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KARACHI: The members of Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) invested Rs 16 billion in different CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities and for containment of the negative impact of coronavirus.

In addition to monetary contributions the CSR activities of OICCI members included investment of their employees’ time in different value adding social activities across Pakistan with the underlying commitment to uplift the underprivileged strata of the society and support them during this most challenging time in recent memory brought about by the advent of the Corona pandemic.

About 100 of the leading foreign investors, members of the OICCI, actively participated in support of the GOP’s effort to fight the pandemic of COVID-19, without stepping back from their continuing commitment to CSR activities which benefit the marginalized communities across the country.

Haroon Rashid, President OICCI applauded “OICCI members who have been leading the contribution towards CSR initiatives and are recognized as a role model to motivate other businesses and affluent individuals.

“Over the last few years, there has been a noticeable enhancement in the sustainability and CSR initiatives by the OICCI members through a proactive engagement between business and all stakeholders in society. OICCI members have adopted the best CSR and Sustainability practices, largely in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) to meet the growing needs of the society,” Haroon added.

The annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report 2019-20 brings out the essence of the CSR activities of about half of OICCI members who during 2019-20, collectively, invested about PKR 8 billion on CSR related activities, excluding those on COVID-19 mentioned above, and reached out to around 62 million direct beneficiaries throughout Pakistan. OICCI members and their employees spent around 1.5 million man-hours and partnered with 160 social and development sector organizations in fulfilling their unique CSR programs. The reach of the CSR activities touched all provinces and the geographic distribution was 29 percent in Sindh, 26 percent in Punjab, 14 percent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 12 percent in Balochistan, 6 percent in FATA, and 8 percent each in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.

In terms of specific UN SDGs, 79 percent of the OICCI members focused on (i) Health and Well-Being and (ii) Quality Education, especially new primary and secondary school facilities and vocational training programs for skills development. Many of the members also actively supported health and nutrition related initiatives through donations to reputable hospitals, medical care camps and health awareness campaigns.

OICCI in a statement highlighted that the March 2020 pandemic challenge to OICCI members, and their stakeholders, was enormous and is still continuing. However, due to international outreach of OICCI members, they led from the front and shared the best practices for protecting the health and wellbeing of their employees, business partners and other stakeholders. None of the OICCI members laid off their workers due to slow down in the business activity at the outbreak of the pandemic. Most of the OICCI members positively responded to the Government of Pakistan’s call for support in containing the spread of the pandemic, protecting the health and supporting economic needs of the underprivileged populace in the face of COVID-19 immediate challenge, and contributed about PKR 7.8 billion to various pandemic focused containment causes.

It is pertinent to mention that 63 percent of the members were focused on Gender Equality in support of ‘OICCI Women’ initiative which is gaining momentum since its launch in 2017. “We believe the OICCI Women initiative could become a motivating factor for other businesses in Pakistan to raise the level of women participation, thereby contributing towards a rapid economic growth of the country,” M. Abdul Aleem, Secretary General OICCI commented.

OICCI Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report 2019-20 released yesterday gives details of the contributions of the member companies, working across the country, in a number of diverse social sectors. OICCI is the collective body of top 200 foreign investors in Pakistan, belonging to 35 countries, who are also the largest contributor to the economy of Pakistan besides being the largest foreign investors.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021