CEO'S INTERVIEWTEXTILE CITY - A DREAM PROJECT
ZAHEER HUSSAIN IS DESPERATE TO MAKE IT A REALITY
TARIQ AHMED SAEEDI (email@example.com)
Oct 19 - 25, 2009
Is this the project cost of Rs15 billion or dampened mood of textile companies about expansion that leave question mark over the successful completion of first of its kind in the country Pakistan Textile City, located in the underdeveloped Eastern Industrial Zone at Port Qasim industrial area 6 kilometre from National Highway Karachi, within the timeframe by 2012?
Zaheer A. Hussain, Chief Executive Officer Pakistan Textile City Company Limited admits the existence of weak investment line as well as liquidity constraints in general, but he is hopeful of meeting the deadline, maybe because of his international experience of managing industrial zone in Gulf. There is one stimulant to this question and that is inexplicit curtain raising in this year by premier despite the start of the project development as long as March 2007. Maybe, that was a time buying for unexpectedly slow moving development of an industrial area that is unique because it is said to have space for textile industries only.
"We need to overcome several hurdles in the way of developing modern industrial area with full facilities, defended Zaheer Husain while talking to Page. The basic purpose is to ensure unbreakable and uninterrupted supply to textile companies in the city basic utilities-water, electricity, gas, etc, he said adding, and 'This takes time.'
Installation of 23-km 48 inches diameter external pipeline (from Forebay High Point to textile city) is in progress. The supply by Karachi Water and Sewage Board would be 20 MGD. SSGC has allocated 150 mmscfd gas. Two major projects of effluent treatment plant and captive power plant will be landmark developments in the textile city. This month the company has issued letter of intent on build-operate-own agreement to a Canadian based company Vasti Power. Considering the possible gas shortfall, dual power generation is also an option, according to the CEO. The modular power plant would be installed in phases and first phase would have 68 MW outturn. For establishment of effluent treatment plant with capacity of 18 MGD the company appointed NEC consultants in May 2009. Construction of 50 and 100 meters wide road network is underway. Environment Impact Agency has approved the master plan.
Having authorized capital of Rs2.2 billion, Pakistan Textile City Company is a public-private joint venture company, shares of which are mainly held by government of Pakistan (40 percent), Sindh government (16 percent), Port Qasim Authority (9 percent), and National Bank of Pakistan (8 percent). Private financial institutions hold remaining shares. The response is not measurable but it seems that private partners may go for exit. Local textile companies are operating in the industrial areas in the country and only companies with expansion plan or foreign-based would like to come to the city. In the midst of decline in textile exports, the city would only prove a long-term advantage.
Textile city will strengthen the exporting base of the country. As per an estimate, this will increase textile exports by $2 billion. The company purchased 1250 acres land in eastern zone from PQA to establish state-of-the-art industrial area, dedicated to textile manufacturers and allied industries. Total 277 industrial plots are marked in the city and their size ranges in between 0.5 and 5 acre. According to land utilization plan, 62 percent for industry, 5 percent for amenities, 5.3 for utilities, and 27.7 percent for roads are allocated out of total area of 1250 acres. There will be separate zones for weaving, bedlinen, denim, knitwear, towel, apparel, and dyeing in the city.
"We had meetings with overseas business community as well as foreign investors and they responded positively to the proposal of setting up companies in the city. So far, we have met with investors from China, Turkey, Korea, etc," said Zaheer Hussain.
Pakistan textile city has received propositions from foreign investors and its official team has recently visited an international exposition in China where 'though we have not made business, yet there were some potential leads that would be useful', revealed an attendant of the exposition attended by Pakistan Textile City Company along with Board of Investment (BOI).
The company is searching foreign joint venture project investors with the help of MinTex, BOI, and Port Qasim Association of Trade & Industry. Local textile companies are also taking interest in the industrial lands. Recently, leading local association of textile companies visited the site and welcomed the development of industrial lands, observed Zaheer Hussain.
By the first quarter of 2010, booking of plots would be launched simultaneously for local and international investors, he said. Advertisements in international publications will be used for attracting foreign companies. We have realized that there are liquidity constraints in the market and investors are reluctant to come to invest in new projects, he replied to a question. 'The money is not abundant in the system-banks and private sector. But, we have to bring the industrial city in to operation as early as possible and that is possible if we are not choosy of origin of investments.' Total 150 inquiries have been generated.
When asked if booking was deliberately delayed for getting good price of plots, he rejected this as rumour. Early operation is in benefits of the company as well, because 'we are running out of cash flows and depending on bank loans to meet the financial needs of infrastructure building and administration'. The company received Rs1.3 billion. Of that, it paid one billion rupees to Port Qasim Authority as payment of the land.
Grading and levelling works (95 percent) have been completed. The calculated market value of plot was Rs1 million per acre, but now after grading and levelling this is calculated at Rs7 million per acre. This is just an updated estimate of current market value and we have not yet finalized pricing policy, he clarified. Similarly, finalization of allotment policy and bylaws is in progress. The decision regarding award of Special Economic Zone status to the textile city is expected in 2010. The status would be advantageous for the companies in the city.
ABM REGION AWARD
Wilhelmsen Ships Service (Pvt.) Ltd., formerly known as Barwil Shipping (Pvt) Ltd, has won the Best Office 2009 Award, within the Africa, Middle East, and Black Sea (AMB) region. After crystallizing the achievements of the regional offices, WSS Turkey has been declared as runner-up for 2009 in the AMB region.
Wilhelmsen Ships Service is the worldís largest supplier of maritime services. The Ships Service Award is given each year to the branch office, which exemplifies the industry specific criteria upon which it is based: customer service, efficiency, and new services offered.
Mr. S. G. Ali Ahmed, Managing Director Wilhelmsen Ships Service Pakistan, while receiving the award on behalf of the Pakistan office said, "We appreciate this gesture as a testimonial of our quality products and services in the shipping industry of Pakistan, and therefore, we further intend to facilitate our customers and contribute to the economic growth of Pakistan."
Moreover, Mr. Ahmed added, "In recent months Wilhelmsen Ships Service in Pakistan has made dramatic progress in raising the level of customer service by standardizing our procedures and adopting industry's best practices through use of cutting edge technology and automated systems."
Wilhelmsen Ships Service Pakistan has maintained sound business mark and it believes that empowered employees in an innovative and learning organization are the group's main competitive advantage in meeting the needs and wants of the customers.