INTERVIEW WITH CHAUDHRY QAISER MEHMOOD, MANAGING DIRECTOR KASB DEVELOPERS (PVT.) LTD.

KHALIL AHMED
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

July 2 - 8, 20
12

PAGE: TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR COMPANY.

MEHMOOD: After my graduation from University of Karachi, I have had the privilege of having attended special classes in real estate management development, building management and housing, planning and building to earn various postgraduate certificates and diplomas in my chosen field of construction. I now have more than 30 years of practical both national as well as international experience in construction, land development, and real estate. I am at present the managing director of KASB Developers, which is a leading real estate development company that has various residential as well commercial high-rise mega projects to its success. Coincidently, KASB Developers is a part of the famed KASB Group of Companies, and thus represents a brand name that is highly respected in Pakistan and abroad because of the "commitment towards trust" that over the years the group has earned.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON CURRENT SITUATION OF CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT SECTOR IN PAKISTAN.

MEHMOOD: Construction is one of the most important service sectors in Pakistan, where there is tremendous potential because not only in the urban areas, but also in the rural areas of the country, there is a major shortage of residential as well as commercial infrastructure. Pakistan can capitalize very successfully on abundant and cheap manpower it has, which includes about 84,000 engineers, 22,000 licensed constructors, and 1000 registered service providers on the technical side.

PAGE: YOUR COMMENTS ON THE DIFFICULTIES BEING FACED BY THE SECTOR.

MEHMOOD: Unfortunately, because of the financial instability that Pakistan has experienced during the last 15 to 20 years, this vitally important industry has been negatively affected and its total GDP share has come down to 2.4 per cent from 4.2 per cent. Pakistani government needs to introduce construction friendly policies, which are required with urgency because all the necessary ingredients are already in place to meet the "demand-and-supply" requirements to boost the construction business in Pakistan and in the process also boost the national economy.

PAGE: COULD YOU GIVE YOUR INPUT ABOUT THE IMPACT OF ECONOMIC PROBLEMS ON THE SECTOR?

MEHMOOD: Financial instability has also made it difficult for local constructors to be involved with independent and government development and construction projects. Unfortunately, Pakistani constructors are also not able to compete successfully with international competitors for mega projects at the national as well as international levels.

Without proper support from the private or government sector, Pakistani construction companies also face difficulties in overcoming the binding rules and regulations of WTO for participating in international projects.

Therefore, a very aggressive approach must be adopted at every level by the decision makers to overcome all the difficulties in this sector so that the potential and benefits that can be generated through the construction sector can help create better opportunities for betterment of the economy of the country.

Residential, commercial and infrastructure building has since the beginning of time, always been a continuously and never ending process. Therefore, the slowdown that we has been experienced in the last two decades will have to be eventually overcome through a more concerted effort. So, it is just a question of time for the new phase of construction to start in Pakistan, which will definitely raise the level of development and construction to new heights if not in the very near future than latest before the end of this decade.

PAGE: HOW COULD PAKISTAN'S CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT SECTOR ATTRACT FOREIGN INVESTMENT?

MEHMOOD: Since the housing and construction development sector is linked to 35 to 40 different types of support industries, and as already there is shortage of 5.5 million housing units in Pakistan and annual shortfalls rising by 270,000 housing units, the government will have to take appropriate measures to vigorously reactivate the construction industry through which not only the local market and investors will benefit, but also prove to be a very lucrative investment haven for foreign investors, for which foreign investor friendly policies must urgently be formulated towards which our present government seems to taking necessary action.