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POF invites private sector for investment

Defence products to broaden Pakistan's export base

Jan 29 - Feb 04, 2001

Opening the doors for private sector and placing the high quality weapons for marketing abroad seems to be a brilliant idea on the part of Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) which is taking initiatives for broadening the export base of the country.

Working on these lines, Lt. Gen. Abdul Qayyum, Chairman of the POF Board visited the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) where he highlighted the production standards being maintained by the POF to produce quality products which gave a sense of pride to the audience regarding the achievements of the country.

During the course of demonstration, the POF chief also agreed to support the private sector for manufacturing of the textile machinery and parts within Pakistan. Despite having a strong textile base contributing over 65 per cent of the total exports of the country, the textile industry has to rely on imported textile machinery and accessories, which is a drain on the economy. The POF chief has extended spontaneous support for to support the textile sector in this respect. He also invited the private sector to come forward and identify the areas which the two sides can put together the skill and efforts for mutual benefits.

He disclosed that POF is already engaged in export business and supply defence goods at least 8-10 countries under the strict compliance to the rules set by the UN for the exports of these items. Since the UN is considering allowing certain relaxations to Libya, Pakistan may try to explore that market.

Speaking on the occasion, Zubair Motiwala, President of KCCI said that Pakistan is the sixth largest importer of defence equipments and in the context of current geo-political perspective, the country's defence requirements are not likely to be diminished. The only course, therefore, open to Pakistan is to indigenization of defence products as much as possible and thus to minimize dependence on imports for armaments. This could be possible only through the joint and collective efforts both of the public and private sectors. The induction of the private enterprise in the defence production in a big way would not only pave the way for achieving self sufficiency in defence production, but would also contribute to the promotion of engineering industry and transfer of technology. Hence the private sector should not only confine to act as vendor or sub-contractors but they should also develop integrated industrial units of different items for defence.

Islamic countries invited to benefit from Pak defence potentials. POF has invited the business community of Islamic countries to join and utilize the surplus capacities of POF for manufacturing defence equipments.

The offer was raised by Chairman POF Board Lt. Gen. Abdul Qayyum while discussing on the subject with Aqeel Al-Jassem Secretary General of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry during his visit when he visited the chamber headquarters at Karachi.

Gen. Qayyum also visited the Islamic Chamber as part of the programme of the public sector to invite the business community to get involved in the production of defence items in technical collaboration with POF.

He informed that Pakistan is self-sufficient in defence related industry and is keen to enhance its interaction with the Muslim countries. He said in addition to the production of defence equipment, the POF has its own technical training institute, which can provide training facilities to OIC countries.

Gen. Qayyum called upon the private sector of OIC countries to undertake joint ventures with POF in manufacturing conventional weapons and ammunition.

Secretary General of Islamic Chamber Aqeel Al-Jassem while responding positively observed that the area of promotion defence related items was a totally new concept for Islamic Chamber. He however showed great interest and reiterated the need to further strengthening public-private sector cooperation. He assured his full cooperation in assisting the POF to explore the Islamic countries markets with the objectives eventually to strengthen the Islamic Ummah. He invited the POF to attend the forthcoming D-8 business forum to be held in Cairo on Feb 22-23. This would provide an opportunity to POF to display and market its products to the members of D-8 countries.

POF is also planning to establish yet another factory to produce shot guns of international standards. In effect, POF aims to establish the shotgun factory to engage the youth of tribal area of Durra and adjoining areas to generate economic activities in a regularized manner. This proposed project would utilize their skills that have been engaged in the business of arms making without the assistance of sophisticated machinery since long. The plan is to polish their skill on sound technical terms. The factory would either be located at Wah or Peshawar or at any other suitable place. Currently, the plan is in its feasibility stage while it has been decided that the gun would be pump action type, which is the most popular among the people.

At present this type of guns are imported into country. The proposed factory besides meeting the local needs would also be put for export to earn foreign exchange.