Owing to ineffective and disinterested policy-making and legislation of Federal and provincial governments, Gadani Ship Breaking is going through the worst crises and financial crunch, not witnessed in the last 5 decades. Lack of coordination between the central and provincial government and lack of interest from Incompetent local authorities like Balouchistan Development Authority and Balouchistan Revenue Authority, bureaucracy protecting their vested interests have brought ship breaking industry on brink of disaster. These authorities have collected billions of revenue in terms of taxes but in return have not facilitated the industry through providing proper infrastructure, utilities, and security. All these factors have greatly contributed to make the Prime Minister Housing scheme a complete failure since GSBI could easily fulfill the requirements of providing quality construction steel and iron at cheaper rates if the said industry is being supported with favorable and consistent policies and ownership of the Federal government.
These facts were disclosed by the Pakistan Ship Breakers Association (PSBA), when a 14-members delegation of the Pakistan council of media women (PCMW), headed by renowned and active journalist Humaira Motala, visited the ship breaking site at Gadani in district Lasbela for learning the purpose of female journalists. The 2-days visit was being organized by a Lasbela-based senior journalist and focal person of GSBI, Mr. Manzoor Hussain Angaria. Pakistan Ship Breaking Association office-bearer Vice-Chairman SI Ahmedullah, Hon General Secretary Asif Ali Khan, and members Executive Committee Members Farukkh Panjwani and Amir Sattar were present on the occasion.
After a thorough and detailed visit of the breaking yard, PSBA gave a comprehensive briefing regarding grave issues faced by the industry. While briefing the delegation, vice-chairman Mr. Ahmedullah, honored with Sitare Imtiaz, said that since its establishment in 1968, GSBI remained champion in ship breaking industry for many decades. However, due to unfavorable policies of the Federal government, new tax rules of the present regime, and lack of level playing field, the industry has been stoop to number three in the international market while India and Bangladesh have been ranked first and second, respectively. These countries have progressed to these positioned due to favorable policies and ownerships of their governments. If these unfair and anti-industry policies would continue, there would be a time that Turkey and China would take over Pakistan.
Talking to PCMW, Asif Ali Khan said that GSBI is the only industry in the international market that pays competitive salaries and wages to its workforce having different skill sets. It provides direct and indirect employment to craftsmen, engineers, and labor. By supporting this industry PM Imran khan can easily provide employment to millions without any government investment. Shipbreaking is the only industry that pays substantial taxes to the federal and provincial government before starting work on a vessel once it is beached. As per the record of Pakistan Shipbreakers Association (PSBA), more than 16 Billion rupees were paid as taxes from1.6 million metric tons of ship steel reported for FY 2017-18, which is a huge contribution national exchequer. However owing to unfriendly and unfavorable policies of the federal government and the disinterested attitude of local authorities in FY 2018-19, this tax amount has shrunk down to approximately one-fourth.
During the learning visit of the media women, it was discovered that ownership of yards/lands is the biggest constraint in the progress and development of this industry. Owing to the lack of interest of the Balochistan Development Authority and provincial government, the shipbreakers as yet do not own the yards, though they are ready to make payments to private landowners and government. Since PBSA does not own the yards they are not able to upgrade their yards as per international standard and if these yards are not being upgraded on a priority basis, it will ultimately result in the closure of the industry providing bread and butter to millions.
President, Pakistan council of media women assured the association that the council will highlight the issues GSBI and PSBA in media. The council member also visited the incomplete and disputed fish harbor of Gadani, District Lasbela which was started in 2011 and was supposed to be the third biggest fish harbor in the country. However, owing to red-tapism the matter has been pending with the Privatization Commission and Pakistan Tourism Development Authority. The livelihood of over 40,000 fishermen and their families is linked with Gadani fish harbor.
PCMW 14-member delegation was consist of senior journalist and Editor investigation Ausaf Mubashir Farooq, Ayesha Ali, Rakshinda Safder, prominent anchor Ramsha, Suneela, Raheel Lodhi, Shazia, and many.