New Mobile-Wallet Scheme facilitates Pakistanis abroad in swift, convenient and cost effective manner
Interview with Mr Tariq Malik – President, Korangi Association of Trade & Industry (KATI)
Born in Karachi, on November 14, 1952, Mr. Tariq Malik graduated as bachelor of Commerce in 1973 from the University of Karachi. A celebrated English debater for various institutions, Mr. Malik held various elected positions as a student leader. With the surge of students from East Pakistan into Karachi after December 1971, Mr. Malik promptly launched and organized an effective campaign to build a Book Bank for free distribution of books amongst internally displaced students. His timely action and successful campaign was appreciated and lauded in all the circles of Karachi. After his successful stint as a student leader, Mr. Malik nurtured his entrepreneurial ambitions and founded Sardar Group of Companies. As a responsible corporate citizen and member of the community, Mr. Malik juggled time between his entrepreneurial ventures and social responsibility towards the business community. He has held elected positions as a representative of the business community at various apex representative bodies including KCCI and FPCCI. From 2004 to 2006, as member of the Executive Committee of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and President of the Pakistan Industrial Business Forum, Mr. Malik visited Islamabad several times for budget sessions and parliamentary committee meetings of the National Assembly. He has lobbied with relevant committees, exchanged views with the Federal Finance Minister and members of Parliament for necessary approval of the budgetary recommendations formulated by KCCI. Mr. Malik, along with the close support of his colleagues, was successful in managing more than 70% of the budgetary recommendations as part of national budgets. His sense of duty has taken him to numerous countries where he represented Pakistan on various forums – conferences, seminars, delegated negotiations – in India, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Malaysia. Professional Services, (past and present positions held): Member, State Bank of Pakistan, Credit Advisory Committee. Chairman, FPCCI Standing Committee on Economics & Planning. Member, Managing Committee and Chairman, Banking & Insurance Committee, KCCI. Chairman, Banking & Finance Committee, Pakistan Hardware Merchants Association. President, Pakistan Industrial Business Forum. President, Pakistan-UK Business & Friendship Association. President, Korangi Association of Trade & Industry (2017-18). Chairman, Standing Committee on Banking, Labor Laws, Korangi Association of Trade & Industry. Elected General Secretary, Government Premier College Students Union (1972-73). Elected Secretary, Karachi Students Council, (Confederation of over 100 elected college student’s unions including different universities of Karachi). Mr. Tariq Malik, is the Group Chief Executive of Sardar Group. Sardar Group was founded in 1973 and is a cross sector conglomerate with businesses, including services, trading and manufacturing. The Group’s head office is in Karachi and has regional offices located at Hyderabad, Sukkur, Multan, Lahore, Gujranwala, Quetta and the United Kingdom. From an enterprise of limited resources and scope in 1973 and a workforce of only 25 employees, Sardar Group diversified its operations vertically and horizontally in various sectors, achieving accelerated growth. Today, the Group’s professional workforce stands in excess of 3,000 practitioners. Services segment: The services segment of the Group is operated and managed under the name of Sardar Enterprises, rendering its professional services to all the banks and financial institutions of the country as their approved/enlisted Muccadam (Pledge Management Services Provider) throughout Pakistan. With decades of unparalleled record of quality service delivery, Sardar Enterprises has been recognized as an outstanding professional entity by Pakistan Bank’s Association (that is controlled by the federal government). All the major banks, financial institutions continue to avail professional services from Sardar Enterprises for their valued borrowers/customers. Sardar Enterprises is enlisted for all three of PBA’s panels, i.e. Land and Building, Plant & Machinery and Current Assets & Commodities, with territorial coverage for all the four provinces including Azad & Jammu Kashmir, with no financial cap. Highly qualified teams of professionals comprising civil, electrical, mechanical engineers and master’s degree holders conduct valuation of movable and immovable assets for clients. Trading and Manufacturing segment: The Group’s other entities include Sardar Associates, Sardar Pesticides and Empire Foods Ltd. These commercial and industrial entities have experienced unprecedented growth over the past decade owing to a team of professionals working under the guidance of the group CEO. The group continues to progress and develop as an international trading concern – particularly in iron and steel in line with its legacy ship breaking. It is also involved in manufacturing and formulation of pesticides at an industrial unit located in Korangi Industrial Area, Karachi. The Group also manufactures and distributes one of the most well recognized brands of processed and bottled mineral water in Karachi. Korangi Association of Trade & Industry (KATI): Korangi Association of Trade & Industry is one of the largest Industrial Estates of Pakistan and is the sole accredited representative body of this prestigious Industrial Estate. Korangi Industrial Area is spread over 8,000 acres of land consisting of over 4,500 medium and large industrial units including two major oil refineries of the country namely Pakistan Oil Refinery and National Oil Refinery. We have the exclusive 7A sector, where large numbers of leather tanneries are operating their businesses and more than 75% of total leather and leather goods are processed, manufactured and exported from this industrial area. Around 1.5 million skilled and unskilled workers commute daily to this Industrial Estate & approximately Rs400 million is being contributed in the national exchequer on the daily basis by the industrialist and businessmen of this industrial estate.
PAGE: What are your views on the economy of Pakistan?
TARIQ MALIK: The economy of Pakistan at present is in the standstill position and does not seem to have a specific positive direction. It looks like struggling and crawling. There was constant decline in the export graph, however now there is a feeble sign of recovery. During 2016-17, our total exports were around $20.448 billion against our imports being more than double of exports i.e. $53 billion thus a trade deficit of $32 billion. The statistics for the period of 5 months from July to November 2017 do not reflect major change in the trade deficit trends. The important and major support which is almost equivalent to our total export is the home remittances. The estimated home remittances by overseas Pakistani were around $19 billion. Even these extra ordinary sacrifices of the Pakistanis abroad are unable to bridge the deficit gap between our imports and exports.
PAGE: What must be done to increase remittances?
TARIQ MALIK: We appreciate the latest pragmatic initiatives of the present Government of the Prime Minister Mr Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to inaugurate a scheme that would be much helpful in motivating and mobilizing the Pakistanis abroad to remit their hard-earned money through most efficient and secured channels. On 23rd December 2017, I attended the opening ceremony of this scheme which is known as Mobile-Wallet Scheme. The scheme would further facilitate the Pakistanis abroad in swift, convenient and cost effective manner by way of usage of the network of BB agents across Pakistan. It will help to enhance the usage of Mobile-Wallet and creation of digital accounts. The beneficiaries of this scheme will also be able to withdraw cash from auto teller machines, bank branches or branchless agents. They will also be able to make digital payments to settle their utility bill which is much more convenient and would be utilized by the masses.
PAGE: How could we promote small and medium enterprises in Pakistan?
TARIQ MALIK: This is a very pertinent question and requires to be addressed on war-footing basis. I would like to quote the example of Japan and various other emerging economies after the Second World War. Needless to reiterate that it is a proven fact that SMEs are considered to be efficient engine of economy. After the end of the Second World War, the entire economy of Japan was completely destroyed and reportedly not a single building was found to be intact after the end of the war. The Japanese started rehabilitating their economy on micro scale on the multi dimensional areas, which grew and took shape of small scale economy in few years. The size of small economy rapidly developed in various dimensions simultaneously, resultantly jumped into the category of upper small slab. This type of economy naturally attracted and caters to engage large number of labor force, thus addressing the unemployment aspect of the economy. With the sheer hard work, the units of small economy grew to medium size economy and with the process of mergers and acquisitions, the medium units turned into large scale units, thus keeping the cost of doing business well in control and with the increase of production, the cost of doing business relatively became low. This formula should be replicated and adopted in Pakistan.
PAGE: Your views about strengths and weaknesses of the economy of Pakistan:
TARIQ MALIK: The strength of the economy of the country is the youth, which is over 50% of the total population of the country. It is not amiss to record the fact that during the recent visit of Mr Imran Khan, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf at Korangi Association of Trade & Industry, I in my welcome address in the large meeting of the industrialist, businessmen thoroughly enlightened the pathetic and useless education system prevailing in the country which produces large number of graduates and post graduates who are roaming aimlessly in search of jobs with great disappointment. The crux of the issue is the education system should not produce the job seekers but entrepreneurs, who after graduation may establish their businesses on very small scales close to their areas within their tehsils and districts. Initially these individual entrepreneurs may offer two to three jobs in their businesses and with the hard work their small businesses will grow relatively and may be able to provide five to eight jobs in all dimensions across Pakistan and economic revolution will start emerging, which would be the source of poverty elimination and discouraging the population to move from tehsil/district headquarters to the major rural hubs of the country.
The weakness of the economy is in fact the weakness of the political will of the political bosses of the country. No doubt the weaknesses of economy on grounds may be overcome with the firm determination and sheer hard work, coupled with wise allocations of our national resources, strictly on merits, notwithstanding whether or not the political bosses may gain on such smart moves. The political bosses of the governments whether they are in the federal system or running the provincial governments must demonstrate their political will in the supreme interest of the country with absolute focus on economic growth and well-being of the masses. The following weakness should be overcome by the federal and provincial governments:
- Long term economic policy for atleast twenty years with consistency.
- As a long time policy in addition to Basha Dam, Pakistan should build number of large and small dams for storage of water and produce hydro-electric energy being the cheapest source, adding in the national grids for achieving the average low cost of electricity for domestic and industrial use, thus making the industrial a viable proposition.
- It is regrettable to reiterate the fact that over 32 different departments and agencies operate and have close surveillance against the industrial units, operating their units, for export and domestic use.
PAGE: How could Pakistan get rid of trade deficit, current account deficit and ever increasing imports?
TARIQ MALIK: We must learn the lessons from the other successful economies. Let’s talk of India. Since the inception, Indian government strictly imposed barriers, impediments, discouraging the Indians to import the luxuries items from abroad, thus providing the effective umbrella for the local industrialists to grow without the threat of any type of imported goods. As a matter of fact Indians were successful in developing their industrial base at a larger extent. Similarly, Pakistan should impose Regulatory Duty as already imposed by the government on the luxuries items to curtail the import of luxuries & unnecessary goods. This is how we can control our import to a greater extent. Similarly, our government should take the shape of becoming the actual facilitator to the exporters by way of providing energy at a cheaper price, compatible to the neighboring.