SIALKOT: President Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Zahid Latif Malik has stressed the need for setting up “Support industry” to facilitate industrial sector of the country. In order to cope with future challenges of industrial sector and government should encourage the businessmen and investors to invest in ‘Support industry’ which would ultimately lead to import substitution of especially raw material utilized by local industry, he said.

Talking to Business Recorder on Tuesday he said that export sector of the country heavily relies on import of raw materials especially from China for further value addition and re-exports adding that this practice adds to the cost of doing-business and is major contributor towards increasing import bill of Pakistan.

Pakistan has seen many industrial surges where industries were established but no work has ever been done to invest in support industry to complement the existing manufacturing set up of the country, he added. In this regard it is suggested that that investors both local and foreign should be encouraged to invest in support industry like accessories of textile and clothing, printing and packaging, etching and polishing chemicals used in surgical instruments industry and others Zahid said.

The SCCI President also stressed the need of carrying out a detailed study by taking all chambers and associations on board for identifying the list of major supporting products which are imported from various countries. The initiative should also be taken to attract investors including duty free import of equipment for setting up support industry he added.

He said the same policy should be applied in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) being established by the government in line with China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative with concept to promote import substitution. He said that Sialkot is significant contender where SEZ can be established by considering the strong industrial base of the city adding that Sialkot is the only export-oriented city in the country where 99 percent of the manufactured exported to international markets and earning US 2 billion dollars. Keeping in view the importance and contribution there is a need of setting up support industry in Sialkot which would reduce imports to serve as a source of raw materials for export industry he added.