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KARACHI: Chairman of the Businessmen Group (BMG) and former president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Zubair Motiwala has urged the entire business and industrial community of Karachi to exhibit complete unity and discipline under the KCCI’s umbrella which would lead to resolution of all the issues faced by them.

“If we all stand united and raise one voice, the government simply cannot keep our issues unresolved and would surely pay special attention to our recommendations which are purely given in the larger interest of the country as all our pleas have always been (aimed to) ... enhance production and exports,” he said.

Speaking at the 61st Annual General Meeting of KCCI, the chairman of BMG said, “To achieve the desired results and ensure sustainable progress and prosperity for Pakistan, the government must change its priorities for the energy sector with a view to making sure that wheels of the industries keep on spinning.

“Therefore, the gas supply to industries has to be given top priority instead of prioritising the domestic consumers, while the infrastructure along with law and order situation must also be improved to accelerate industrial activities which, in response, would create massive employment opportunities and help in dealing with rising lawlessness and poverty.”

Mr Motiwala said that it was highly unfair and imprudent to shut down gas supply to industries for the sake of providing gas to a mere 29 percent of the population as it was a well-known fact that 71 percent of the population, to date, uses other conventional means for meeting their domestic needs. The closure or limited activities of industries due to gas crises along with high cost of doing business would discourage industrialisation and pave way for smuggling through misuse of Afghan Transit Trade and other illegal sources. “Hence, the government has to create an enabling business environment; otherwise, under the prevailing circumstances and policies being pursued, we don’t see any likelihood of prosperity in the country but a downfall is clearly visible,” he said.

He was of the opinion that Karachi was facing its worst crisis due to issues of infrastructure, electricity, gas, water and taxation, while the imposition of Fuel Adjustment Charges (FAC) and Fixed Charges in KE bills had terribly affected the public as well as the business and industrial community.

Moreover, KE has resorted to carrying out load-shedding in industrial areas from midnight to 8am, which doesn’t make any sense at all as this is the time when electricity consumption in industries is the lowest. It appears that the step was taken by KE to pressurise the government while the SSGC has been constantly harassing and creating problems for the business community by either discontinuing gas supply, reducing pressure or carrying out load-shedding in industrial zones, he noted.

His organisation’s target is to resolve the electricity and gas supply problems being suffered by Karachi and convince the government to stop KE from charging FAC retrospectively, Mr Motiwala said.

While urging the newly elected office-bearers to pay attention to taxation issues, he advised them to allocate two rooms at the KCCI where officials of government departments could amicably resolve EOBI, SSESSI, income tax, sales tax and other issues.

“The Karachi chamber must also devise strategies for promoting ‘Made in Pakistan’ logo globally and efforts have to be made to such an extent that the commodities carrying the label become sailable in the international markets,” he said. “The commercial counsellors also have to act sincerely and more proactively by identifying potential products which can be exported to their designated countries.”

He also urged the exporters to focus on value addition which was the only way to improve Pakistan’s exports. Exporting cotton, yarn, grey cloth and other raw materials would never prove favourable for the economy so focus should be on exporting finished goods.

While paying tribute to the late Siraj Kassam Teli for his exceptional services to Karachi and also his farsightedness, Mr Motiwala said, “We will always be thankful to him for uniting the business community and creating an environment wherein KCCI has the honour of the being the largest chamber in Pakistan, 8th largest chamber of the world and 2nd largest chamber of Asia. “During 25 years of BMG at KCCI, its candidates have been constantly winning KCCI’s elections without losing a single seat which clearly indicates the overwhelming support of business and industrial community.”

While congratulating the newly elected president, Tariq Yousuf, the BMG chief praised the performance of Muhammad Idrees who kept pursuing all the policymakers so that the issues being faced by the business community could be promptly resolved.

The newly elected KCCI president, Mohammed Tariq Yousuf, highlighted his objectives for 2022-23 and promised to make all-out efforts for resolving issues being faced not only by the business and industrial community but also by the citizens of Karachi who were facing immense hardships, particularly due to the ruined infrastructure of the city.

“It is my desire that during our tenure, we succeed in creating some kind of a cell in which we could work on identified improvement of civic amenities in the city,” he said, adding that it was indeed an honour to offer services as president of the largest chamber of the country.

“Next year is going to be very challenging for us due to severe devaluation of the rupee against dollar, which was neither in the interest of exporters nor importers.”

Haroon Farooki, Anjum Nisar, Jawed Bilwani, and AQ Khalil also spoke on the occasion. Outgoing president Muhammad Idrees said that all the achievements made during his tenure were due to the collective efforts made by the KCCI’s office-bearers and members of its managing committee.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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