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FAISALABAD: Synergy between the private sector and bureaucracy is a prerequisite for comprehensive, organized and inclusive development of Pakistan, said Dr. Khurram Tariq, President Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI). He was addressing the two separate delegations of 35th Mid-Career Management Course of the National Institute of Management (NIM), Islamabad and Peshawar.

He briefly introduced Faisalabad and said that this city was strategically located in the heart of Pakistan from where connectivity to any part of Pakistan is possible within just a few hours. “The two motorways passing from its eastern and western sides have further enhanced its logistic importance”, he said and added that the second largest industrial estate is being developed here for which around 10,000 acres of land has been acquired. “Now efforts have been expedited for its development and colonization”, he added.

About FCCI, he said that it is the third premier chamber of Pakistan which is making serious efforts to redress the problems confronted by its members at the national, provincial and local level. He said that it has a robust private sector which has conceived an idea of safe city project involving billions of rupees to improve the overall law & order situation.

Responding to a question Dr. Khurram Tariq said that there is no restriction on minorities to get jobs in industrial sector and any skilled worker could contribute its role without any discrimination of cast, creed and belief. He further clarified that one percent quota for physically challenged persons is mandatory and it is being followed in letter and spirit.

Replying to yet another question, President FCCI said that Faisalabad has an air force strip which is now being used as a civilian airport. “Efforts are being made for dedicated civilian airport which remain elusive up till now”, he said and added that now we are working on a multidimensional transport model. He said that it is in the conception phase. “We are in contact with the developer of “Sialkot Model” to conduct a comprehensive SWOT analysis”, but most of us are confident that FIEDMC has potential to develop an air cargo hub for the benefit of industrialists and the business community. He said that two third industries in FIEDMC have been established by investors from Lahore and Islamabad and they could also use this air strip for air travel.

Regarding the poor performance of the industrial sector in Pakistan vis-à-vis Bangladesh, he said that we failed to prioritize our national objectives. “Above all, we have an acute shortage of competency”, he said and added that we are sticking to the old mindset whereas Bangladesh has moved forward by adopting new technologies coupled with hi-tech skills.

He said that philosophical and structural problems are a stumbling block which has pegged our growth. He said that practically the government is supposed to provide a conducive climate for businesses and in return it receives taxes but the unlucky government has made it a source of revenue generation. Government fixes recovery targets every year but it never fixes targets of facilitation to the industrial and business sectors. “We are totally out of the global value chain as we have ignored the most thriving sector of IT”, he said and added that billions of dollars of IT orders were shifted from Ukraine to India, Vietnam, Bangladesh and other countries but we failed to avail this big opportunity.

He said that Faisalabad has second biggest boys and girls universities but they are directionless.

About industry- academia relations, Dr. Khurram said that in Pakistan technical and vocational training institutes are established by the government which is unaware of the basic and fundamental requirements of the industry. He further said that 35% research in Pakistan is duplicated while 90% is redundant. He said that we generally talk of numbers of research papers but ignore the quality altogether. He said that Germany has minimum numbers of universities but maximum industries. “Their focus is on technical education while only 33% students are allowed to classical education”, he remarked.

He said that we have serious issues of governance and structural problems which are haunting the country for the last many decades. About a question regarding financial crunch, he said that it is an “excellent question” but without any answer. He said that we are in the habit of criticizing but lacking in critical analysis which further complicates our traditional and emerging issues. He also discussed the pros and cons of the different models including top to bottom and bottom to top strategies and said that we failed to prioritise our national targets.

He said that people of Lahore and its adjoining areas have pumped out water equal to two Basha dam pushing down water level to 150 feet. “Similar, situation is in the areas around downstream of river Ravi”, he said and added that we are responsible for this national debacle. He said that in the same pattern, we are playing havoc with the environment and instead of resolving this issue we are not ready to accept our faults. He said that the story of glacier water has become 20-year-old and now we must dig well-holes in canals to replenish underground water reservoirs.

He was also critical of the inconsistency in the government policies and said that one fuel is promoted and the same is discouraged next year. He mentioned the approach of China who declared that her country would not control emission for at least eight years while signing the Paris treaty. He said that in Pakistan, we are in the habit of signing agreements, protocols and treaties without considering its fall out impacts.

Later Muhammad Masood Ahmad Chief Instructor NIM Islamabad and Muhammad Tayyab Conducting Officer NIM Peshawar offered vote of thanks. They also exchanged shields with Dr. Khurram Tariq President FCCI.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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