ISLAMABAD: Chitral Economic Zone (CEZ) will attract investment in agriculture, minerals and tourism sectors to create job opportunities in the region and strengthen the economy.
Arbab Haroon, the marketing and communication officer at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Economic Zones Development and Management Company (KPEZDMC), told WealthPK during an interview that CEZ would herald a new era of development in Chitral.
“Chitral holds a central position for foreign investment. The zone will not only strengthen Chitral’s economy but also give a boost to the economies of Swat, Lower Dir and Upper Dir. Chitral has great potential for gems and mining development. Its economy is also highly influenced by tourism,” he said.
The official said that mineral processing, handicrafts, food processing and packaging were the preferred sectors in the zone.
“Investment will also be attracted under public-private partnership for the development of agriculture, minerals, tourism and other sectors. Approximately an investment of Rs621 million is expected in the zone,” he added.
Arbab Haroon said that the basic purpose of setting up the economic zone was to attract investors to the industries of Chitral.
“The CEZ is being set up to create employment opportunities. Food processing plants and process innovation in line with industrial standards are also being planned,” he added.
He said that there was no shortage of skilled labour in Chitral. He said that the establishment of the CEZ would provide employment opportunities to the residents of Chitral and adjoining areas. The zone, on completion, will create 1,600 direct and 6,400 indirect jobs.
The official was optimistic that the products manufactured at CEZ would meet the local market’s demand besides making way to the international market through Afghanistan and Central Asia.
“The investors will be provided with integrated infrastructure and a business-friendly environment for sustainable industrial growth. To ensure an uninterrupted power supply, 5 megawatts of electricity will be provided to CEZ.”
He said that all plans were finalised for setting up the zone and a sizable amount of funds was allocated for the purpose. He said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had already started work on road infrastructure, opening of Arandu border crossing, power generation projects, promoting of tourism and developing of mines and minerals industry in Chitral.
The CEZ will be set up on 40 acres of land, of which 25 acres is leasable for industrial investment. The site of the zone is also located near Chitral airport and one of the proposed routes for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The official told WealthPK that all-year access to Chitral through the Lowari Tunnel, the predicted increase in the number of tourists, finalisation of mineral development policy and CPEC would bring prosperity to Chitral.