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LAHORE: The role of multinational companies in economic growth cannot be undermined for the sake of flow of capital, foreign direct investment, generate employment opportunities.

This was upshot of the speeches delivered at a symposium on “The role of MNCs in the FMCG (Fast moving consumer goods) Industry and Growth of Pakistan” at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir chaired the symposium while Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan and Vice President Haris Ateeq also spoke on the occasion. Saira Iftikhar from Friesland Campina Engro Pakistan, MD Tetra Pak Awais Bin Nasim, CEO Pakistan Tobacco Company Ltd. Syed Ali Akbar, CEO Procter & Gamble Pakistan Adil Farhat, CEO Colgate Palmolive Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Lakhani, Director Corporate Affairs, Philip Morris Pakistan Khurram M Qamar, Senior Sales Director Corporate Affairs PEPSI Pakistan, Director Peridot Products Sheikh Zaheer, Director Commercial English Biscuits Manufacturers Zahid Hussain, CSR & Sustainability Executive Coca Cola Beverage Pakistan Zunaira Shoaib, CEO Dawn Foods Yousaf Ali, Advisor Economic Growth USAID Kamran Niazi and Mansoor Karim were invited as the key speakers.

LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said that the presence of multinational companies in the FMCG sector of Pakistan dates back to the immediate post-independence time. In addition to FMCG sector, the multinational companies in Pakistan are operating in other sectors like automobile, electronics, banking, telecommunication, energy, pharmaceutical and IT etc. He said that MNCs operate in the country in various forms i.e. franchises, holding companies and some are fully incorporated.

He said that Pakistan has benefited tremendously from the Multinational Companies as they bring along investment, technology, managerial skills, systems and international experience. The Multinational Companies have also played an important part in training Pakistan’s human resource, developing infrastructure, implementing high corporate governance standards and the best business practices etc. These aspects are being replicated by local businesses now, which are making a far-reaching impact on the development of the corporate culture in Pakistan.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that Pakistan needs to find a long-term solution to deal with the currently low level of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The net FDI in Pakistan in 2020-21 was merely $1.8 billion, which is even less than 1% of country’s GDP. That is why the ranking of Pakistan in Global Foreign Direct Investment Country Attractiveness Index (2020) was 92.

He said that better prospects of Pakistan in terms of attracting new investors from abroad is directly linked with quickest resolution of issues being faced by MNCs. For the sake of attracting FDI on sustainable basis, MNCs must be given preferential treatment and better facilitation. He said that the MNCs are recognized as the engines of global economic development, prosperity, economic integration, and deepening globalization. In these challenging economic times, there is also a need of a special policy framework to attract more Foreign Corporations as it would create employment opportunities and help transfer of new and efficient technologies.

The LCCI President added that the Globalization has brought about a new and a unique development for the regulation of international businesses, trade and investment. The world has become a global village where prosperity and well-being is ensured by integrating the world and by removing barriers to trade and investment.

LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan said that the multinational companies are playing a crucial role in economic development of Pakistan. They said that multinational companies are contributing to the GDP while Pakistan is also getting a lot of benefit from their financial resources and managerial skills and technological advancement.

LCCI Vice President Haris Ateeq said it is a fact that multinational corporations take risk in making investment as they bring capital and foreign exchange. They generally introduce new technology and systems that are always helpful in improving the overall business climate. Haris Ateeq said that MNCs should be encouraged and facilitated on priority to make them invest more in infrastructure and high-tech industries that will ultimately result in better export earnings and new employment opportunities.

Saira Iftikhar from Friesland called for continuity in policies for sustainable growth. She said that the policies should be for at least three years so that the industry can easily make their future plans.

MD Tetra Pak Pakistan Awais Bin Naseem said that agriculture sector is backbone of the economy and dairy sector is an important part of it. He said that we don’t know that where we are and where we have to go. He said that the direction should be fixed for long-term benefits. The Dairy sector needs minimum pasteurization law for minimum five years.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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