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Information Technology  THE NEW ECONOMIC



June 03 - 09, 2002

Rehan Qaiser, is the Director of Qaiser-Noman Bernas (Pvt.) Limited, a joint venture between Pakistan and Malaysia in the rice business. The project is one of the most modern plants imported from Germany for milling, polishing and packaging of quality rice. Qaiser-Noman Bernas is one of the leading rice exporting company and has won the best exporters' award of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI).

Currently, Rehan is about to complete his higher education at Bradley University of Peoria at Illinois in America. Soon after completion of his education, Rehan desires to exploit the export potentials in Pakistan. Currently, Rehan has come home to enjoy summer vacations.

PAGE: what is your future plans after completion of your education. Would you come back to run your business or stay back at the United States like other young Pakistanis who prefer to prolong their stay in the United States?

REHAN: Generally speaking, young Pakistanis or for that matter other Asians like to stay in the United States or other developed countries because of the available opportunities in those countries. One of the major reasons for brain drain from Pakistan is the lack of openings for the educated youth. You cannot blame them for staying away unless proper job opportunities are offered to them if not equal to those available in the developed countries. Besides the economic factors, it is quite human to live respectfully in a congenial and in a better environment. Everybody knows that how hatefully even a foot constable treats our youngsters. Rampant corruption in the working system, highhandedness of the government officials and ill working system altogether present a repulsive look of the atmosphere. We have to put things in order to retain the skilled manpower within the country. You will have to provide attractive incentives and level playing field to educated youth and skilled manpower within the country.

PAGE: Do you feel any change in approach of Pakistanis living abroad after the events of September 11?

REHAN: There is no visible change in the attitude of the Americans towards Pakistanis in particular after the terrorist attacks of September 11 except a few exceptions. However, with the growing border tension between India and Pakistan the behaviour of the Indians towards Pakistanis has been changed altogether. It is however interesting to note that the change in behaviour is not on the basis of nationalities but in most of the cases on account of religion. Hate for the Muslims are easily noticeable in the eyes of Hindus living abroad.

PAGE: What is your future plans after completing your studies in America?

REHAN: Earning money obviously is not my consideration in that country. The first priority is to get higher education, have international exposure, which helps gain knowledge and wisdom. As soon as I got through my education, I would involve in my business.

PAGE: What would you suggest to enlarge the scope of business from Pakistan to the developed world?

REHAN: It has become a cliché that Pakistan has enormous resources. However we have to go a long way to take advantage of these resources. Initially, we have to focus on the following strategy to promote export from Pakistan:

The international buyer is rapidly becoming choosy and getting conscious of the quality products. Hence all attention is needed to improve the quality of our products and the second most important thing is to go into value addition and branded products with a label of Made-in Pakistan. Once a company succeeds in popularizing the product under a brand name its value goes double or even more in terms of money. Pakistan has a number of products, which has the potential to carve its place as a branded product in the international market. The target requires aggressive marketing and publicity campaign to achieve the desired goals. For the effective marketing and publicity campaign you will need to hire world class promoters. Initially it costs a hell of a money, yet it pays back substantially in the long run. It is the known theory that if your business is in bad shape you need publicity to get out the crisis and if your business is good and running at top speed again you need that publicity to retain that position.

PAGE: Did your company apply this theory to reach the present position of top exporters of rice in Pakistan.

REHAN: Innovation in business is always required to avoid the stalemate. Qaiser-Noman Bernas besides exporting top quality rice in bulk has completed the groundwork for launching its branded basmati rice under the name of "Mehman" abroad as well as within the country. We are producing world class quality rice and we are positive to outclass our competitors by the quality, taste and aroma of basmati rice in the world market. Our company has explored a large market for our products in Africa and we are also trying to expand the marketing efforts in untapped markets besides meeting the requirement of the existing market all around the world.