Basic hindrance in investment is 56-year-old infrastructure


May 29 - June 06, 2004





The World Bank now has been requested by the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) to help rebuilding Karachi's infrastructure, after clear-cut indications from the foreign and local investors that invitation for investment within existing dilapidated infrastructure is ridiculous.

World Bank's delegation headed by country manager Mr. John Wall, with his members Senior Director, Mr. Vingent Conarne, Mr. Oscar Alvarado, Mr. Graeme Lee, Mr. Zafar Raja and Shehnaz Arshad have been conducting a detail survey of Karachi's infrastructure since last one week and expected to remain in Karachi for three more days. City Nazim Niamatullah Khan has asked the WB's team to help in Mega projects, as CDGK cannot start any of them within its resources. The President Geneneral Pervez Musharraf had announced Rs. 29 billion Ta'ameer-e-Karachi programs but that is only few percent of the required finance.

The World Bank country manager in his first statement said that "World Bank is meeting all the senior officers of CDGK and Sindh Government, taking briefing about all the situation including Mega projects, after understanding the whole system World Bank would come out with its line of action in this regard." The World Bank, however, was assured by City Nazim that CDGK would give all the assistance required by the team.

Only during current more than 20 foreign investors delegations have visited Karachi and have told that basic hindrance in investment is 56-year-old infrastructure.

Federal and provincial governments of Pakistan have been spending huge amount on a campaign of attracting foreign and local investment in Pakistan but not a single concrete step to rebuild infrastructure has been taken so far. Now the local government (CDGK) finally had to invite the World Bank into the matter.

Although CDGK has entered into a preliminary agreement with a Chinese firm to construct the first corridor of the Mass Transit Program, but that is only 10% of the total project as five more corridors are still waiting finance and proper planning.



Power, Water and Roads conditions have gone to its alarming state, where power is neither good in quality not quantity and investment requirements are far high than existing situation.

Local investors have put serious allegations on Federal Government and power company declaring their attitude as anti-industrial and anti-commercial, Mr. Nisar Shekhani, Chairman SITE Association in his press conference last week said, that KESC has successfully forced some of the local industrialists to shift their industrialist units into other parts of the country while more are seriously considering to shift. He said that not only power provided to the local industrialists in smooth way but if any industrialist generate its own power through own resources, he has to pay 5% tax to the government, this seems to be a penalty, as this rule is only imposed in Karachi and rest of the country remains free. He virtually declared KESC as hindrance creator, as every industrial is getting supplementary bills after every third month, KESC shifting meters outside the industrial premises on its own policy and demanding shifting charges from consumers, not only this but KESC also putting physical responsibility on consumers. He further said that KESC will take long time to establish its credibility for industrialists. Local investors and industrialists are questioning the DCO Karachi's decision according to which his secretariat has removed SITE as industrial zone and only, Korangi, Landhi, F. B. Area and North Karachi have been declared as Industrial in Master plan and SITE the largest and oldest industrial Zone with 400 industrial units, despite all the hindrances its developing vertically.

Industries are buying 95% of water from water tankers and only five percent water is provided them through KWSB.

The situation of roads within Karachi and other parts is more ugly, despite the fact that Karachi Sea Port and Port Bin Qasim handle over US $ 23 billion of international trade both import and export, but not a single proposed project of highways and bypass have been seriously completed.

Experts said that Karachi's 56-year-old infrastructure virtually has to be reconstructed as it provides 67% of the total to the national exchequer, it also need especial attention as it has impressive economic statistics. It is amazing that government have established its bodies in each industrial zone but SITE gives a depressive look as it too ignoring environmental laws. Only few companies and industrial units have planted trees within their premises but entire SITE, Korangi Industrial Area, North Karachi Industrial Zone gives a virtual ugly look. Many agencies had warned that environmental situation in industrial zones in Entire Sindh particularly in Karachi is gradually becoming unhygienic for laborers.

It may be mentioned here that Karachi, which is the industrial hub of Pakistan, has no Master Pan. Industrial Zones even do not have residential complexes, hospitals, private transport system, 25 years ago, labour colonies were built in SITE and Landhi but now have become dilapidated conditions. All industrial zones need residential complexes of various categories and internal public transport system

Economists and experts have also demanding training centers for the production of updated World Class technical people but that matter too remained in cold storage.