Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) offers huge investment avenues in almost every sector of the economy and Pakistani investors should tap all investment opportunities in the region for handsome results, said AJK President Sardar Masood Khan.

At a meeting with business community at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), he emphasised that the $5 billion AJK economy had the capability to grow into a $20-30 billion economy within 10 years, which showed its attractiveness to investors.

“AJK has the potential to become an engine of growth for Pakistan,” Khan remarked, adding that three tourism corridors had been identified under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in AJK to improve the tourism infrastructure.

He highlighted that there was a great potential for investment in industrial, agriculture, hospitality and other sectors and urged Pakistani investors to capitalise on it.

Speaking on the occasion, ICCI President Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan said immense tourism potential still remained untapped in AJK and the government should focus on developing modern tourism infrastructure to attract more tourists.

He said tourism promotion in AJK would contribute effectively to strengthening the economy as it would stimulate investment, create new jobs, reduce unemployment and generate tax revenue.

The ICCI chief pointed out that tourism contributed £106 billion to the British economy besides supporting 2.6 million jobs.

“Similarly, tourism is contributing 11.5% to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Dubai by capturing direct international tourism spending of $27.9 billion, which shows that Pakistan and AJK could receive tremendous benefits by promoting tourism.”

He emphasised that the government of Pakistan and AJK should consider announcing special incentives including five to 10-year tax holidays and abolition of duties on the import of machinery and equipment for AJK to attract maximum domestic and foreign investors. He urged the AJK government to provide land on lease for 55-90 years for investors in order to boost their confidence.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2021.

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