GILGIT: Noting that establishing industries was key for burgeoning economic activity in the region, Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman on Wednesday announced special incentives for investors. Rehman chaired a meeting of the G-B Board of Investment (BoI) in Gilgit on Wednesday.
The G-B chief minister, who also heads the investment body, said that once industries are set up in the region it would bring with it an increased demand for power and hence a need for setting up more independent power producers (IPPs) in the region.
Noting that the region had vast opportunities for investment and business, he said the newly formed BoI would help facilitate exploit these opportunities.
Apart from fostering industrial and business opportunities, Rehman said that G-B residents would be sent abroad so that they can earn foreign exchange. Once remitted, this money would help develop the region.
The G-B chief minister lamented that previous governments had spent millions on organising investment conferences but these had yielded few results. However, Rehman stated that the government was devising a new, more effective investment policy.
In this regard, he said that the G-B BoI would take the local chamber of commerce on board to formulate this policy.
Curiously, the chief minister stated that the board would be an independent institution even though he is the chairman of the body and it would remain tied to the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.
Rehman said that the first ever Land Reforms Commission of the region had been established which had recommended a temporary ban on allotment of land in the region. Following the commission’s recommendations, a six-month ban had been imposed.
He added that the first industrial zone of G-B would be made functional while they would inject Rs13 billion into the agricultural sector.
To encourage youngsters to start their own businesses, Rehman said they would offer interest-free loans under the CM’s loan scheme. Moreover, the youth would be offered loans of up to Rs800,000 would be offered under the PM’s loan scheme.
The BoI chairman also announced to develop the tourist-oriented infrastructure in the region to help increase revenue from that sector.
“The G-B government wants to make the region independent and self-sufficient,” the CM added.
Compensation for affectees of Dam project
Meanwhile, in a meeting of the board of directors of the G-B Rural Sports Programme (GBRSP), Rehman announced that an agreement would be signed with the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) for rehabilitating people affected by the Diamer-Bhasha Dam.
The meeting also decided to include G-B Legislative Assembly Member Imran Nadeem on GBRSP’s board.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2017.