Contributing significantly for economic growth of Pakistan


Dec 29 - Jan 04, 2003




The beverage industry in Pakistan, which is basically a job-oriented industry, besides providing employment opportunities to the people at a massive scale, contributes over Rs5 billion to the government revenues annually.

Coca-Cola, which enjoys a household name amidst the food and beverage sector of the country, alone contributes over Rs2 billion in the form of different taxes levied on the beverage industry besides creating economic activity in the allied industries like glass and plastic bottles manufacturing, crowns, stickers, cooling equipments besides logistics for the market network all over the country.

These observations were made by the senior officials of the Coca-Cola Group including Afzal Malik, Director Communications and Public Affairs for Central Europe, Eurasia and Middle East Group, A.Gurtay Kipcak, Director Communication and Public Affairs for Eurasia and Middle East Division, and Rizwan U. Khan, Manager Communications and Public Affairs, Pakistan.

Coca-Cola, which is actively engaged in its business operations for the last 50 years in this country, is sincerely committed to the economic growth of the country, they said and added that out of nine plants in Pakistan, seven are run by Coca-Cola Group itself except two which have been franchised to the local companies. The 7 plants operated by Coca-Cola itself are located in Karachi, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Rahimyarkhan, Multan and Lahore besides a massive sales and marketing network all over the country.

Replying to a question, they said that the marketing strategy both for urban and rural areas is given equal importance which responds encouraging results especially from the rural and remote parts of the country.

As far as the role of Coca-Cola towards government's efforts for economic revival of the country, it has brought investment worth $130 million in recent years, which has carved a prominent position for the company as one of the largest direct foreign investors in Pakistan, they observed.

Currently, the beverage industry is facing problems on account of uneven playing field which discriminates this vibrant economic sector from other economic areas of the country. Citing the example, they said that this industry has to pay taxes in for the form of Central Excise Duty at the raw material stage as well as the finished products. They said if this sector provided relief from this double taxation, we are committed to invest 100 percent of the saved money to give a push to economic activity in Pakistan.



Despite rapid growth of beverage industry in Pakistan, which places this country as the second largest out of 23 countries of the region, the market has still a great appetite to growth provided the prices of the soft drinks were matching to the purchasing power of the consumers. According to a survey, the average consumption of soft drinks is estimated at 20 bottles per person per year in Pakistan as compared to 110 bottles per person in the developed world.

In fact this industry has a great potential for growth as well as creating employment opportunities at a larger scale provided this industry is treated at par with the rest of the economic areas. To substantiate their point of view, they said currently, Coca-Cola spends over Rs600 million per annum on purchases from allied industries, incurs over Rs500 million as annual capital, advertising and trade expenditures. This company provides direct jobs to over 6,000 of which 1,800 permanent, 2,500 temporary, 6,000 indirect distributions, over 51,000 indirect jobs through multiplier effects of its over all business operations.

Replying to another question regarding market share enjoyed by Coca-Cola in Pakistan, they said that it's a known fact that Coca-Cola had enjoyed number one position in Pakistan for decades, however, at present it may be placed at number two player in the market, yet we have not given up and in the constant process of regaining its top position in the market within next three years.

Rizwan U. Khan while highlighting the social services of his companies said that besides its commercial interests, Coca-Cola fully aware of its social responsibilities and seriously takes care of the community welfare in Pakistan. In this respect, Coca-Cola contributed Rs2.5 million for the Drought Relief Fund to help and save lives of affected people. It was among the first companies in Pakistan to participate in Lahore's renovation program and its contribution has helped restore a beautiful landmark and a National Heritage site in Lahore that is Dayal Singh Mansion.

Rizwan said Coca-Cola adopted five government schools in Gujranwala and Rahimyarkhan and constructed 28 class rooms and 15 washrooms these educational centers. Coca-Cola did not lag in the urban areas as well and sponsored major arts and culture festivals like Caravan Karachi Festival in September 2001.

Coca-Cola is committed to its social and as well economic responsibility and will continue to play actively for the good of the community, they assured.