Kashmir Investment Bureau established
3 December 2007
Islamabad: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government has decided to establish Kashmir Investment Promotion Bureau (KIPB) to facilitate foreign and local investors intending to invest in different sectors in the earthquake-hit areas, said Acting President of AJK Shah Ghulam Qadir here on Monday. Announcing the establishment of the KIPB with immediate effect, the acting president said “People of this region have seen immense hardships. Even prior to the earthquake on October 8, 2005, we have been the victims of continued foreign aggression. The earthquake although enhanced our miseries for the time being but at the same time, it has opened doors of opportunity for us.” It has been learnt that establishment of IIPB was desperately needed to protect investors from bureaucratic red-tapism and hassle. Many investors have already lodged complaints that due to non-availability of any forum for the promotion of investment in AJK they have been facing problems. The proposal to form KIPB was floated, among others, in the Investment Promotion Conference held in Muzaffarabad last week. The conference, organised by the Community-based Livelihood Recovery Programme of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, was largely attended by the members of the businesses community across Pakistan, besides a large number of local industrialists, entrepreneurs, senior state officials and representatives of the Government of Pakistan and various UN agencies. The acting president said his government wanted to provide all available facilities to the potential investors saying sincere efforts were being made to exploit the natural resources for the benefit of the people of Kashmir. He lamented the fact that in the past, there was a tendency of non-cooperation that discouraged the business community from investing in Azad Kashmir. He also agreed with another recommendation that called for cancelling the lease of those who had acquired licences and leases for mineral exploration, particularly of precious stones like Neelum, Ruby and Aquamarine, but had been failing to initiate work on these projects. Mr Qadir, who is also the speaker of the AJK Legislative Assembly, assured the delegates that he would personally keep an eye on the fact that the investments made in AJK remain secure and profitable and in this respect, any necessary legislation, if required, could always be introduced in the State Parliament. While terming the conference as a “focused approach at the grassroots level to explore the viable growth sectors and hence offer the same to the potential investors,” he hoped that this partnership of AJK Government, business community and the UN bodies would harness into prosperity in the region.