Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry: Hard work pays off
Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry, chief executive officer of Lever Group of Companies, is a leading businessman with a career spanning over 35 years. With hard work and dedication, he has taken business inherited from the family to new heights.
Lever Lock Hardware Company is now part of the group of companies dealing in various steel products. Hailey College graduate and degree holder in public administration from the Punjab University he has minimised reliance of his company on imported raw materials. He has inherited interest in trade politics from his grandfather and father. Presently, he holds the important office of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry as vice president.
He believes that checking depreciation of the rupee against the dollar and controlling inflation are necessary for stability of businesses and the economy.
What is your biggest achievement?
A: I inherited one industry, which is now part of the group of companies. I am also planning to set up a steel mill. Previously, we were importing raw materials. Now all the required raw material is locally manufactured.
How do you contribute to community welfare?
A: I give donations to various welfare organisations, including Hijaz Hospital. I also run an educational institution providing free education to boys/girls in Jiya Bagga, Lahore.
What is your greatest fear in life?
A: I wish this legacy and good name continue. My grandfather and father have worked hard to establish the industry. I hope my son will further expand the business.
What is your favourite sport? Have you been a player/athlete yourself?
A: Boxing. I myself took part in the flyweight category competitions. Great Muhammad Ali is my favourite sportsman.
Something about music?
A: I am a music lover. I listened to music while travelling and during leisure times. Muhammad Rafi, Kishore, Lata Mangeshkar, Ahmed Rushdi, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam are my favourites.
How many hours do you work in a day?
A: I usually spend 12 to 14 hours at a desk and in the field.
Which is your favourite holiday destination and why?
A: The United States and Europe are my favourite holiday destinations due to scenic beauty, mesmerising lakes, big shopping centres, smiling and caring human beings, efficient and easy road/air travelling.
iPhone or Android phones?
A: iPhone as for me it is easy to operate. But it is changed only when the existing one starts creating problems.
Which clothing brands do you frequently wear?
A: I am brand conscious. I love foreign brands like Armani, Next, Marks and Spencer. The reason is that branded items retain shape and are durable.
What prompted you to join trade politics? A: My grandfather and father also took part in trade politics. As such, I inherited interest in trade politics from my elders. I desired to make my experience and expertise productive for my community. Doing politics is aimed at playing the role of a bridge between the policymakers/executors and the business community.
How you see the fall of the rupee against the dollar. What will be its impact on businesses?
A: An increasing trade deficit and instability in neighbouring Afghanistan have put huge pressure on the local currency. The government is merely acting as a silent spectator on the flight of the dollar to Afghanistan. The present situation will bring a new wave of inflation that will affect not only the common man but also businesses. Depreciation of the rupee will increase the cost of imported raw materials that will affect every industry.
What steps should be taken for checking inflation?
A: Inflation is a global phenomenon. We rely on imports to meet our energy and food needs. We import fuel, LNG, pulses and oil seeds. High prices in the global market have made these products costly in the country. The government should make food items duty-free and provide targeted subsidies to the poor segments of the society.
What can make the business environment easy and encouraging?
A: Minimum bureaucratic hurdles, one-window facility and clubbing of taxes could make the life of a businessman easy.
What is the future outlook of the overall business environment in Pakistan?
A: I am not optimistic. The government is only focusing on large-scale manufacturing and that too only the textile sector. Other sectors like engineering, SMEs and cottage industry are not on the government’s radar. Devaluation of the rupee, high input cost and inflation are big challenges. The situation will not improve until or unless the government gives due importance to other sectors, SMEs and cottage industry and check inflation.
Who is your inspirational role model?
A: Nelson Mandela and Mahathir Muhammad are my inspirational role models.
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