GROOMING TALENTS TO ADDRESS CHALLENGES
Jan 16 - 22, 2012
Pakistan is faced with numerous internal and external challenges and nurturing and grooming of its human talent is one of the ways of coping with them.
This observation was made by Hussain Dawood, Chairman of the Karachi School for Business and Leadership (KSBL) at a meeting held at the British Deputy High Commission in Karachi.
Mr. Hussain said that the best way to groom and nurture human resource is by establishing centers of excellence for applied education and training. KSBL is one such example, being established in collaboration with the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, offering world-class education in leadership and business with a focus on ethics and social responsibility.
Lord Green, UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment currently visiting Pakistan was the main speaker on the occasion. While elaborating the role of education in the UK and Pakistan's trade relationship, he said that UK exports in goods to Pakistan have shown double-digit growth over the last year while Pakistan's exports to the UK rose by 17 per cent in the months from January to October, with particularly strong growth in textiles.
Speaking about the importance of education, Lord Green said that one of the most important areas where we can work together to ensure future prosperity in education. It is an area in which the UK and Pakistan are already jointly engaged and where, in a country with 33 million students, there is huge potential.
"There are more people studying for O and A levels in Pakistan - some 170,000 of them - than anywhere else outside of the UK. We have 30,000 students from Pakistan in the UK, and graduates of UK universities are the backbone of many businesses here in Pakistan," he said.
The many thousands of Pakistani students who sit the ACCA and CIMA accounting qualifications can help to drive up trade and investment between our countries.
"And Prime Minister David Cameron was able to announce £650 million for education in Pakistan during his visit last year. These UK funds will help to get more than four million children into school, help recruit and train ninety thousand teachers, and provide six million sets of text books," he added.
Lord Green highlighted the strategic partnership between the Karachi School for Business & Leadership with the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge.
UK Cabinet Minister Baroness Warsi, who is accompanying Lord Green on his first visit to Pakistan as Trade Minister, also attended the event, alongside Hussain Dawood. Other guests attending the event were members of Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry and members of Pakistan Business Council.
Lord Green, while discussing the market access issue for Pakistan exports, said that UK is the strongest advocate for market access for Pakistani products and the European Parliament's draft report has welcomed the extension of GSP Plus to Pakistan.
The UK is the top destination in Europe for exports from Pakistan. It is also the largest European investor in Pakistan. Of the international businesses operating here, one in six is British and the UK is Pakistan's strongest advocate for market access to the EU, the UK minister said.
He said, "We strongly support the European Commission's proposal to extend GSP Plus eligibility to Pakistan. Negotiations are ongoing and we are pleased that the European Parliament's draft report has welcomed the extension of GSP Plus. There is further potential for developing bilateral trade as UK consumers become more aware of what Pakistan has to offer.
The current economic recession in US and EU visibly reflected in the dropped textile exports, which should be taken as a wakeup call for the policymakers in Pakistan and instead of putting their energy for seeking market access in European markets, they should focus on finding new markets in the Eastern region.
As far as importance of GSP plus is concerned in the backdrop of economic turmoil in the Western market, it may be noted that granting of GSP Plus facility to Pakistan is an ongoing process which would take its time till 2014 and not next month. The government is currently doing its best to win a case for Pakistan for the proposed EU trade concessions and Pakistan's bid for GSP Plus facility in 2014.
In this connection, Atiq Kochra Zonal Chairman Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), has urged the government and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan to make strenuous efforts to find new markets for textile sector as Pakistan's traditional markets i.e. USA and EU are facing recession and the exports to these markets are gradually decreasing.
"The global economy is once again going through a crisis and as a result, Pakistan's exports are also taking a hit because USA and the EU are its largest trading partners," said Atiq adding that it can be expected that these economies will remain in recession in the short to medium term and Pakistan urgently needs to diversity its export destinations in order to minimize the effects of recession in the west. While demand is expected to go down considerably, it is also expected that protectionist policies will be implemented by various countries to protect their local industry.
Although, Pakistan has an free trade agreement (FTA) with China but exports to the country of woven and knit garments still have an average import duty rates ranging from 8-14 per cent. PRGMEA has already requested the government to bring Pakistan's garment exports under duty-free regime with China.
He suggested that value-added garment products should be given preference when negotiating FTA's or PTA's (preferential trade agreement) especially with larger economies because. It would bolster our export earnings by a larger multiple due to value addition and bring more jobs to the people as garment manufacturing is very labor intensive.
Similarly, by giving other countries access to Pakistan's garment market would not hurt the local garment industry, simply because import market of garments is very small and majority of Pakistanis do not wear western clothing.