Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Sunday announced that Pakistan was on way to achieving import replacement of $1.4 billion worth as the government had planned a whole new medical city, while the production of medical equipment, as well as electromagnetic instruments, was also on the cards.
He maintained that the Ministry of Science and Technology had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC) – the developing body of Allama Iqbal Special Economic Zone (SEZ) – and a medical city of 200 acres was planned in Faisalabad.
The science minister, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that the whole business would be tax free for 10 years and there would be no customs duty on import of machinery in the SEZ – the only one in Punjab.
He said that two units were being set up in the medical zone with the help of FIEDMC.
Fawad noted that the whole process of importing and setting up of the machinery would take six to eight months and, in the first phase, production of syringes, needles, cannulas, cartridges, wires, and cables, and cardiac stents will start within the stipulated time.
In the second phase, production of x-ray and dialysis machines will start in Pakistan.
Fawad termed the production of medical equipment at home a revolutionary step, saying local manufacturing of the items would reduce their current cost by roughly 50%.
Quoting an example, he said that 1.5 billion syringes had been imported in the last one year, adding that there will be no dearth of all these items at least in the government hospitals anymore.
“On February 26, when the first case of coronavirus surfaced in Pakistan, we were importers of medical equipment, including ventilators. Now, we are producing 1,150 ventilators every month,” he said.
The minister observed that the replacement of medical equipment had become possible because of the ministry’s efforts.
“We have turned Covid-19 calamity into an opportunity,” he said.
Responding to a question that the pharmaceutical sector was facing bureaucratic hurdles in getting clearance for raw material needed for several lifesaving drugs, Fawad maintained that he had already pushed the Drug Regulatory of Pakistan (Drap) for the purpose and that the matter would be resolved within next six to eight months.
While sharing the news of medical city on social media, Fawad announced that the next medical zone would be established in Sialkot.
In response, Qaumi Awami Tehreek President Ayaz Latif Palijo tweeted that he was happy that the medical equipment zones were being set up in Faisalabad and Sialkot.
“I wish the federation and the province would create some industrial zones in Sindh in Badin, Dadu, Thar, Sajawal, Larkana, Jacobabad, Khairpur and Kashmore.”
Fawad replied that the science ministry would be more than happy to join hands with the Sindh government to establish science and tech parks, adding that the provincial government needed to allocate land and SEZ framework for the purpose.
“Sindh can immensely benefit by focusing on tech and science,” he said.
Expressing his gratitude towards Fawad, Palijo said that he was looking forward to a proposed joint venture of federal and provincial government for the establishment of science and tech parks in Sindh.
“Unemployment and poverty in Sindh need special attention,” he tweeted.
On January 3, 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan had inaugurated the Allama Iqbal Industrial City – the SEZ under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The project aims to involve both foreign and local investors and promote economic activities in the country.
The industrial city is the largest among the SEZs in terms of area as it spreads over 3,217 acres of land.
It comprises several sectors, including textile, pharmaceuticals, information technology, chemicals automotive and service complex, among others.
The industrial city is the largest among the SEZs in terms of area as it spreads over 3,217 acres of land. It comprises of large number of projects, including textile, pharmaceuticals, information technology, chemicals automotive and service complex, among other things.
Originally published at tribune