PAF Air War College team visits KCCI

Web DeskWeb Editor

17th Sep, 2021. 06:49 pm
Mamnoon Hussain

KARACHI: A delegation comprising senior officers of PAF Air War College led by Air Vice Marshal Hussain Ahmed Siddiqui visited the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), where it was briefed about the role being played by the Karachi’s business community in the overall economic development of the country, a statement said on Friday.

The delegation was also apprised about how the KCCI, being the largest and most vibrant chamber, has been struggling to get the issues resolved and ensure an enabling business environment by frequently holding discussions with the policy and decision makers.

Air Vice Marshal Siddiqui appreciated the KCCI for providing the opportunity to the PAF Air War College delegation to have access to firsthand information about the Karachi Chamber, challenges being faced by Pakistan’s economy and the industrialists and their workforce who were an important element for creating a vibrant economy.

No military instrument is viable without a vibrant economy and no nation can survive or expand its military without the support from a vibrant economy, he said, adding that the most important factor behind the success of any enterprise was stable governance and policies internally and externally also.

A stable policy built upon after consultation with all the stakeholders will only provide stability in terms of economy and industrialisation, he added.

Air Vice Marshal Siddiqui said that industrialisation will never happen without educating the youth, which was 60 per cent of the population and without the patronage of good governance.

Whatever challenges were being faced by the economy in terms of foreign exchange reserves and in terms of GDP cannot be conquered without a stable and expansive industrialisation from small-scale enterprises to large-scale manufacturing, which has to take place on the long-term basis, he added.

Motiwala, who joined the meeting via zoom, said that 1947 to 1958 was the era when Pakistan was flying high, as its GDP was soaring and the competitors looked at this country as an Asian Tiger and a country to study. Consequently, many countries learned from Pakistan during this era and it was a time when Pakistan even gave loans to Germany, he said.

All these countries developed their economies with the passage of time, whereas Pakistan’s economy, which suffered badly due to recession after nationalisation in 1971, kept going down.

“We should learn from our neighbouring countries so that our economy can be pulled out of crises on a sustainable basis,” he added.

Air Vice Marshal Siddiqui said that heavy imports, particularly from China, was the major issue being suffered by the country, as the total imports from China alone stood at $12.49 billion last year. It was really essential for the government to rethink the existing strategies and come up with a policy that practically reduces the size of the imports.

He advised the government that the foreign manufacturer of any product, which was being imported in Pakistan at a cost of $2 billion, should be approached, facilitated and fully encouraged to set up production units in Pakistan through joint ventures, which would help curtail the trade deficit, create employment opportunities and ensure transfer of technologies, besides proving favourable for manufacturers who will be able to save expenditures on exorbitant logistics charges on exporting goods to Pakistan.

These goods manufactured within Pakistan by foreign companies’ through joint ventures can be supplied not only to the lucrative Pakistani market but also to the entire region.

Earlier, while welcoming the PAF Air War College delegation, KCCI president Shariq Vohra underscored that to pull the economy out of crises and to promote industrialisation, the government must implement long-term policies instead of taking ad hoc measures.

He also said the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector in Pakistan suffers badly due to the lack of access to finance and they face a number of restraints due to the fluctuating economy.

As per the survey conducted by the KCCI on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on business, it was revealed that during the pandemic, loans were offered under different support packages to big organisations only, as they were able to present collaterals and meet other eligibility requirements, whereas the SMEs were ignored during this critical period.

He said Pakistan’s inclusion in the Amazon sellers list was great news, which would not only boost exports but will also generate enormous opportunities, particularly for the youth and SMEs who would have access to numerous international markets.

He also said 68 per cent of Pakistan’s population was engaged in agricultural farming either directly or indirectly through production, processing, or distribution of major agricultural commodities.

As the agriculture sector contributes 21 per cent to GDP and was a major source of supplying food to a huge population of Pakistan, it was really important to take measures for enhancing the productivity of this important sector through crop diversification, efficient use of water resources, use of latest technologies and equipment along with offering low markup rates and agricultural credit facilities for the farmers.

Businessmen Group chairman and former president of the KCCI Zubair Motiwala (via Zoom facility), KCCI president Shariq Vohra, senior vice president Saqib Goodluck, vice president Shamsul Islam Khan, former vice president Muhammad Idrees, Communication Subcommittee chairman Qazi Zahid Hussain and KCCI Managing Committee members attended the meeting.

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