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The Lahore-Gujranwala motorway project, costing Rs6 billion, will play a vital role in the development of Gujranwala's local industry, a key trade representative said on Sunday.

The Lahore-Gujranwala motorway will not only connect the local industrial zone to the rest of the industrial cities of the country with highways and other routes, but will also provide transport facilities to the local population, President of the Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Umar Ashraf Mughal told APP in an exclusive interview.

He said the motorway will connect Gujranwala and Sialkot - the two biggest industrial cities of the country – and would mutually benefit the industrial units at the local level.

Read Senate panel views Chakdara-Dir motorway as viable

The project is being executed on a public-private partnership (PPP) model as the Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) also provided funds whereas the government has also provided support for land acquisition.

“Gujranwala has huge potential for light and heavy engineering goods at local level which “we can use to increase domestic exports.”

Umar said that by increasing production in the engineering goods and steel industry in Gujranwala, “we need to attain the objective Ease of Doing Business (EODB) for lowering the cost of doing business to achieve competitiveness in the international market.

"Modern machinery and high-tech labour can also increase our industrial production, which is likely to increase employment opportunities at the local level," he said.

The GCCI president said that with government support, “we can achieve a huge potential to boost local industrial growth, which could also improve the country's economy.

He said that in order to increase productivity, there is a need to introduce innovation in the local industrial structure which requires maximum resources from the government.

He voiced hope that under the leadership of commerce advisor Razak Dawood, the ministry of commerce would solve the problems of the business community of Gujranwala so as to increase the local industrial production and increase the exports of the country.

He said that engineering goods currently account for 51 per cent of global exports, where there are huge opportunities to grow our exports. Similarly, Gujranwala's automobile industry has been performing magnificently in auto manufacturing for the past few decades.

Umar said that the Gujranwala auto industry is manufacturing auto-Rickshaws and motorcycles locally.

He said that our auto Rickshaws and motorcycles are also exported to foreign markets, especially to African countries at present, adding the government is putting great emphasis on exports of manufacturing and engineering goods, which have immense potential in Gujranwala.

President GCCI said that with the support of the government by other facilities, the local industry of Gujranwala can give Pakistan a prominent position in the world in terms of exports.

Omar said that Gujranwala also has a place in manufacturing defence equipment, which is an important service in national defence.

Read ‘Made in Pakistan’ EVs to be launched soon

It is pertinent to mention that during the visit of Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in August 2021, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood had appreciated the performance of Gujranwala industries and said that Gujranwala could gain a prominent position in the export of engineering goods in coming years through increasing the productive manufacturing in engineering and another automobile good.

Gujranwala already has a manufacturing base for engineering goods, whereas the government is also ready to provide all possible facilities for further innovation and improvement, he said.

“'Made in Pakistan' is the government's top priority trade policy which aims to introduce Pakistan's traditional and non-traditional export sectors and local products in the international trade market,” he added.

The adviser said that “we have decided to move towards import substitution which will increase our exports and create more industries in the country.”

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