PM approves nine projects worth US$1.7bn to make Gwadar port functional

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Ports and Shipping Kamran Michael on Thursday informed the National Assembly that Prime Minister has approved nine projects costing US $1.7 billion to make Gwadar Port functional.

Replying during Question Hour in the House, the minister said that the port is the third Deep Sea Port of the country which is ready in all respects to cater for both import and export.

Presently it is handling import of bulk urea of TCP as per decision of ECC and in near future it will handle the export goods also.

Gwadar Port can handle ships of 50,000 DWT making it comfortable for the imports as well as importers to ship maximum cargo on single large ship, the minister informed.

Parliamentary Secretary Industries and Production Rao Muhammad Ajmal Khan said that the government did not determine the prices of cement.

Cement industry is in the private sector as such prices are governed by market mechanism only and the government has no control on any price fixation, Rao Ajmal added.

He said that prices of several items including cement are monitored by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and as per report retail prices of cement for the week ended on April 2014 at federal and provincial capital cities were as follows Islamabad Rs 513, Lahore Rs 515, Karachi Rs 533, Peshawar Rs 501 and Quetta Rs 550 per bag.

Parliamentary Secretary said that the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) is the apex SME development organization, working under the administrative control of Ministry of Industries and Production.

He said SMEDA is taking key initiatives for the establishment and promotion of new domestic and small industries in the country including SMEDA help desk services which provide guidance to new and existing SMEs.

Rao Ajmal said that SMEDA has prepared around 170 pre-feasibility studies and the objective of the pre-feasibility study is primarily to facilitate potential entrepreneurs in project identification for investment.

Prefeasibility studies cover various aspects of project concept development, start-ups and production, marketing, finance and business management, he added.

Rao Ajmal said that Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loans (PMYBL) for young entrepreneurs is a facility provided by the government to encourage private persons to establish their small scale businesses and industries.

PMYBL is covering Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). SMEDA provided business counselling to the loan applicants.