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Bashir Miandad

For the record
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Bashir Miandad

By Syed M. Aslam
Dec 13 - 19, 1999

Bashir Miandad is the Central chairman of Pakistan Small Chamber of Commerce and Cottage Industry. He is also the vice chairman of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s standing committee of Social Welfare and Youth Affairs (FPCCI). He is the elder brother of Pakistani cricket legend Javed Miandad and eldest of five sons of late Miandad Noor Muhammad the Secretary of prestigious Sir Abdullah Haroon Muslim Gymkhana Karachi for 26 years.

Eldest of five brothers, Javed being the third, Bashir in his own rights was a seasoned cricket player who played Ayub Trophy in the late 1960s. He is a senior vice chairman of Pakistan Coconut Plantation Society, an organisation which promotes commercial plantation of coconut trees in the coastal belts of Pakistan. He is also the chief patron on a number of organisations including Pakistan Human Rights Association and Pakistan Small Steel Iron Market Association.

PAGE talked to Bashir Miandad. The following are the excerpts.

PAGE: What are the primary objectives of Pakistan Small Chamber of Commerce and Cottage Industry?

Bashir Miandad: As you know the unorganised sector plays an important role in the economy of Pakistan. Unfortunately, despite its importance it has failed to attract the due attention which it deserves from the policy makers. We aim to provide a forum to discuss the various problems faced by the unorganised sector. In addition, the forum provides us an opportunity to highlight these problems so that they get the due attention from the policy makers.

PAGE: You are the senior vice chairman of Pakistan Coconut Plantation Society. What are its primary objectives?

Bashir Miandad: While coconut plantation is not an unknown phenomenon in Pakistan what it does lack is the absence of plantation on commercial lines. While coconut plantation is being encouraged and plants are being imported from Malaysia and Sri Lanka, the bulk of these are used in the residential gardening. We aim to encourage commercial coconut plantation particularly along the coastal areas of Sindh, and also Balochistan, to help reduce the import bill on edible oil from the foreign sources. We have a favourable weather as well as vast areas of land for the purpose and the concept of commercial plantation has yet not taken a root. We aim to promote the need for commercial coconut plantation for the overall benefit of the economy.

PAGE: You are the central chairman of PSCCI, senior vice president (central) of All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran, chairman and participating member of Karachi sports goods market association as well as chief patron of five other organisations. How do you manage to find time for all these activities?

Bashir Miandad: I manage to find time for all my diversified activities. I primarily attribute it to years of association with cricket since my childhood which has inculcated in me a discipline with regard to time. I don’t sleep for over six hours during the night and it is impossible for me to fall asleep during the day. Basically it's the sense of priority which helps me find time for all these self-chosen responsibilities.

PAGE: What are your views on the imposition of the GST on the retail level?

Bashir Miandad: Personally, I feel that GST is a good system as it is the first step towards documenting such as undocumented economy as ours. However, the fact that it requires a certain amount of education which the majority of our traders lack means that it should be imposed in phases. Secondly, it is imperative to abolish the widespread smuggling for a meaningful implementation of the GST as many of the traders and retailers resist it so as not to have their trade documented.

PAGE: Do you have any suggestions?

Bashir Miandad: Yes. The government should altogether abolish the wealth tax to encourage circulation of vast amount of some Rs 150-200 billion which thus far is in circulation in the form of black money without playing any meaningful role in the economy. The government can impose a one-time 3 per cent tax on the declaration of such money with no questions asked for the overall benefit of the economy. Secondly, the government should give a fixed deadline, a three month period would be good, to the traders and retailers to stop trading in smuggled items. Once the grace period is over, it should take a stern action of the illegal trade to show that the menace of smuggling would no longer be tolerated.

PAGE: What else do you suggest?

Bashir Miandad: The important role that the unorganised sector plays in developing countries like Pakistan could hardly be over-emphasised. The banks should be made to provide loans to the small-scale industries and the industries in the organised sector should also be made to agree to buy their raw materials, where available, to give a helping hand to the local small scale industry. The loans do not have to be in the form of cash necessarily but it could be in the form of raw materials as well as the machinery. It is imperative to establish cottage processing zones in the country and the government should also establish trading houses to help the small entreprenuers sell their products.