Pakistan Set to Unveil New Industrial Policy in 2024-25 Budget

Pakistan Set to Unveil New Industrial Policy in 2024-25 Budget

Pakistan is poised to introduce a comprehensive new industrial policy in the upcoming 2024-25 budget, according to Rana Tanveer Hussain, the Federal Minister for Industry and Production.

During a recent Joint Federal Budget Consultative Session for the fiscal year 2024-25, organized by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), Hussain outlined the government’s strategy to engage with the business community and leverage industrialization as a remedy for the country’s economic challenges.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s administration is actively working to alleviate key economic issues, including high energy costs and the significant circular debt, factors that the new policy aims to address. The Minister expressed optimism about attracting foreign investments, which are seen as crucial to stabilizing the economy.

The consultative session was well-attended, featuring prominent figures like Muhammad Asad Islam Mahani, CEO of SMEDA, alongside a robust turnout from the business community. Discussions focused on the pivotal role of industrialization in economic recovery and how fostering a business-friendly environment is essential for sustained growth.

Hussain highlighted the critical importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the economy. “SMEs not only provide significant employment but are also instrumental in reducing poverty through value addition,” he stated. He assured that the forthcoming industrial policy would simplify tax and regulatory frameworks for SMEs and facilitate easier access to financing options.

The federal government, under Hussain’s stewardship, is concentrating on enhancing skills in the labor force and integrating advanced technology into industrial practices. These measures are part of a broader effort to revitalize the economy and promote the rights of businessmen to profit from their ventures.

Waseem Ajmal Chaudhry, Federal Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Production, also indicated that policies to support women entrepreneurs are on the horizon, reflecting a comprehensive approach to inclusive industrial growth. He reassured stakeholders that despite past difficulties, the industry is now well-positioned to thrive, thanks to abundant resources and the government’s commitment to taking industry proposals into account for the budget.

Key issues such as energy pricing reforms, tax system enhancements, and anti-smuggling measures were discussed during the session. Industrialists from major cities like Karachi and Islamabad, as well as smaller locales such as Nawabshah, participated actively, some via Zoom, proposing numerous initiatives to reduce operational costs for businesses.

Proposals included fixing electricity prices for SMEs at 9 cents, reducing gas prices, and promoting the use of solar panels through favorable financing terms. There were also calls for the establishment of special economic zones tailored to SMEs and cottage industries, alongside suggestions for offering land on lease or easy installment plans to SMEs.

Furthermore, the participants urged the government to maintain policy consistency to avoid disruptions and ensure sustainable industrial growth. They suggested that industrial policy should remain unchanged for at least 20 years to provide a stable framework for development.

With such extensive consultations and a focus on practical measures to support industries, Pakistan’s new industrial policy in the 2024-25 budget appears set to catalyze significant economic growth, fostering an environment where both SMEs and larger enterprises can thrive.