June 28 - July 04, 2004






despite being a leading industrialist and exporter by profession, is more popular as a leader among the trade and business circles all over the country. Manzar Alam, who is running his business as the Chief Executive of Pearl Fabrics Corporation, which is one of the best manufacturers and exporters of Terry Products from Pakistan, carved a respectable place for himself in the business circles for his selfless and untiring services for the cause of business community. After completion of his Masters from the University of Karachi, Manzar Alam joined his father's business as the manager partner of M/s. Pearl Fabrics Company. He was twice elected as the Chairman of Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) first in 1993-95 and secondly for the tenure of 1999-2001. His career as a business leader studded with various prestigious positions in the leading trade bodies of the country. He was senior vice chairman of Korangi association in 1992-93, member, Karachi University students Council 1977, Chairman Octroi and Local bodies committee KCCI, Chairman of Pak-Bahrain trade and Industry Standing Committee and Chairman Standing Committee on Communications of the FPCCI. He carries the distinction of winning the Best Performance Award of the FPCCI given by the President of Pakistan to his professional credit. His personal shelf is decorated with a number of Gold Medal Awards from various trade organizations including KATI, FPCCI, Pakistan and silk Rayon Mills association, Faran Club International and number of other distinctions especially for his services for the cause of human welfare and his efforts for economic growth of the country. At present he is the Chairman, Advisory Board, KATI, Director at the Board of Industrial Development Bank, Member, Credit Advisory Committee SBP and scores of other offices in different organizations.

PAGE: The business community has described the recently announced budget 2004-05 as business friendly, how do you see the budget. Is it really business friendly? Or the statements being issued from business community are just to appease the finance minister.

MANZAR ALAM: To tell you the truth, the business community cannot afford to appreciate a wrong economic decision on any consideration if their business is at the stake. There are several examples that the business community has opposed by tooth and nail whenever the government announced a policy, which was against the interest of the economic growth of the country.

The current budget presented by the finance Minister Shaukat Aziz was actually commendable because of the bold steps initiated for generating economic activity in this country. Just take the example of zero rating of the ginned cotton by abolishing the 15 percent GST on the ginned cotton. This is one step, which would go a long way to promote, export as well as the local textile industry. These steps would save from uncalled for claims for refunds, government's administrative cost and enhance the liquidity position of the textile sector. Hopefully this initiative would payback handsomely and may bring additional 1-2 billion dollars to our total exports of the textile products. The incentives given to the agriculture sector, flat rate of GST, reducing the domain of the central excise duty etc are the measures which would ultimately produce positive results especially in bringing investment in the manufacturing sector.



PAGE: Electricity is essentially a driving force for the economic growth in any country. Are you satisfied with the reduction of 58 paisa per unit for industrial consumers announced in the budget?

MANZAR ALAM: As you said that the electricity has assumed the role of a basic raw material for a large number of manufacturing sectors, the availability of the uninterrupted supply at an affordable price would help winning half of the battle for the trade and industry. The quality as well as the price of electricity is on the higher side especially because of the government levies on power consumptions. In today's world, only those economies can survive which have either gone on the economy of the scale or shifting towards that status. The key to produce quality products at the competitive prices lies in the large scale manufacturing of the goods. For shifting of industrial sector from the current status to the economy of the scale to produce the export surplus at competitive prices, we have to make drastic cut in electricity prices. As the higher electricity prices have multi-dimensional effects on general prices, which also adversely affect the standard of living of the working class, which is the backbone of the economy. Hence, the economic managers have to ponder upon the issue more seriously if they are really serious to attain economic prosperity for this country. The electricity prices in China, Korea, Taiwan and other emerging economies, which have gone on the economy of the scale, can be the best example before the decision makers in Pakistan.