INTERVIEW WITH DR. MIRZA IKHTIAR BAIG, CHAIRMAN BAIG GROUP

KHALIL AHMED
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
July 4 - 10, 20
11

Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Federal Advisor on Textiles, Government of Pakistan is a renowned industrialist. He was conferred prestigious civil award Tamgha-i-Imtiaz by the President of Pakistan in recognition of his contribution to the national economy.

Dr Baig is the Chairman of Baig Group, a multinational conglomerate operating in diversified fields in Pakistan, UAE and Morocco for the last 26 years. He has done his Masters in Marketing and Doctorate from USA. He is a businessperson par-excellence represents a rich background of international exposure to the realms of finance and banking.

Dr Baig is the author of books: Sheh Rug- Part I & Part II' on the current national and international economic issues. He nregularly writes economic columns in the newspapers and his expert views are given due importance by the policymakers. He is a diplomat, Honorary Consul General of Republic of Yemen and elected Dean Consular Corps, Sindh Karachi of World Federation of Consuls (FICAC) Brussels, Belgium.

Dr Baig is the Central Leader and Deputy Coordinator, People Business Forum, Pakistan Peoples Party. He is the recipient various awards including of gold medals from the President of Pakistan in recognition of his meritorious services in the field of banking and finance. He is also the proud recipient of FPCCI Special Export Merit Trophy Award from President/Prime Minister of Pakistan for the last 12 consecutive years for high export performance of denim fabric.

Dr. Baig has been nominated by Prime Minister of Pakistan on the Board of Directors, Pakistan Textile City Ltd., Karachi. He is also on Board of FPCCI and Chairman Banking Credit & Finance. He has been awarded prestigious "Certificate of Achievement" by the international renowned magazine, Economist.

Dr. Baig was instrumental for the five years first ever National Textile Policy 2009-14 announced by government to Textile Industry of Pakistan on 12th August 2009 and has been appointed by Finance Minister, member of its Implementation Committee. He has been nominated on the PM constituted Business Persons Council (BPC), a think-tank on national economic policies. He is also the Hon. Secretary General of Make-A-Wish Foundation Pakistan, an NGO which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Dr. Baig has been elected recently Director on Board of World Federation of Consuls (FICAC).

PAGE:  HOW WOULD YOU COMMENT ON THE GDP GROWTH IN 2009-10 AND 2010-11?

DR BAIG: In 2009-10 and 2010-11, our GDP growth remained low. It was 2.4 per cent in 2010-11, which was mainly because of the major sectors like manufacturing, agriculture not performing well due to flood and gas and power load shedding in the country. However, our service sector performed well. The government has to adopt growth led policies to achieve higher GDP growth.

PAGE: WHAT KIND OF EFFORTS ARE REQUIRED FOR BETTER GDP GROWTH IN 2011-12?

DR BAIG: To maintain good national growth, we have to bring down bank lending rates to single digit as with higher lending rates, there is no new investment and industrialization taking place which is also a cause of unemployment and increase in poverty in the country.

PAGE: HOW COULD INFLATIONARY PRESSURES BE EASED?

DR BAIG: Our present inflation is about 14 per cent which is due to excessive government borrowing from the banks which is adding to reserved money/M-2 money supply. Government has to reduce borrowings from banks and to maintain demand and supply mechanism of the essential food items.

PAGE:  WHAT KIND OF EFFORTS ARE REQUIRED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO ACHIEVE THE TARGETED REVENUE TARGET IN 2011-12?

DR BAIG: Government has already identified 700,000 non-registered taxpayers. Government has to broaden our tax net and go for documentation of economy by taxing all income including agriculture, real estate etc.

PAGE: DO YOU THINK REDUCTION IN SUBSIDIES AND REMOVAL OF A FEW TAXES WOULD PUSH UP GDP GROWTH?

DR BAIG: The GDP growth will only be increased by adopting revenue generated policies instead revenue collective policies. Also to ensure consistent supply of energy to the industry, lowering of bank lending rates will lead to new investments and industrialization. We are expecting bumper crops of cotton, rice, wheat, and sugarcane this year and expecting a better GDP growth in agriculture sector in 2011-12.