achieve our long-term goals of gaining access to new and modern technologies as well as penetrating international markets.

So, a policy challenge is to prepare local workforce, infrastructures, and institutional systems, and mechanisms in Pakistan to attract and welcome Chinese investors to reap maximum and sustained benefits.

Government-Proposed Pak-China SEZs:

Keeping at the front the Memorandum of Understandings signed by the governments of China and Pakistan, the Pakistani government has proposed following nine SEZs to be established in all five provinces along with industries:

  1. Rashakai Economic Zone: (M-1, Nowshera): Fruit/food/packaging/textile stitching/knitting.
  2. China Special Economic Zone Dhabeji: Type of industry will be determined at feasibility stage.
  3. Bostan Industrial Zone (near Quetta): Fruit processing, agriculture machinery, pharmaceutical, motorbikes assembly, chromite, cooking oil, ceramic industries, ice and cold storage, electric appliance, and halal food industries.
  4. Punjab-China Economic Zone, (M-2, Sheikhupura): Mix industry.
  5. ICT Model Industrial Zone (Islamabad): Feasibility studies yet to be carried out.
  6. Development of Industrial Park on Pakistan Steel Mills Land (Port Qasim): Feasibility studies yet to be carried out.
  7. Bhimber Industrial Zone: Feasibility studies yet to be carried out.
  8. Mohmand Marble City: Feasibility studies yet to be carried out.
  9. Moqpondass SEZ (Gilgit-Baltistan): Marble/granite, iron ore processing, fruit processing, steel industry, the mineral processing unit, and leather industry.

Under the CPEC project, the government has proposed mineral economic processing zones besides above nine SEZs in four provinces.

In Punjab, proposed Minerals Economic Processing Zones include Salt Range (antimony) and Chiniot (iron ore).

In Sindh, Thar (coal) and Lakra (coal).

In KPK Dargai (chromite), North Waziristan (chromite), Kurram (antimony), Waziristan, (copper), Chitral (antimony), Besham (iron ore, lead), Nizampur (iron ore) and Mohmand (marble).

In Balochistan, Khuzdar (chromite, antimony), Chaghi (chromite), Qila Saifullah (antimony, chromite), Saindak (gold, silver), Reko Diq (gold), Kalat (iron ore), Lasbela (manganese), Gwadar (oil refinery) and Muslim Bagh (chromite).

Strategic Directions for SEZs

Tenets of SEZs:

Economic characteristics of SEZs in Pakistan should be represented by the following tenets:

  1. Investment, in general, in SEZs should be by the Chinese companies, but they should be encouraged to have joint partnerships with Pakistani investors. This will ensure sustainability of SEZs.
  2. Target value-added activities and link them with the existing industry clusters in Pakistan.
  3. Target niche industries, where production concentration in minute parts of a long international value-added chain would yield high export returns.
  4. Goods produced in SEZs will be principally for foreign export markets but up to a certain percentage can be exported to the Pakistan territory.
  5. All services to SEZs may be provided by the government on cost-recovery basis but preferably government should engage a private company for the purpose.
  6. Role of government should be limited to making legal and infrastructure arrangements.

Additional Proposals for SEZs’ Structure:

Earlier, I reported a list of the government proposed SEZs along with industrial activities.

In addition to these, I suggest some industrial activities that are more practical and hopefully will enable to reap more benefits.

Keeping in view the interests and absorption capacity in provinces, I propose the following specific industries to be incorporated in SEZs:
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  • Balochistan: Fish and marine, dry fruit processing and packaging industries, water resource management technologies.
  • KPK: Focus on small turbines producer industries and their allied industries.
  • Punjab: Solar power plant producing industries and allied industries, engineering-based small and medium industries, technology producing industries, and food products producing industries. Establish Agricultural Technology Park near Faisalabad and link it with agricultural technology producing companies in an SEZ near Faisalabad.
  • Sindh: Windmills producing industries and allied industries, packaging industry, plastic, and petrochemical industries.

For the above SEZs and industries, each provincial government must ensure: skills, infrastructures, and institutions to be required by SEZs.

Furthermore, link all SEZs with NUST Industrial Technology Park being established with assistance from China.

This will not only fulfill research and development needs of the guest industries but will become a source of attraction for high-end production industries.

Proposed Policy Stance and Measures:

Given their importance, development of SEZs should be made part of the overall growth strategy of Pakistan.

Only in this way shall we be able to achieve the goal of pro-inclusive and sustained growth.

If Pakistan has to offer virtually everything to attract foreign investors in SEZs, it should reciprocally secure benefits for the country.

To begin with, Pakistan should make a careful choice of industries to be invited in SEZs, develop a system where targets with a timeline are effectively monitored to meet agreed export and local employment targets; encourage Chinese firms to produce intermediate inputs to be exported internationally or to non-SEZ companies in Pakistan.

If firms produce finished products, they should be primarily for the export market. Besides, ensure that exports from SEZs should also aim at Chinese markets and not just the markets of the third world countries and negotiate with China to secure duty-free status to all exports originating from SEZs.

Pakistan should promptly conclude special trade agreement for SEZs in addition to the existing bilateral free trade agreement and create a synergy/complementarity between Pakistani and Chinese SEZs for mutual advantage.

To attract Chinese investment to meet our cherished national objectives, provide competitive fiscal incentives, efficient infrastructure, and conducive business environment, of course, subject to performance committed in the contract.

In addition, following specific measures need to be provided:

  1. Start organizing SEZ workshops with potential industrial leaders in China and Pakistan to develop an agreed-upon set of rules of engagement with respect to how these zones should operate to ensure greater success.
  2. SEZ planners should then organize roadshows to mobilize potential investors to promote SEZs.
  3. Promote SEZs as incubators of good practice and self-containment, supported by good infrastructure and service provider firms. Preferably government should use a private firm to develop and manage the SEZ, while the government should be an active player in improving transport, electricity, water, telecommunications, waste disposal, and other infrastructure to link SEZs with global and local markets.
  4. Ensure, as far as possible, that firms are established in SEZs complements and not substitute local industries. This is because SEZ companies producing similar goods and benefiting from privileged incentives will displace Pakistani firms in the international market.
  5. Streamline storage, transportation and packaging industries for export of fruits, vegetables, and fresh flowers.
  6. Link SEZs with well-known skill and technology development institutions of the country.
  7. Accord complete and secured property rights protection to ensure sustainability as well as the attraction of Chinese firms who would then like to transfer technology and produce innovative goods.
  8. SEZs should establish such activities as day care center, school facility, clinic, housing colonies, shopping center, restaurants, etc.
  9. Do not allow the lessee of the land in SEZs to use land other than the pre-specified purpose.
  10. Prepare and modernize domestic small and medium enterprises (SMEs) involved in the provision of ancillary businesses and locate them near to SEZs.
  11. Allow duty-free import of new machinery and equipment to establish Chinese enterprises in the SEZs. Provide 100% tax holidays only to export and innovative products producing firms for first ten years, followed by 50% for next ten years provided the companies show the set performance and modernize their technologies.
  12. Chinese investors, who wish to relocate their industry out of Pakistan, should pay some pre-defined service charge. This is to discourage the footloose investment, where investors enjoy the benefits and soon after leaving the country.
  13. Provide a mechanism for single-window clearance for SEZ companies.
  14. Provide a mechanism for resolving matters concerned with labor, pollution authority, etc.
  15. Provide full rights of hiring and firing any employee in SEZs. Investors will be free to set their pay packages and terms of work. The Government should not intervene in such decisions. Investors should be, however, required to observe all the employment and social protection conventions and laws set by the International Labor Organization and other global organizations.
  16. A Committee comprised of SEZs administration and local authorities should be set-up to oversee observation of internationally accepted rules and laws. The Committee will try to resolve all disputes amicably. Alternatively, a time-bound dispute resolution mechanism should be established to the satisfaction of parties involved in the disputes.
  17. Preference will be given to Pakistani and in particular local labor, but in case of expertise is not available in Pakistan, Chinese workers can be hired.
  18. Ensure that (dry or sea) port and market access through efficient transportation system is available. This will guarantee the just-in-time availability of raw materials as well as delivery of produced goods.
  19. Local transportation may be handled exclusively by Pakistani transport companies or joint Pak-China companies who need to be bound by certain regulations for the provision of cost-effective and smooth flow of cargoes coming in and going out of SEZs.
  20. Create a special cadre of customs officials and staff who can facilitate SEZs’ trade on an efficient basis, especially minimizing the time involved in various procedures. By cutting delays, bureaucratic hurdles and corruption trade costs will be cut down for export-oriented industries.
  21. Every zone should have its own power generation facility and provisions be made that WAPDA supplies are available on an immediate basis in case of a breakdown of SEZ’s electric plant. Also make full provision of gas, petroleum and other utilities at internationally competitive rates.
  22. Skills’ gap often frustrates SEZ firms because then they have to devote an unproductive amount of time to micro-managing staff. So Pakistan urgently needs to prepare its workforce to bridge any potential skills’ gap.
  23. All ministries must work harder, better, and smarter to ensure speedy implementation of SEZs’ projects to seize the upcoming opportunities.
  24. All the provincial and federal governments should work together as ‘one team’ for the success of the SEZs.
  25. Last but not the least, foolproof security should be guaranteed by all provincial and local administrations for the safety of SEZs and their workforce.

Written By: Dr. Zafar Mehmood: The Professor of Economics at School of Social Sciences and Humanities at NUST, Islamabad.

Ahsan lashes out on provincial performance of CPEC SEZs – Rashakai SEZ on TOP

Islamabad:

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal has maintained that it should be a matter of deep concerns for all stakeholders if the progress on the development of economic zones under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is not made within the scheduled timeframe, instructing for ensuring tangible outcomes of Pak-China industrial cooperation.

According to sources, the minister expressed deep concern and lash out at the performance and miscoordination among the stakeholders. He expressed these views while chairing a meeting to review progress on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) here on Thursday late night.

The meeting was attended by senior officials from line ministries and provincial governments. On this occasion, the provincial authorities briefed the meeting about their respective SEZs.

A number of the special meeting on these economic zones have been already held but the progress on SEZs on the part of provinces was witnessed slow.

FATA & Khyber Pakhtoonkhaw seems more serious than other provinces as leading in the development phase. In FATA the SEZ work is underway while in KP at Rashakai, the government already acquired maximum land for the construction of special economic zone.

Minister Ahsan Iqbal directed all stakeholders to fast-track the development of SEZs, complete land acquisition process and feasibilities.

He instructed the line ministries and provincial governments to ensure concrete measures for the provision of electricity, gas and other facilities to these SEZs.

“We need to transform these SEZs into an attractive destination for foreign investment”, said Ahsan Iqbal, instructing provinces to finalize their incentives plan for SEZs, in addition to the incentives already announced by the federal government.

The zone authorities should create a competitive environment for making this cooperation, a truly successful one, said Ahsan Iqbal.

CPEC toll income to be thrice the budget of Pakistan: BoI

LAHORE: Only the toll income generated by the route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), after the completion of the project by 2030, will be three times of the national budget of Pakistan, an official said on Wednesday.

“It is on top of the business, economic, and employment creating activities of special economic zones (SEZs), and other industries,” Zulfiqar Ali, director Board of Investment (BoI) said while briefing Lahore Economic Journalist Association (LEJA) a local venue.

“The national investment agency is targeting to increase the foreign direct investment (FDI) to $250 billion for infrastructure development and other industrial activities by 2025, including joint industrial cooperation between Pakistan and China.”

Ali said that Pakistan had already started development of seven SEZs with Chinese cooperation out of which three each were being established in Sindh and Punjab and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

“Furthermore, nine more Priority SEZs have also been approved for Rashakai KP, Dhabeji Thatta, Boston Economic Zones Balochistan, Allama Iqbal SEZ, Faisalabad, Maqpoondas Northern Are3as, Islamabad Capital Territory Model SEZ, Federal Government Industrial Park on Pakistan Steel land at Port Qasim, Mirpur Industrial Zone and Mohmand Marble City, Federally Administered Tribal Areas,” he said.

The BoI chief said CPEC is the second chance for the industrial and economic development of Pakistan after 1960s industrialization drive. “The CPEC is as important for China as it is for Pakistan,” he said.

Ali added that through CPEC and Gwadar deep sea port, the distance between the Jaboti deep sea port of Africa will reduce to only 5 days. “That is the gateway to reach African markets for China that is heavily invested there,” he observed.

Moving ahead, he said the government’s recent efforts have resulted in a gradual increase in FDI. “The FDI in FY15 was only U$900 million, which increased to $2.3 billion in FY16 and further rose to $2.4 billion in FY17,” he said adding it was encouraging as the steps taken by the government were paying off in shape of FDI.

CPEC toll income to be thrice the budget of Pakistan

He told the journalists that as an outcome of government’s negotiation with the Chinese, early harvesting projects of energy sector had already started adding to the national grid.

“It is expected that there will be no power outages in 2018 and by 2020 maximum energy will be added to the national grid by 2020,” Ali said.

Replying to a question, the BOI director dispelled the impression that the government was favoring Chinese investors by giving them special concessions.

“For the BoI and the government of Pakistan, every foreign investor is equal. Besides, the same level of returns on investment is available to the local ones,” he added.

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250 Educated Youth to be Trained in China under the Rashakai Technology City Project

250 Educated Youth in China under the Rashakai Technology City Project

In a recent meeting held on July 31, 2017, Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Pervez Khattak has stressed on transforming advanced and knowledge related to information technology to the young generation by any means to enhance the capability of youth in the knowledge of Information Technology.

He said that all institutions should work together and transform knowledge into the public sector as it requires a lot of constant efforts.

He added that we need to adapt to the latest digital connectivity knowledge which is the shining future of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the backdrop of CPEC Project.

This was the 7th Information Technology Board meeting addressed at Chief Minister House Peshawar.

In the meeting, the board of Information Technology discussed the previous meeting’s minutes in detail and made some decisions about promoting the self-employment concept by IT-related knowledge.

They also decided to provide six months stipend to the youth of KPK and also support to introduce Durshal project in Mardan, Peshawar, Swabi, Swat, Bannu, and Haripur while it was ready in Swat (Makanbagh) to be started.

The meeting also approved training for the 250 Educated Youth in China under the Rashakai Technology City Project.

250 Educated Youth to be Trained in China under the Rashakai Technology City Project CM KPK

Students would be sent to different Industrial Parks of China and the board would advertise the plan for attracting educated youth for this training.

Note: Those students who are interested in training from China are requested to Like our Facebook Page and visit this website every day for latest information and updates.

In this meeting, Freelancing project also Okayed in the IT field which includes certification courses. Moreover, the establishment of IT Labs in Schools and the IT-related education at 25 sites in the province.

The meeting decided that internet facility would be given to facilitate the youth in their business. Moreover, the meeting also approved the establishment of telemedicine centers, KP-Cyber emergency response center, Technical as well as Financial Feasibility Study of Citizen Facilitation Center which was already cleared by the technical committee.

It also okayed the digital complex in Peshawar and mini tech estate Abbottabad and the Technology City at Rashakai Special Economic Zone.

It also approved the 26 Km dark fiber on the Bus Rapid Transit route in Peshawar for the facilitation of commuters.

It also agreed to hire a professional for the KP-Cyber Emergency Response Center. The meeting also Okayed the interconnectivity of different public sector entities for conversion of data for the facilitation of general public.

The meeting also agreed to the organogram of the IT board, the constitution of HR committee and its function, the technical committee and approved the budget of IT board.

The meeting also endorsed the Constitution of procurement and infrastructure committee. Addressing the participants of the meeting, the Chief Minister said that we are living in the digital world but unfortunately we are laggard to innovation.

We have to adapt to the new knowledge of being digitally connected, digital skilled, digitally growing as the world economy has already transformed and we are being connected to the world economy in the backdrop of CPEC, therefore, we have no other option but to prepare our youth exposing them to innovation to meet the future needs of the region brought along by CPEC.

Pervez Khattak said his government has already framed a strategy for the smooth transformation from primitive knowledge approach to the innovative knowledge approach.

Today the world is open to innovation and we need to sensitize our educated youth developing and expanding their capacity to adapt to the new age demand that is the realistic and prudent posturing to get our due share.

The Chief Minister directed to prepare rules of business for the IT Board and tasked Sahibzada Saeed Head of Strategic Support Unit to follow it.

The Chief Minister also agreed to the regularization of already hired employees adding that the board was autonomous and free in its decision-making process.

He said that he wished a minimum role for the government in the affairs of all autonomous boards and authorities.

The Chief Minister assured all support to the IT board adding that the government had done everything for financially supporting the board and now it is the turn of the board to emerge as the revenue generation entity.

He also advised the board to prepare its future plans and engagements with full preparedness and bring them to the next meeting of the board.

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