SHAUKAT IQBAL is the
newly elected President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
KCCI is a premier body and enjoys a country wide reputation for
representing the problems of the business community as well as the
economic issues to the government level from this platform. Shaukat
Iqbal is also known industrialist and associated with the KCCI activity
for the past many years and has already worked in various capacities for
the business community.
Shaukat Iqbal is the Chief
Executive of Saba Textile Mills (Pvt.) Ltd and carried a good name in
the business circles.
economic policies of the present government have produced good results
during the last three years. Don't would you think these policies should
continue even after the installation of the new elected government?
Policies which are good and have produced results, I think nobody will
be fool enough to scrap them, however if any policy imposed upon the
country by the IMF or any other international donor agency and does not
serve the cause of the country should be done away with immediately.
The shift in policies with the shift in the government has become a
stigma on Pakistan. Inconsistency in our policies especially economic
policies is one of the main concern of the investors in this country and
that is why the flow of investment from external resources has become
very thin in Pakistan with the exception of the energy sector where some
activity is going on. Would you suggest that the would-be government
allowed to bring changes in the policies introduced by the present
government if these policies are against the liking of the new comers?
By no means I would suggest changes in the policies massively, however
there should be flexibility for modification in the policies in
accordance to the need of the economy and the country as well.
How would you describe the success of the financial policies of the
present government, especially the management of foreign reserves, which
are about to touch the unprecedented height of $9 billion very soon.
Pakistan's financial health has improved remarkably, no doubt, however
there is a concern regarding use of these reserves: You see if these
funds are allowed to drift in the capital market or in the real estate
business it would not add significantly to the productivity level of the
country. These funds should be invested in a way that the wheel of the
industry or manufacturing sector starts moving. If new industrial units
come into operation it would not only help producing the export surplus
but also help creating job opportunities for the people. Hence the
reserves should be used more productively especially in the
manufacturing sector. He said that unemployment is the root cause of law
and order situation in this country. The only way to check law and order
situation effectively is to provide job opportunities to the needy,
provide education at an affordable price to the masses, if the lot of
the masses is not improved, the heaps of money are meaningless. He
reiterated that those policies which good should remain intact but any
policy, which is against the interest of the people, should be done away
Would you like to pin point the areas, which are creating hurdles in the
way of industrialization in the country?
don't want to be specific, however, it is the overall culture or lack of
education, which is hampering growth of the economy at the desired
level. Take the example of infrastructure facilities in Pakistan. It is
in such a repulsive state of affairs that is enough to scare away the
investors. The electricity, which provides the real force for running
the industry, however despite induction of the army in the KESC the
overall situation of the power supply is not appreciable.
Despite Army Monitoring Cell to check power theft,
one can always see the illegal kundas hanging on the transmission lines
of the distribution system in all parts of the city. As a result of
these kundas on one hand KESC loses over 40 per cent of its power
generation while the consumers are facing power fluctuations,
disruptions, failures and breakdowns and even load shedding. If the
situation in KESC could not improve even after induction of the army
than what remains else to put the KESC in smooth working system?
whom you would blame for disruption and corruption in the KESC or other
public sector organizations?
The problems are on both sides. On one hand the consumers are stealing
power through Kundas but on the other hand, these hanging kundas visible
in every street of Karachi are enough to prove that these kundas despite
every hue and cry in the newspapers cannot be allowed without connivance
of the KESC officials.
If 40 per cent power goes in theft the beneficiaries
are not the consumers alone, some share of the booty must be reaching to
the KESC staff also.