KARACHI (DNA): Atif Ikram Sheikh, President FPCCI, has apprised that Dr. Gohar Ejaz, Federal Caretaker Minister for Commerce & Industries, has announced a new industrial zone of a whopping 10,000 acres for Karachi; which will be aligned with international standards during his maiden visit to FPPCI – the apex body of trade and industry of Pakistan. He added that the minister has also offered his full support in taking top economists on board as advisers of FPCCI to formulate its policy recommendations.
Mr. Atif Ikram Sheikh also maintained that FPCCI has decided to support reform initiatives of the commerce minister vis-à-vis export target of $100 billion in 5 years; documentation of the economy and stabilizing rupee-dollar parity. He announced that FPCCI is going to announce its R&D structure in the next 10 days – as his vision is to turn FPCCI into top consultative body for the government.
Mr. Atif Ikram Sheikh also proposed that the business community should embark on a mission to accelerate Pakistani exports through being competitive; holding single-country exhibitions for major export destinations; diversifying its export-basket and creating an effective liaison & consultative process with the government.
FPCCI Chief acknowledged that the approval of 9 cents / kWh tariff for the export-oriented industries under the auspices of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) is a landmark achievement of Dr. Gohar Ejaz. That is how the business community can play a productive role in policymaking if included in key policymaking forums that affect the economy of Pakistan, he added.
Mr. S. M. Tanveer, Provincial Caretaker Minister of Commerce for Punjab, stressed that FPCCI should establish a credible, functioning and productive research & development structure; so that, the federal & provincial governments incorporate its recommendations in budgetary, industrial, trade, agricultural, monetary, taxation, SME and infrastructure development policies.
Dr. Gohar Ejaz shared his deep concerns over the state of Pakistan’s economy; specifically, trade deficit; rupee depreciation; low number of active tax filers; anomalies in Afghan Transit trade; reliance on the external sources of financing and dearth of the active participation of the business community in the policymaking.
Taking China as a role model, Dr. Gohar Ejaz, highlighted that China has foreign exchange reserves in the upwards of $3 trillion– which has shown a growth of 600 times over the course of last 30 years; while Pakistan has hardly managed to double its FER to $9 billion from $4.5 billion during the tenure of current caretaker government.
The minister also stated that if his vision of a 10,000-acre new industrial zone in Karachi is materialized and exports are taken to $100 billion in the next 5 years, it will create 3 million new jobs in Karachi alone. At the same time, the business community can simply triple its earnings; if they play their due role in the accomplishment of targets set by the economic team of government. It is a win-win, he added.