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Politics & Piolicy 
Information Technology

Oct 09 - 15, 2000

Muhammad Zubair Motiwala, is the newly elected president of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) for 2000-2001. Zubair, a prominent industrialist, has played an outstanding role for strengthening the national economy especially for promoting industrialization in the country. He served the business community in various capacities throughout his illustrious career as one of the leading representatives from the industrial sector. Zubair is the Managing Director of Diamond Textile (Pvt.) Ltd at Site Industrial Area.

In 1996-97, Zubair was elected as the chairman of SITE Association of Industry, which is the largest industrial area of Pakistan. Having special skills and interests in textile processing sector, he carries the honor to be elected as the Chairman of All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (Central) during the same period. Zubair was taken as the member of Prime Minister's Committee on Textile and Exports in 1996. Earlier he was elected as senior vice chairman of SITE Association of Industry and All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association during 1990-92 and 1991-93 respectively. He led Pakistan trade delegations abroad on various occasions. He was the leader of the delegation of APTMA and SITE Association to participate the exhibition at Mumbai, India in 1996. He was the member of Prime Minister's delegation to Malaysia in 1996. He also served the industrial sector as the Chairman of the Council of Karachi Industrial Associations during 1997-98.

PAGE: Karachi has always been the business capital of Pakistan, since the business community has elected you as the leader of KCCI, the premier representative body of the city, how do you see the current economic situation especially in this metropolis.

ZUBAIR: The latest shocks received by the trade in particular and citizens in general are the imposition of "load-shedding being resorted by the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation. The KCCI chief demanded of the government that the load-shedding must immediately be stopped in order to avert further losses being sustained by industry, trade and the nation. Expressing his concern over what he called the harsh step of load-shedding, he observed that the current load-shedding would cause colossal losses to industry in particular and trade in general. A 2-hour load-shedding in industrial area means a loss of million of rupees to the national exchequer and denial of man-hour utilization in industries.

PAGE: Would you like to elaborate the colossal losses as the sequel to the current load-shedding?

ZUBAIR: The 2-hour load-shedding will diminish the pace of production, causing problems to exports to honor their export commitments. Contrary to the reported objective of load-shedding that KESC would save Rs40 million by resorting load-shedding for two hours, it is the country that would lose millions of rupees by holding back the wheels of industry which ultimately arrest the growth of exports resulting loss of revenue to the exchequer. At a time when the national economy has been experiencing serious recessionary spell, and the government was making efforts for the revival of economy, the un-interrupted supply of power was the need of the hour for smooth function of the industry. He expressed fears that such kind of load-shedding and frequent breakdown in electricity may consequently lead to law and order problems due to manifestation of frustration of the people on account of short supply of goods and unemployment.

PAGE: It is believed that KESC was forced to go for load-shedding because it was suffering a massive loss of Rs2.5 billion per month on account of power theft on one hand and purchasing fuel oil at exorbitant price for power generation one the other hand.

ZUBAIR: Generally speaking, KESC's monthly receivable on account of billing are around Rs3 billion a month while it is losing Rs2.5 billion on account of theft. It looks amazing that instead of improving its billing system by normalizing the line losses (including theft) it is punishing the genuine consumers by increasing the tariff, load-shedding and other punitive steps. Those who are not paying Rs2.5 billion to the KESC laughing at the consumers who regularly pay their bills. It is the responsibility of the KESC to deal the elements whether within ranks and files of the KESC helping the power theft on such a massive scale or the illegal consumers with an iron hand to bring normalcy in the power sector. It is an open secret oil and electricity runs the industry, if such an important sector collapses to run normally how can you expect from other sectors to perform normally and help the government efforts to bring economic revolution in this country.

PAGE: There is an ambition that the export sector may hit the landmark of exports of $10 billion at the end of the current fiscal. What is your assessment?

ZUBAIR: Pakistan has of course the potentials not only to hit the target of $10 billion but go far ahead to this target. However, there are many "Ifs" and "Buts" to make the dreams true. It requires availability of basic infrastructure and un-interrupted utilities, simplification of all complexities in tax regime and a sense of good governance. All sorts of fears and panic, which are stalling the economic activities, have to be called off immediately to bring back the economy on the path of glory and prosperity.