The government will promote innovation in industries for improving their competitiveness in national and international markets, said Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain.

Exchanging views with a delegation of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Tuesday, Hussain said that the Pakistan Council for Science & Technology (PCST) had been tasked to carry out the First Industrial National Innovation Survey to identify the factors hampering innovation in industries and take remedial measures to encourage industries to undertake innovation activities that would enhance their competitiveness and promote exports. He said that the Ministry of Science and Technology was working to encourage production of solar panels in an effort to shift gradually to solar energy that was more cost effective.

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He said that the government was considering fixing computer chips on flour bags to monitor the movement of commodity in the country and overcome its shortage created by vested interests.

He assured businessmen that his ministry would cooperate in resolving industrial problems and promoting industrial efficiency.

He also spoke about various projects being undertaken for technological development in the country including the certification incentive programme for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Also speaking on the occasion, ICCI President Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan briefed the federal minister about the key issues of domestic industries and sought remedial measures to address them.

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He stressed that the government should abolish taxes and duties in the forthcoming budget on the import of industrial technology and machinery to facilitate the upgrade of domestic industry.

He said that most of these industries were relying on imported raw material for the manufacturing of finished products, but due to the restrictions caused by Covid-19 and hefty devaluation of the rupee, the cost of imported raw material had increased significantly.

He underscored the need for developing a raw material producing industry in the country that would help in producing competitive products and improving exports.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2021.

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