LAHORE/MULTAN: Punjab is gradually becoming a land of opportunity for investors with an array of opportunities for innovation, industrialization, market development, export sourcing and globalization, report says of the Department of Industries, Trade, Investment and Skills Development of Punjab.

According to the report, the planning division has worked with China, the Netherlands and Turkey to develop a network of systems to support the operation of industrial zones, so that all investors considering investing in the region can rest quietly. “China is the standard bearer for production and Punjab is following in its footsteps, so investors have nothing to worry about,” said the department’s secretary, Dr Ahmed Javed Qazi.

“The government has also bridged the distance between engineers and technologists that existed before and has proven to be a hindrance to the smooth functioning of industries.” The report highlights the establishment of various industrial zones throughout the province that would allow the establishment of many industries. Some of these estates are being set up in Bahawalpur, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan and Sialkot. In the agricultural sector, there is the introduction of fish farms in Chunnian. Additionally, the Department of Commerce in Punjab strives to bridge the gap between industries and academia. The Punjab government has also established three technology-focused universities that will train future skilled workers. In addition to this, the Commerce Department should facilitate the learning of 5% of university students and employees to create better human resources.

Moreover, the land is linked by vast value chains that span the special economic zones, industrial zones and manufacturing corridors of Punjab. These cater not only to the demands of the local population, but also to regional and global demands through a network of global markets via land, sea and air connections.

Punjab offers opportunities in urban regeneration and infrastructure, agriculture and food processing, value-added textiles and garments, livestock and dairy, energy, irrigation, mining and minerals, as well as IT and ITeS. The province has abundant raw materials produced by its agricultural and mining sectors, which are then transformed in the industrial poles of the region.

These industrial centers are run by highly qualified human resources. Punjab’s total GDP is US$162 billion, it has 10 special economic zones and 68,000 industrial units. The land of the five rivers produces 60% of agricultural products, 70% of textiles and 70% of livestock, and it is responsible for 55% of e-commerce operations in the country.

An industrialist said that although the industrial landscape is expanding, Punjab is not producing enough skilled workers to help the newly developed industries. Moreover, due to the failing economy, it has become more and more difficult for industries to import heavy machinery from abroad as they are expensive. Moreover, the problem of lack of electricity, gas and water has left industries working at half capacity or even less. The province is facing many problems, however, with a new plan drawn up by the Punjab government, many problems are likely to be resolved.