Mirza Ikhtiar Baig
Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, is Chief Executive Officer of Baig Group of
Industries, a multinational conglomerate engaged in diversified
industrial and commercial activities such as spinning, denim textile
manufacturing, leasing & financial services, digital imaging,
precision engineering and electronic media, operating in Pakistan, UAE
and Morocco. Dr Baig did his bachelors and masters from DJ Science
College and Karachi University and MBA in corporate finance and
marketing from USA, and Doctorate in Business Administration from the
American University of Hawaii. Dr. Baig's par-excellence a rich
background of international exposure to the realms of finance and
As a high profile
industrialist in Pakistan and abroad, he has rendered invaluable
contribution in the attracting foreign investment and in revival of
sick industries in Pakistan. In recognition of his intrinsic worth, he
was conferred prestigious award by no less than the Prime Minister and
the President of Pakistan. He is a life member and Chairman of Banking
Credit and Finance of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce
& Industry (FPCCI), the apex body of trade and industry of
Pakistan and also recently elected as senior Vice Chairman of SITE
Association of Trade and Industry, the largest and the oldest trade
and industry association in Pakistan. As he never sets any limit to
his involvements, he also takes part in various associations as under;
Member, Sindh Privatization Commission; Member, Steering Committee on
Investment; Member, Credit Advisory Committee, State Bank of Pakistan.
And Vice Chairman, Pakistan Denim Manufacturing and Exporters
Dr Baig is an eminent
economist and regularly writes articles on current economic issues in
dailies of Pakistan. His proposals and recommendations on investment,
industrialization, exports and other national economic issues in media
have been "Shah Rug' a book he wrote on the current national and
international economic issues, launched by the Prime Minister of
Pakistan Shaukat Aziz. The book has received a tremendous response.
SITE Association of Industry, the largest
industrial zone of Pakistan with more than 2,520 industrial units, has
signed 'Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with the counterpart trade
bodies of India, Poland and Bangladesh early this month.
Besides signing MoUs, more major steps were also in
the pipeline aimed at promoting Pakistani products in international
market, said Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Beg, newly elected chairman of SITE
Association of Industry, who carries various distinctions to his
credit as an economist, industrialist as well as having knack in
The MoUs signed with India are more significant in
the light of changing economic scenario in the backdrop of WTO
challenges. The MoUs are expected to increase bilateral trade among
the signatories apart from streamlining exchange of trade information.
The salient features of the MoUs include both the organizations
keeping in view the time-tested, pragmatic and advantageous
relationship of both the countries desire to further cement the ties
by renewing friendly and cordial relations through an increased
cooperation mode among the industrialists, businessmen and
entrepreneurs of the two countries.
Provided, the two organizations agreed that there
should be a growth in interaction between them and that this accord
should be mutually favorable to both the organizations. Whereas the
two organizations agreed that it is imperative that there be
dissemination of information that could lead to further increase in
trade between members of the two organizations. Two organizations
agreed that efforts be made to establish joint ventures, provide
technical expertise and arrange visits by members of the two
organizations. The MoUs intended to be a trailblazer and acknowledges
the importance of mutual and beneficial trade, cooperation and
relationship between the members of the both organizations.
"The Sindh Industrial Trade Estate (SITE)
spread over 4,700 acres of land generates 40 percent revenue of the
total revenue of Pakistan which is currently facing multiple crisis.
The sudden increase in the POL, gas, and electricity has virtually
disturbed all the priorities," said Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig.
He said that the recent increase in prices
including electricity, gas and POL products has virtually given a
serious jolt to otherwise growing national economy.
In fact this has created a sense of uncertainty as
under the prevailing unpredictable situation it has rendered the
industrial consumers in a state where "we don't know what would
happen tomorrow". The immediate concern of the industrial sector
is that serious steps should be taken for change in the Oil Companies
Advisory Committee (OCAC) pricing mechanism which reviews price level
every fortnight. This period is too short and needed to be enlarged at
least over one year or six months for price revision. This would help
us for forward trading contract and future planning.
Apart from a jolt by the tariff increase, the on
going load shedding by the KESC was another major issue for the
industrial units. The transmission and distribution system of the KESC
is so poor that more than 366 industries trip down in one stroke for
two to three hours almost every day, this load shedding spell was
started in November, 2004 and unfortunately continues to persists. For
the last few years, KESC has been working under the supervision of
army personnel yet there is no visible improvement in the operational
results of the utility corporation as the chronic problem of load
shedding continues to exist; the consumers are usually given mere
assurances and promises. In fact, the poor infrastructure was in its
worst condition and unable to sustain the load pressures. Under the
prevailing situation there is no option but to fully support the
privatization of KESC with the hopes of getting things improved.
The SITE Chairman alleged that City District
Government Karachi has also neglected the industrial area and without
any reason consequently doing no justice with more than 500,000
employees earned their bread and butter from this industrial zone.
There were environmental problems posing serious
threat to the entire SITE area. Conceding that SITE's external look
does not correspond with the factories inside look, the SITE Chairman
revealed that process of beautification of the outer look of the SITE
industrial area was on top of the agenda. However, the indifferent
attitude of the city government towards infrastructural improvement in
SITE Industrial has seriously hit this important economic zone. Though
industrial representatives succeeded in restoration of 8-MGD supply of
water to SITE Area, however, the KW&SB authorities failed to
maintain the supply of agreed amount of water to SITE area due to
public pressure and negative attitude of the City Government.
"Our efforts for augmentation and procurement of water even for
export-oriented industries especially the textile units proved futile
despite hue and cry raised by the industrial consumers."
Explaining the current situation pertaining to
environment and improvement of water supply, he observed that there
were three projects identified as (i)
Up-gradation of existing Sub-Soil Water Scheme; (ii)
Domestic Effluent Treatment Plant at TP-I (Gutter Baghicha) and (iii)
Combined Effluent Treatment Plant at TP-III (Hawksbay) which is lying
incomplete due to apathy of the CDGK.
In the face of the free global trade realities, the
SITE Association has decided to utilize the powerful and the accepted
clout of SITE Association of Industry to bring in the economic
prosperity for the people of Pakistan.
The SITE Association has started forming a
think-tank comprised of its members, leading economists and other
concerned personalities to recommend initiatives on national
industrial policy, federal trade policy, federal/provincial budgets,
DTRE, etc., for constructive consideration by the government.
Talking about future plans of the SITE Association,
Dr Ikhtiar Baig said Pakistan is poised to be an active player in the
WTO regime. The textile sector would continue to be the mainstay of
the economy and the backbone of the export sector. The time has come
when we must ensure international exposure of textile products, which
contributes over 67 percent to our total exports, generates 40 percent
of our total employment and nearly 10 percent of the GDP.
In order to compete on our terms in the export
world and to expand our declared niche, we have to struggle for
building up our physical infrastructure on a fast track. Our power
rates are backbreaking and there is always this Damocles Sword of
power outages and load shedding on us, he said. Water is a scarce
commodity for our area. We have to be ever ready with baited breath
for another increase in gas prices. Oil prices are again susceptible
to international markets and policies of oil companies. At the same
time, effluent treatment plants are brightly depicted in feasibility
reports but in actuality these are just pipe dreams. NEPRA, OGRA, OCAC
and their ilk have assumed demonic powers on our industries.
Therefore, it is imperative that we forcefully take on the issue of
infrastructure with the top governmental hierarchy so that we are
functionally armored to combat the tough international competition of
He said he is contemplating modalities of setting
in motion the programme to undertake foreign tours for delegations of
SITE industrialists to market their products — for promoting their
goods — and for attracting investment in this area. The association
prevailed upon the EPB, BOI and even the Prime Minister's secretariat
to involve the association in this sphere. He said he intend to
increase the interaction with the diplomatic community and the
international agencies. This helps us in projecting our point of view
in a favorable environment and enables us to assist members in trade
inquiries, consular services, and information dissemination. The
second macro objective is to take advantage of the clout of the
association and its senior members and to transform this edge into
attaining the desired objectives. We have to strive for maximum
representation of SITE Association of Industry on all essential
forums. The Association directly represents on the board of directors
of KESC and SITE Limited and indirectly on the boards of EOBI, SESSI,
KPT, and a host of other committees and agencies.
He said he would now take up strongly the case for
direct representation on KW&SB, SSGC, and PTCL and in city and
province boards. He said he will lobby to get the Sindh privatization
commission, the provincial committee on investment and other such
organizations that are now lifeless or inactive rejuvenated and
working pragmatically for the cause of industry.
Baig said smuggling, under-invoicing, and wrong
declaration of imported goods are eating away the base of Pakistan's
industry. President Pervez Musharraf recently stated that he was not
in favor of abundant and unbridled imports of finished goods in the
country. He was not in favor of unwarranted and negative competition
for local products. He was not in favor of loss of precious jobs due
to closure of domestic industries. He said he would support and echo
his thoughts and sentiments. He said he wants to involve
multinationals, big corporations and prominent industrialists of SITE
Association activities. The office building is in need of a
large-scale renovation and refurbishing. We would again indulge in the
process of commencing the construction of the industry house.
He said he needs substantial funds to start these
programmes. The executive committee in consultation with senior
leaders would chalk out a strategy so that we can organize a
fund-raising drive for these projects.
The in-house journal "Voice of Industry"
would be published with regularity and be an avenue for raising
financial resources also. The new SAI chief said he intend to
inculcate the system of accountability in the working of the
sub-committees. There would now be a performance-oriented structure,
and every sub-committee chairman must have a working team, must hold
periodic meetings, must give frequent reports, and must communicate
with members so that the day-to-day load of the association is in
He said that he plan to involve the membership
through meetings with high officials. We propose to organize social
programmes and get-togethers for industrialists and their families,
and we prefer to pre-empt and tackle problems before they become
difficult and out of control for our members. Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig
said he intend to initiate a process where there is fundamental change
in the workings of even SITE Limited since this organization has
lately been susceptible to negative influences and negative publicity.
He said the association would again introduce the concept of
excellence awards to be presented at a glittering function to be
graced by either the President or the Prime Minister. These awards
would carry positive authority and would denote true excellence and
achievement of our members.