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Company Profile

Jun 26 - Jul 02, 2000

Qaiser Ahmed Shaikh, businessman turned politician was elected as the member of the National Assembly from NA-66 Chiniot, in 1997. Qaiser Shaikh, known for his independent approach on political and economic issues maintained his identity at the floor of the house of legislatures by leading a group of independent members of the assembly. He emerged as an outstanding business leader when he was elected as the president of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in 1987-88. Carrying a number of distinctions with his illustrious career as a leader of the business community, Qaiser was elected as the president of Aiwan-e-Tijarat-o-Sanat Hospital Trust in 1998-99. Having exposure on various national and international occasions, he accompanied the President of Pakistan as one of the members of his entourage to Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. He represented Pakistan at the 7th General Assembly and 12th Executive Committee meeting of the Islamic Chambers of Commerce in Cairo. He was one of the Pakistan delegates at the Investment Conference held in Tokyo in 1992 which was attended by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Currently, he is the Chief Executive of Qaiser Brothers (Pvt.) Ltd and a number of other business and industrial projects.

PAGE: How do you see the government's efforts in presenting the recent budget.

QAISER: It is a balanced budget, which has taken special care of the low-income group. The provision of distributing Rs2000/- among the poor families is a positive step besides reduction in income tax burden over the low income group including salaried class and abolition of the Wealth Tax etc are the steps which may produce some positive results. The abolition of Wealth Tax will help capital formation which ultimately bring the hidden wealth into productive channels instead of going to the dead business of real estate, he observed.

PAGE: As a political and business leader what are your concerns about the budget.

QAISER: The CBR related revenue targets i.e. Rs442 billion for the current year is unrealistic and mostly based on assumptions. Citing the example of revenue targets set by India for the current year, Qaiser said that with a population size of around one billion people, India has set a target of Rs1700 billion which comes to Rs1700 per person. As against that in Pakistan we have been given a target of Rs442 billion against a population base of 140 million. That means every person has to pay Rs3000, which seems unreasonable. On the other side keeping in view the stagnant economic growth a 25.9 per cent increase in revenue target i.e. from Rs351 to Rs442 billion is again unrealistic and seems difficult to achieve in the given circumstances. Since the poverty reduction programme in the budget for which Rs21 billion have been allocated looks hard to be achieved as it has been tied up with the realization of the revenue targets.

PAGE: Are you in favour of documentation of the economy?.

QAISER: Certainly I am. Without documentation no business can achieve its height. Since it helps both the taxpayer as well as the economy, it is being practiced elsewhere in the world. Documentation of the economy opens various avenues for the enterprise such as access to the bank for working capital, participation in national projects and also to enter into joint venture projects.

PAGE: Why the business community was opposing the tax survey launched by the government, which is aimed at documentation of the economy?.

QAISER: In fact, the survey was conducted in a crude way, a case of mishandling and lack of home work on the part of agencies responsible for conducting the survey. The march of the survey teams accompanied by men in uniform unleashed a panic among the shopkeepers not used to of such a situation. The departments responsible for tax collection must have completed their home work before conducting the survey. They must have the correct information that who is paying the tax and who is not. They have a complete record of those who are paying the tax. Instead of sending the survey teams, notices should have been issued to those not paying the tax. A sophisticated and scientific method could avert creating a situation such as shutter down protest etc and appearing of headlines in the newspapers.

PAGE: Your suggestions for overcoming the economic crisis in Pakistan.

QAISER: People both in India and Pakistan is the victim of the strained border relations. The non-development expenditures have deprived the people of economic prosperity and growth in the two countries. The bone of contention i.e. Kashmir issue should be resolved at the earliest to save the economy from the burden of non-development expenditures which seems to be key for relief to the common man. He said that 35 million people were living below poverty line in 1980, which reduced to 25 million in 1988. This dropping graph could not be maintained due to ever increasing non-development expenditures and the number of people living below the poverty line will again increase in Pakistan from 25 million in 1988 to 44 million in 2000 reflecting the real economic health of our people, he remarked.