Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the glories and vibrancies of Karachi have been restored to a certain extent which can be gauged from the fact that many foreign companies have been approaching Sindh government to seek assistance on setting up industries here.
“Hotels in Karachi are overloaded with foreigners which is a positive sign. With the help of business and industrial community of Karachi, we will be able to fully restore the glory of Karachi”, he added while speaking as Chief Guest at the Inaugural Ceremony of 14th My Karachi – Oasis of Harmony Exhibition organized at Karachi Expo Center on Friday by Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
Sindh Minister for Industries Manzoor Hussain Wassan, Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, Vice Chairman BMG Tahir Khaliq, Zubair Motiwala and Anjum Nisar, President KCCI Shamim Ahmed Firpo, Senior Vice President Asif Nisar, Vice President Muhammad Younus Soomro, Former Presidents AQ Khalil, Haroon Bari, Abdullah Zaki, Younus Muhammad Bashir, CEO TDAP S.M. Muneer and KCCI Managing Committee members along with exhibitors were also present at the ceremony.
Murad Ali Shah further stated that without the progress of Karachi, progress and prosperity for entire Pakistan cannot be ensured. Finally, the significance of Karachi has been realized by even those people who once thought that they can move forward by leaving behind Karachi which was their mistake. “Pakistan cannot prosper without giving the deserving position to Karachi and this fact has now been realized by everyone”, he added.
In response to concerns expressed over Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC), he said that GIDC has been imposed to gather funds for some alternate schemes and to equalize the LNG prices. “It was totally unfair to charge GIDC so I raised this issue at the last CCI meeting in December 2016 and will further raise the same in the next CCI meeting”, he assured, adding that unfortunately, it has been more than 3 months but the meeting of Council of Common Interest (CCI) has not taken place. He urged Chairman CCI to fulfil his constitutional responsibility of staging CCI meeting at the earliest.
Chief Minister also assured to sit with the business and industrial community in order to deal with any double taxation by Sindh Revenue Board. “If any double taxation by SRB is found, immediate orders will be issued to withdraw the same”, he added.
He was of the view that Karachi cannot afford to go back to the era of lawlessness, hence efforts were being made build the capacity of civilian forces in order to ensure long lasting peace in Karachi.
Commenting on K-IV project, CM informed that this Rs25 billion worth project was agreed to be funded equally by federal and provincial government but 90 percent of the funding has been provided by Sindh government whereas federal government has contributed just 10 percent. “I commit that even if they (Federal government) don’t put the money in this project, it is my duty to complete this project but in that case, I will make a huge noise and will need business community’s support so that the federal government do not steps back despite commitment”, he added.
Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, in his remarks, paid glowing tribute to Sindh Government and Governor Sindh for constantly supporting My Karachi Exhibition since 2004 which has become a tradition.
Siraj Teli informed KCCI has been successfully staging this exhibition since last 14 years which has become an icon for Karachi Chamber and helped a lot in building the positive image of Karachi which was badly tarnished by the western media. “The law and order situation was not that bad as portrayed by the media. Therefore, we felt it necessary to clarify misconceptions about Karachi by organizing My Karachi Exhibition in 2004, which has become a tradition and will continue forever”, he added.
He attributed the success of My Karachi to the citizens of this city as around 800,000 to 1 million people visit Expo Center every year where B2B meetings along with recreational facilities including food court, kids playing area, birds and pets shows etc. are staged for visiting families.
Chairman BMG stressed that keeping in view the huge population of Karachi and limited capacity at Expo Center, another exhibition center should be established in the city.
Siraj Teli further commented that today’s Karachi is very good and much better than what it was in the past as 70 to 80 percent of the corrections have been done and now it is high time to give attention to the remaining 25 percent i.e. the capacity building of police and other Law enforcing agencies. “Police and LEAs should be made capable enough to effectively control the situation when Rangers leave the city otherwise all efforts made to restore peace in Karachi will go wasted and the city will once again plunge into serious lawlessness.
He appreciated the steps taken by Murad Ali Shah soon after assuming charge as Chief Minister Sindh for development of Karachi which is a very good sign. “Peoples Party and its government are looking back to Karachi in real sense which we warmly welcome”, he added.
He requested Chief Minister to make a commitment of allocating precise amount of funds for the development of Karachi every year and at least for a period of next five years. “Such commitment for Karachi by Chief Minister will be fully supported by the business and industrial community of Karachi. If you support Karachi, we will support you”, he assured.
Speaking on the occasion, Vice Chairman BMG & Former President KCCI Zubair Motiwala urged members of the Diplomatic Corps to convey the message of peace to the international community through their protocol posts in which they must say that business and industrial community of Pakistan is a peace loving community and everything is fine in Pakistan as the situation was much better as compared to what it had been in the past. “We want to do business, we have nothing to do with terrorism, we are not terrorists but we are victim of terrorism”, he added.
Referring to Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC), Motiwala opined that GIDC has resulted in raising the costs and made Pakistani products uncompetitive in the international markets. “How can we compete in the international markets when gas prices in many countries are much lower? In Bangladesh, gas prices are less than half as compared to the exorbitant gas rates in Pakistan”, he added, while requesting the Chief Minister to raise this issue in next CCI meeting.
President KCCI Shamim Ahmed Firpo, while welcoming the Chief Minister and other dignitaries, said that Karachi Chamber initiated this exhibition in 2004 and with the passage of time, the tiny plant of My Karachi has grown into a huge tree with massive number branches.
He also paid glowing tribute of Pakistan Rangers Sindh, Police and Law Enforcing Agencies for restoring peace in Karachi to a certain extent which resulted in reactivating trade and industrial activities all over Karachi which contributes more than 65 percent revenue to the national exchequer.
He sought CM’s assistance in dealing with the incidences of double taxation by Sindh Revenue Board and Federal Board of Revenue.