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SCCI stresses replication of Punjab Govt’s afforestation project

SCCI stresses replication of Punjab Govt’s afforestation project

PESHAWAR: President Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Haji Muhammad Afzal has stressed for replication of Punjab government’s afforestation project aimed at promotion of forestry investment.

We would request the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pervez Khattak to replicate this project in the province so that forest cover improves in the province besides promotion of forestry investment, Afzal added.He expressed these views while speaking after presentation of South Punjab Forest Company (SPFC) at Sarhad Chamber.

Senior Vice President SCCI, Muhammad Iqbal, Vice President Abid Khan leading industrialists including former president SCCI, Syed Zulfiqar Ali, Haji Luqman Khan and others were present on the occasion.

Director Project Operations SPFC, Hafiz Muhammad Arsalan made presentation and apprised the participants about the objectives of the projects and incentives offered by Punjab government for investment in forestry sector of the province.The company, Muhammad Arsalan added, is formed for afforestation across six districts of South Punjab under the Public Private Partnership.

A total of 99,077 acres of land in the form of 187 forest lots of various sizes in Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh and D.G. Khan are being offered to the investors for 15 years so that commercial forestry and range management activities can be done. The government has set 15% reserve price of the total produce for afforestation and Rs. 2000 for rangelands and the investor offering the highest bid to the government will secure the bid’ told Arsalan Khan.

The project’s has immense ecological and economical benefits alike, as it will help to sequester carbon emissions, adapt and mitigate climate change, provide livelihood opportunities to local communities and most importantly sustain the wood-based industry. It will help to save the remaining forests of Pakistan.’

With Pakistan witnessing one of the highest rates of deforestation, it was imperative to promote commercial forestry, so that the nationwide wood-based demand could be met sustainably and pressure on natural forests is reduced.

Hafiz Arsalan assured businessmen that interest of investors have been ensured through the act of parliament, Punjab Forest Act and Public Private Partnership (PPP) Act 2014.He urged the investors to apply for the opportunity at the earliest as the deadline is 15 September 2017.

The SCCI members while appreciating the initiative said it would be more suitable to industrialists in KP if the facility is available in their own province.  They also demanded for doubling of leasing period from 15 to 30 years and preference to existing leaser at time of bidding after expiry of the agreement.