PARTICIPATION OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN THE STANDING COMMITTEES OF THE PARLIAMENT

The process of globalization is picking up and Pakistan being a signatory to the WTO agreement should well equip to compete in the Global Village

By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Apr 03 - 09, 2006

Chairman Senate, Mohammedmian Soomro has supported the suggestion of the industrialists that business representatives should participate in meetings of various standing committees of the parliament, as these committees are directly or indirectly influence the trade and investment of the country.

The manufacturing and services sectors required more attention, however the government was doing its best. It is now up to the private sector to exploit the huge potential available within the country. The Senate Chairman urged the private sector to manufacture especially heavy equipment and agriculture machinery to meet local demand along with exports to developing countries.

The process of globalization is picking up and Pakistan being a signatory to the WTO agreement should well equip to compete in the Global Village. The industrial community of Pakistan is an enlightened group, and it should be more optimistic and aggressive about competing in the New World market. It is true that there are roadblocks; it is true that there is red tape, and it is true that government policies take time in maturing. However, this should not deter the industrialists and they should be ready to face all eventualities. He said, "I am sanguine the Pakistani industrialists will face all internal and external obstacles and move ahead to secure their niche in the global market", Soomro observed.

The Senate Chairman was addressing the members of SITE Association of Industry underlined the need for enhanced and continuous interaction between the government and the business community as this would help in making the government's policies more practical and targeted. He assured the SAI members that their suggestions would get due weight in policy and decision making by the government.

Sympathizing with the industrialists Chairman Senate, said that he knew that they had many bottlenecks to face, many obstacles in their way, and many difficulties to overcome and despite all these, they are going ahead and this is the message that Quaid-e-Azam gave for all of us. He said, "I salute the industrialists and businessmen who made the impossible possible. You have enabled the government to meet revenue targets, to exceed the export targets, and to improve the GDP. It is you industrialists who are the engine of growth that would lead us to economic prosperity".

Senate Chairman said much is to be done to improve infrastructure and reduce the cost of doing business in the country supplemented by more social reforms. Investors are very sensitive about size of market, infrastructure standard, security situation, reserves and access to justice. The government was seriously looking at all these sectors for maximum economic activity in the country.

Chairman of SITE Association, Ameen Bandukda said in his presentation that the world is now moving very fast and the last twenty years have witnessed more technological advancement than seen in 2000 years prior to that. He said that the info tech revolution has started and this is going to be the age of microprocessors, biotechnology, sophisticated communication, robotics etc. If Pakistan does not at least triple the expenditure outlay on Education, Human Skills development and Health, we will be left very far behind in the comity of nations. Bandukda said that it was a sad state of affairs that in the last Fiscal Budget of Rs. 1100 billion only Rs. 16 billion was spent on Education and Rs. 4 billion on Health services. This, he said was a joke and will not help in changing the destiny of our Country. A minimum of Rs. 75 billion should be allocated in the next budget to Education, Health and Judiciary, if we are to change our league to the next level or else we shall remain a third world countries all our lives.

He agreed that all focus should be on promotion of quality Education and Skill Development, which is the pre-requisite to social and economic empowerment of the nation. Private sector should also contribute more towards social sector. He said that more serious efforts on the part of public as well as private sector are needed to successfully face the open global competition under WTO.

Senate Chairman said that early development of alternative resources for generating energy and construction of water reservoirs has become more important in the wake of depleting gas reserves. Discussing about future of industries in the light of fast depleting Pakistan's gas reserves and non-finalization of Iran gas pipeline project, he dispelled the impressing that the gas pipeline project had been abandoned and said that negotiations on gas pipeline issue with Iran were in progress.

The government has visualized the situation and was making efforts for early construction of water reservoirs and efforts were underway to discover more gas and develop alternative energy resources. He said that the people have the right to express their concern over water reservoirs but it did not mean that Pakistan should not have water reservoirs.

The Senate Chairman remarked that tax-GDP ratio in Pakistan is the lowest, and added that the business community should persuade non-taxpayers to start paying taxes so that tax base be increased. This would also help them to get relief of high tariffs. He agreed with SITE Association that wherever income is generated, it should be taxed. There should be a level playing field and the tax system should be equitable and socially just.

He expressed hope that Pakistan would surpass the exports target of 18 billion dollars this year. He assured the business community that their budget proposals would be looked into and, wherever possible, accommodated.

He emphasized the need of mechanizing agriculture sector and developing agriculture machinery locally. He said that the most important challenge before Pakistan was the competitiveness of its products in international market. He said that the business community should send their suggestions to improve the policies and make Pakistan's products competitive. He also advised the business community to invest in construction sector to meet the housing shortage that comes to around 6 million housing units in the country.

For the quality of life of our citizens, - lower inflation, good education, affordable housing, affordable and or free health facilities, cheap and expeditious justice and providing better infrastructure facilities to industries and the agricultural sector are essentially required.

Ameen Bandukda in his address observed that after a long time our economy has had a good fiscal year 2004-2005. The GDP grew by 8.4%, which is remarkable, and in consonance with the emerging economies in our neighborhood, but side-by-side expressed his dissatisfaction that this momentum does not seem to continue as growth estimates have been revised downwards to 6%. Emerging economies in our region like China and India had sustained growth of above 8% over many years and only then they have been considered to be on strong foundations and added "We have one good year and complacency set in. Nothing is done to sustain this high growth over periods of long years".