Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) and Former President KCCI Zubair Motiwala has urged the entire business & industrial community of Karachi to exhibit complete unity and discipline under KCCI’s umbrella which would certainly lead to resolving all the issues being faced by Karachi. “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 to resolve those issues which result in enhanced production and exports”, he added.
Speaking at the 61st Annual General Meeting, Chairman 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 make sure that wheels of the industries keep on spinning. Therefore, the gas supply to industries has to be given top priority instead prioritizing the domestic consumers while the infrastructure along with law & 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.
Vice Chairmen BMG Haroon Farooki, Anjum Nisar, Jawed Bilwani, General Secretary BMG AQ Khalil, newly elected President Mohammad Tariq Yousuf, newly elected SVP Touseef Ahmed, newly elected VP Mohammad Haris Agar, retiring President Muhammad Idrees, retiring SVP Abdul Rehman Naqi, retiring VP Qazi Zahid Hussain, Former Presidents and General Body Members attended the AGM.
Zubair 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 population as it was a well-known fact that 71 percent population, to date, uses other conventional means for overcoming their domestic needs. The closure or limited activities of industries due to gas crises along with high cost of doing business would discourage industrialization 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 more downfall is clearly visible.”
He was of the opinion that Karachi was going through worst conditions nowadays due to infrastructure, electricity, gas, water and several taxation issues while the imposition of Fuel Adjustment Charges (FAC) and Fixed Charges in KE Bills have 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 12:AM to 8:00AM which was not making any sense at all as this is the time when electricity consumption at industries is the lowest and it appears that it was only being done by KE to pressurize 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, adding that our target is to resolve the electricity and gas supply problems being suffered by Karachi and convince the government to refrain KE from charging FCA retrospectively.
While urging the newly elected Office Bearers to pay attention to taxation issues, Chairman BMG advised to allocate two rooms at KCCI where officials of several government departments will be made available every day to 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 made in Pakistan logo become sailable in the international markets”, said Zubair Motiwala, “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 cloths and other raw materials would never prove favorable for the economy so focus should be on exporting finished goods.
While paying glowing tribute to Late Siraj Kassam Teli for his exceptional services to Karachi and also his farsightedness, Zubair Motiwala said, “We will always be thankful to him for uniting the business community and creating an environment wherein KCCI has the honor of the being largest chamber of Pakistan, 8th largest chamber of the world and 2nd largest chamber of Asia. “During 25 years of BMG at KCCI, BMG candidates have been constantly winning KCCI’s elections without losing a single seat which clearly indicates the overwhelming support of business & industrial community.”
While anticipating excellent performance by the newly elected President Tariq Yousuf who is a veteran industrialist, Chairman BMG highly appreciated the record-breaking performance of Muhammad Idrees who kept pursuing all the policymakers so that the issues being faced by the business community could be promptly resolved.
Vice Chairman BMG Haroon Farooki, in his remarks, advised the newly elected office bearers to continue KCCI’s quest for resolving several issues pertaining to taxes, State Bank’s anti-business policies, exorbitant electricity tariffs, gas shortages, dilapidated infrastructure and poor law & order as all these issues stand unresolved to date. “The President will have to set a clear direction and act more aggressively to such an extent that if extreme steps are needed, he should not hesitate in taking them in the larger interest of Karachi and Pakistan”, he added.
Vice Chairman BMG Anjum Nisar also stressed that the new team at KCCI will have to push hard for resolving the infrastructure issue of Karachi and must also urge the government to devise policies in such a manner that these result in boosting the exports which would certainly help in resolving the economic crises being faced by the country, besides taking all the stakeholders on board in the policymaking process.
Vice Chairman BMG Jawed Bilwani urged the General Body to pass a resolution today wherein all markets associations, industrial town associations and KCCI must resolve to display protest banners in which it must be categorically warned that the business community will not remain silent and keep on protesting until the law-and-order situation improves in every nook and corner of Karachi. “Karachi, despite being in a state of illness, contributes matchlessly to the national exchequer. What will be its contribution when the city becomes healthier? Hence, we all should strive really hard to make Karachi healthier otherwise our future generations would prefer not to live in Karachi but abroad”, he added.
General Secretary BMG AQ Khalil, while congratulating the newly elected Managing Committee Members, advised that not a single Managing Committee member should be left sitting empty handed and the entire Managing Committee should be engaged in various tasks to further improve the functioning KCCI’s departments.
The newly elected President KCCI Mohammed Tariq Yousuf, while highlighting his targets for 2022-23, assured to make all-put efforts for resolving issues being faced not only by the business & industrial community but also by the citizens of Karachi who were facing immense hardships particularly due to completely destroyed infrastructure of Karachi. “It is my desire that during our tenure, we succeed in creating some kind of cell in which we could work on identified rectification of civic amenities in the city”, he said, adding that it was indeed an honor to offer services as President for the largest Chamber of country.
“Next year is a going to be very challenging for us due to severe devaluation of rupee against dollar which was neither in the interest of exporters nor importers. Moreover, Gas and electricity load shedding is also a very serious issue as it has been observed that when electricity is available, there is no gas and when gas is available, there is no electricity which terribly hinders production activities and has led to retrenchment of workers at many industries. The exorbitant KE Bills carrying Fuel Adjust Charges are also a very grave issue that will also be given special attention. All these factors are really damaging for the economy therefore, we will make strenuous efforts for getting them resolved so that an enabling business environment could be ensured.”
Retiring President Muhammad Idrees, while touching upon the overall performance and achievements during his tenure, stated that all this became possible due to collective efforts made by KCCI Office Bearers and Managing Committee Members. He also appreciated the all-time support and cooperation extended by BMG leadership which helped in promptly getting numerous issues resolved as per aspirations of the business community.