PORT QASIM INDUSTRIAL ZONES - A FUTURE OUTLOOK
The region is fast moving on the path of rapid industrialization and mercantile activity.
May 28 - Jun 03, 2007
Karachi Port Trust and Port Qasim both serve as principal gateway to the country. Almost all external trade is so far being handled by these two major operational ports, however, the third major port i.e. Gwadar is about to go into commercial operations.
Here we look at the investment opportunities in the periphery of Port Qasim Authority (PQA) that was founded in 1972. It spans over 12,220 acres of land. The land has been distributed as follows:
•North Western Zone - 2720 acres
•Southern Western Zone - 1000 acres
•Eastern Zone - 830 acres
Out of 8300 acres of EZ, 1200 acres are allotted to Pakistan Textile City Limited.
INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL UNITS
•91 units are operational.
•50 units are under construction.
Land utilized by the units in operation is 1,600 acres.
Port Qasim has been developed on the coastline of Arabian Sea where once the sand dunes of Bin Qasim desert could be seen. The port is located at 24o 41í North and 67 o 21í East. The tidal variation at the mouth as well as in the port is between 0.5 to 3.5m.
The port is only accessible through sea but is also well connected with the hinterland, through road and railway networks.
On the industrial and commercial side, the region is fast moving on the path of rapid industrialization and mercantile activity with a total of 2100 industrial units of all sizes functioning across the province.
Port Qasim Association of Trade and Industry (PQATI), Karachi, came into existence under Section 42 of Companies Ordinance 1984 wide registration # PAK/KAR/REGN/2006/001 dated February 03, 2006 with clear objectives to promote industrial activities in the area and to contribute positively to the economic well-being of the country by way of enhancing industrial production.
Naeem Ilyas Khanani is the Founder Chairman of PQATI, SVP Memon Professional Forum, Chairman EFP/NICC Resource Forum, Former Vice Chairman Landhi Association of Trade & Industry, Former Executive Vice President Junior Chamber Intl Paragon, Group Director Operations & Technical Services PharmEvo (Pvt) Limted and Shield Corporation Limited.
He has done B.E. in Electrical Engineering from NED University of Engg & Tech, M.B.A. in Marketing, M.A. (Eco), L.L.B and LUMS-Mc Gill TOT Programme in Operations Management. He has taught as a Visiting Faculty Member at ICMAP, Hamdard University and NED University.
A number of multinational companies have invested in some of the projects. Similarly, some of the projects are run under joint ventures. A glance at the industrial scene unveils a large network of industries such as fertilizers, polymers and chemicals, oil extraction and refineries, industrial gases, pharmaceuticals, automobiles and engineering goods, etc. A well-established pharmaceutical industry is fully operating, involving both local and multinational companies. To meet growing transport demand, production of motor rickshaw has recently been started. Food, beverages and tobacco enjoy leading positions followed by textile and leather sub-sector.
Today's industrial progress and achievements in a short span of time can be described as phenomenal. Similarly, there is wide scope for joint ventures available to foreign entrepreneurs in a territory rich of natural wealth with plenty of still unexplored resources and where nature speaks in abundance awaiting more and more industrial ventures in different fields.
Port Qasim Association of Trade and Industry, a well established premier forum of the entrepreneurs and businessmen, can provide one all the necessary help and guidance for joint ventures in the industrial and economic sector in this region.
PQATI AIMS & OBJECTIVES
-To promote, aid, develop, stimulate and protect the economic interest of Pakistan in general and of those engaged in industry; agriculture, commerce, trade, banking and insurance, in particularly.
-To consider all questions involving trade, industries, agriculture, manufacture and commerce and to initiate and or support necessary action connected therewith.
-To consider, support or oppose legislative or other government measures affecting the economic interest of businessmen and industrialists and also make representations to government or grievances, if any.
-To establish a commercial and statistical library.
The difficulties and problems being faced by all the industries operating in the Port Qasim Industrial Area, are:
1. Property Tax
2. Law and order situation/Helpline-15
3. Traffic congestion
4. Water & Sewerage
Since 2004 we are receiving Challans being issued by District Officer Property Tax (N) Division regarding levy of Property Tax and demands are being made for the outstanding amount of property tax, which include arrears since 2001 as well. It was for the first time such a demand was received by the industrialists of the area. Since no such tax was payable previously, valuation of the properties was even not made and assessments were made on visual survey without conducting physical inspection and correct measurement of covered area.
The aforesaid demand for payment of the property tax, in our view, is illegal and unlawful, because Property Tax cannot be levied on the properties of Port Qasim Authority (PQA). As the land belongs to PQA all the industries are paying Annual Land Rent & Maintenance Charges to it and the property leased by PQA for 50 years.
LAW & ORDER SITUATION / HELPLINE -15
For the last several years the industries located in PQA have seen numerous petty crimes and organized crimes of robbery in the Industrial Zone of PQA. The two police stations serving PQA area (Sukhan PS & Bin Qasim PS) are under-staffed and under-equipped to serve the entire area.
We require government's attention with regard to properly equipping the two aforesaid police stations adequately enough to serve the PQA area. We further propose for establishing Helpline 15 in PQA area for the safety and security of the employees of the industries. PQATI has taken a step to counter such activities by establishing a scheme known as PQATI Neighborhood Watch at few streets in North Western Industrial Zone by a private security company. As an association, we can further extend our help and cooperation in this matter which would be mutually beneficial to us.
A large number of industries have been set up in the industrial zones of Port Qasim and Pakistan Steel with bundles of millions of dollars of investment by multinational / Pakistani companies. These industrial units are making a significant contribution towards economic uplift of the country, besides giving employment to thousands of workers. Majority of the workforce of these industrial zones commute from Karachi daily and have to endure extreme difficulty due to long traffic congestions at Quaidabad intersection. Hundreds of man-hours are lost each day due to inordinate delay at Quaidabad. All this is leading to financial losses, pollution, long traveling time and frustration among employees.
WATER & SEWERAGE
The existing industrial units were facing serious shortage of water supply and requirement was being fulfilled through purchase of water tanker at higher rates.
The PQA had awarded the construction of the Bulk Water Supply Scheme in 1993 to a number of contractors. In May 1998, the main contractor did not complete the assigned project. The project was re-awarded to another contractor in July 1999 and it was to be completed by February 2000, but so far the project still remained incomplete.
Khanani said in the current scenario the work on this project would not start in near future. Therefore, he suggested that authorities should provide water at the KWSB tariff to industries by installing desalination water plant.
At present, no sewerage system and effluent treatment plant is available for industrial waste or human waste at the PQA industrial zone, PQATI chief said.
Since the disposal of treated effluents is an essential requirement of any industry, therefore, PQATI requested the authorities concerned to award tenders for laying sewerage lines in North Western Industrial Zone, followed by Eastern Zone, PQA along with effluent treatment plants.