By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Sep 18 - 24, 2000
S.M.Inam, founder president, of SAARC Chamber of
Commerce and Industry is a prominent leader of business community in
Pakistan. He is also the founder president of Pak-Japan Cooperation
Committee, Sindh Anti T.B Association, Sindh Baseball Association, and
Karachi Aero Club, Peacock Academy of Fine Arts and a number of other
Having a multi-dimensional personality, Inam always
remains in news owing to his active involvement in economic
activities, despite having his responsibilities as the Chairman of the
Professional (Pvt.) Ltd. WAME Representative Office Pakistan, he is
the managing director of Pioneer Farms (Pvt.) Ltd. He is also the
manager partner of Pioneer Automobile, Pioneer Automobiles Industries,
Pioneer Friction, Pioneer Farms, Shaffisons and Shaffisons Motors.
Being a prominent business representative, he was
the director of Pakistan-Turkey Business Council, Pakistan single
Country Exhibition in Moscow 1991. He was the leader of Pakistan
Student Delegation World Youth Festival at Vienna 1959. Led Pakistan
trades delegation to Uzbekistan and Russia in 1992. He was the
chairman of a number of standing committees constituted by Federation
of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Inam carries a large number of feathers to his cap,
which include 9 gold medals and a gold cup. He was decorated with gold
medals for serving ailing humanity by Chief Minister NWFP 1964,
another gold medal by governor of Sindh in appreciation of service to
community development, Gold medal for Human Resource Development and
for eradication of TB again by Sindh government in 1974 and 1980
respectively. Another gold by federal government for his social
welfare services in 1984. He was the recipient of a series of gold
medals in 1988, 1992, 1996 and lately in 1998 by different dignitaries
for his services for community and ailing humanity.
Being a seasoned businessman he looks with a
serious concerns over every growing economic problems of the country.
PAGE: What steps your insight suggests
resolving financial and economic problems faced by Pakistan?
INAM: It is unfortunate that we always look
rescheduling as the means for solution of the huge foreign debts.
Headlines appear in newspapers whenever Pakistan succeeds in
rescheduling of the debt payments or gets a fresh loan. As a matter of
fact the rescheduling or grant of fresh loans are adding to our
financial problems instead of resolving the issue. Steps should be
taken for debt retirement instead of rescheduling the repayments.
PAGE: How we can retire our debts in the
face of financial constraints and limited cash flow from external
INAM: Pakistanis living abroad are greatly
concerned with the economic problems faced by the country. It may be a
disclosure to many of us that non-resident Pakistanis living in USA,
UK and Canada have formed three groups and have offered to sell at
least $20 billion to the government of Pakistan. They have also
offered to invest the entire amount they will get against the sale
proceeds of these dollars within Pakistan.
PAGE: In what capacity you are talking on
behalf of those Pakistanis living abroad.
INAM: You may take me as their spokesman as
they have authorized me to go ahead if the government gives a green
signal. These groups however have certain reservations. They are
asking a sovereign guarantee that the funds they invested in Pakistan
is according to economic policies of the government and would not be
nationalized in any case. The invested funds would not be subjected to
any tax unless the areas of investment start showing profitable
results. They are willing to invest that fund even against a mark up
rate of 13 per cent.
PAGE: Have you moved the idea to the
INAM: 'Yes, the idea has already been
floated to the concern'. He however declined to give details of the
PAGE: You are the founder president of SAARC
Chamber of Commerce, how do you see the prospects of economic
cooperation in the region.
INAM: Despite the fact that Pakistan and
India have strained political relations, the common cultural, language
and strategic factors have always been instrumental in a much bigger
border trade between the two countries. Due to the policies of the two
governments the size of the official trade is hardly around 700-800
million dollar. However the informal border trade is running over $2-3
billion every year. Narrating his personal experience of a visit to
India, Inam said Pakistani products informally imported into that
country are available at every shop in major markets of Delhi while
Indian products whether Banarsi Sari, Indian liqueur, beetle-pan
scores of consumer items are available in Pakistan. These are the
harsh realities, which we should accept. This is an avenue where the
economy can get benefits by allowing the formal trade; otherwise the
people engaged in informal trade would continue to take advantage of
the situation at the cost of the economy of the two countries.