INTERVIEW: MURTAZA DHARAMSI
CEO Sarah International & Executive Director Marketing MSC Textiles; Pakistan should change its focus from europe to China and India for export exansion
Aug 27 - Sep 02, 2007
Murtaza Dharamsi, a versatile businessman with an impressive business exposure around the world is mainly involved in exports of value added textile products foresee the textile future of Pakistan with China and India.
Talking to PAGE, Murtuza said that so far the textile industry in Pakistan was looking towards European and the US markets for exports of our textile products. However, now is the time that our export strategy should change its focus towards the fast emerging consumer markets in China and India.
We would have to change our approach to take advantage of the changing world, as the sky is the limit for growth of Pakistan textiles, Murtaza remarked as an optimistic about future of Pakistan textiles.
Besides industrial strength, which is of course on sounding footing here, the areas, which required to be explored, are innovative and aggressive marketing. This involves entering into Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with India, China and EU countries.
Pakistan is currently facing image problem as well. In fact it is the foreign media, which is playing dirty by blowing small incidents out of proportion that needed to be countered effectively to create awareness in the international about the real picture of the country.
In this respect, lobbying for Pakistan products is recommended by acquiring services of lobbyists in European besides using our good offices of Pakistan missions abroad for this purpose. Law and order is one area, which is detrimental for expansion in exports. Buyers usually avoid visiting Pakistan due to bad impression regarding law and order. Attack of Chinese is repeatedly highlighted in the foreign media. That is an important segment, which calls for immediate attention of the government.
Pakistan being the signatory to the WTO Rules does not offer any sort of subsidies to its industry and whatever is available does not produce any tangible results. For example there is a 25 percent freight subsidy is available to the exporters but this facility does not apply for main export destinations such as the United States or European Union rendering this subsidy practically meaningless.
STABILITY IN POLCIES
Due to lack of stability in certain policies related to export regime, we are unable to capitalize our real potential. Murtaza said that take the example of interest rate on working capital. Actually, the financial charges have increased from 6 percent 12 percent as a result of the policy of the state bank. The rising financial charges were adversely affecting the momentum of growth in the country.
We are inefficient as a nation and lose much opportunity due that attitude of lethargy. The world market is choosy and would not compromise on quality, hence we can enhance our exports by producing flawless products for which there is a need for proper utilization of 5 percent R/D given to exporters by the government.
There is an appetite in the market, the only thing required to introduce and project your potential in a proper manner. To attract investment, buyers we should go for frequent exhibitions to project our products and attract buyers. Murtaza cited example of Germany, EU and other countries which are holding exhibitions round the year just keep buyers update about development in their production lines. In this respect another option is for entering into free trade agreements with India, China and Europe to play as a mainstream player in the export market, Murtaza recommended
Actually, industrialization is not an easy task in Pakistan. The investors have to face an army of different agencies every day and they have no option but to please them if they have to carry out their business. This is a major factor in discouraging massive industrialization in Pakistan. This is the problem area, which is being pointed out by the investors for years but so far no visible sign of improvement.
Murtaza while quoting electricity rates in India, Sri Lank and Bangla Desh, said that Pakistan comes on top of them as far as electricity charges were concerned. While we talk about industry it is easy to realize that electricity has assumed the position of basic raw material for any product, hence to avoid its multiple effect on cost serious efforts were needed reduce charges to enable our products competitive in the export market, he suggested.
Pakistan was so far heavily relying on import of textile machinery. Earlier it was being imported from Switzerland, Germany, Italy and France but after the arrival of Chinese in textile machinery a major portion of imports shifted towards china though it lacks in quality and life. Pakistan also imports some textile equipment and machinery from India as well. Murtuza however disclosed that Pakistan has now started producing textile machinery like Seltzer Looms etc but in an unorganized manner. This is an area, which has great potential, and we can excel with the support of the government as well as our engineering university to produce textile machineryˇa major source of export earnings besides catering to the huge textile industry of Pakistan, Murtaza said.