INTERVIEW WITH DR. NAUMAN IDRIS BUTT, EX-PRESIDENT SIALKOT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY (SCCI)

KHALIL AHMED
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Dec 5 - 11, 20
11

PAGE: TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF.

DR. BUTT: I am a surgeon. I did my FRCS from Dublin, Ireland. I did general surgery practice till 1998. In late 1998, I joined my family's business namely Capital Sports Corporation as a Director. Capital Sports is proud to be in the business of manufacturing and export of quality sports balls for about last four decades. Our customers include world renowned sports brands including Adidas.

PAGE: WHICH OF THE FEATS MAKE SCCI STAND OUT AMONG OTHER LOCAL TRADE ASSOCIATIONS?

DR. BUTT: Sialkot chamber of commerce and industry is one of the most active and vibrant industrial bodies in Pakistan. Sialkot chamber is effectively representing the business community of Sialkot at different forums for addressing the problems being faced by its members. SCCI has successfully handled in the past the following important projects in Sialkot:

1. Establishment of Sialkot Dry Port Trust.
2. Child labor elimination program in soccer ball industry with the help of ILO/IMAC.
3. Construction of roads.
4. Sialkot Air Port

PAGE: WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE ENERGY CRISIS HITTING HARD THE PROVINCIAL ECONOMY?

DR. BUTT: The energy shortage in Punjab has brought severe effects on the industries, mainly small and medium enterprises. SMEs don't have enough resources to arrange in-house energy generation systems. Therefore, as a result, industry closures and unemployment is on its peak in the province and the government has no plans for the improvement.

PAGE: FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS, AGRICULTURE SECTOR IN PUNJAB HAS BEEN UNDERPERFORMING. COTTON PRODUCTION SLID 10 PER CENT, RICE OUTPUTS DROPPED 6.7, AND GRAM AND PULSES DOWN 30 AND 24 PER CENT APIECE. HOW DO YOU SEE THE FALLING TREND?

DR. BUTT: Like industrial sector, the agriculture sector is also going towards decline due to poor government policies. I think provincial and central governments should immediately take short- and long-term steps to boost the agricultural growth.

PAGE: HOW CAN PROVINCIAL SHARE IN EXPORTS BE INCREASED?

DR. BUTT: If government can ensure uninterrupted energy (electricity and gas) supply and better taxation policies for the industry, contribution of Punjab in national exports would be doubled. Currently, following are the major export items from Punjab.

i. Basmati rice.
ii. Textile and made-ups.
iii. Fruits and fruit pulps.
iv. Hosiery and garments.
v. Sports goods and sports wears.
vi. Surgical/dental/veterinary instruments

PAGE: WHAT IS THE FOREIGN INVESTMENT POSITION?

DR. BUTT: Foreign investment has not been coming to establish big industrial units in Punjab during the last few years. Efforts should be made at government as well as private sector levels to bring more foreign investments in the province, which will improve the economic conditions of the province as well as its people.

PAGE: YOUR COMMENTS ON THE PROVINCIAL TAXATION SYSTEM.

DR. BUTT: The provincial taxation system in Punjab, like other provinces, do not help in increasing the industrial growth. This system should be reformed to cater to the needs of the industry in the current global business scenario.