EMERGING MIDDLE CLASS ENJOYING CONSUMER FINANCE FACILITY
Oct 29 - Nov 04, 2007
Pakistan is the sixth most populous country of the world, fourth in Asia and second in the SAARC countries, with a population of more than 160 million of which 100 million is less than 25 years old and with a 30 million strong middle-class enjoying many benefits from the financing or donors agencies.
Pakistan had made headway in reviving its economy in the last five years by achieving maro-economic stability, resuming the path for high growth, introducing deep-rooted structural reforms and improving governance. According an official report , the country has seen a rapid rise in overseas remittances building up foreign reserves to 16.5 billion dollars. Pakistan had doubled the size of the economy to 160 billion dollars maintained a consistent record inflows of foreign investment more than 8 billion dollars last year. The per capita income is about 925 dollars. However. , the export income is 15 billion dollars and import expenditure is nearly 31 billion dollars, while the debt is nearly 38.1 billion dollars.
The term consumer is a living person, a citizen of the country and who needs the financing facilities that support consumption of urgently required items and as a result thereafter improve and change the living standards of households fall within the broad definition of Consumer Finance. Consumer is not dependent on the business, but business is dependent on him.
Pakistan has a highly developed financial sector consisting of 4 public, 12 private and 21 commercial banks, development financial institutions , investment banks, leasing companies, mutual funds, Islamic venture capital fund companies ( Modarba companies).†† The commercial banks have assets over one trillion rupees of which about 80% is held by domestic banks and the rest by foreign banks. Besides providing working capital and loan term-financing to the consumers, investors, these banks offer a range of vital services, such as remittances of profits,/dividends and foreign currency accounts. The specialized institutions provide credit in form of loans to invest in various sectors for betterment of the users and finally to the country.
The term loans incur a liability on recipient (consumer) to pay back at a future date with interest fixed by the donor or the supplier. Such type of deal is purely an interest or riba affair. Even prior to the dawn of Islam over 1400 years ago the majority of ancient philosophers, and almost all the religions of the world had strongly prohibited money lending as a business, riba, interest or usury. It is system of lending or borrowing money as a transaction between members of the society as commercial operation. Money lending with the earning motive has become a common phenomenon in most of the societies of the world, but people engaged in this business were not regarded respectable during any period of time. Regarding riba, interest or usury, it is interesting to note that in AD 605 , just before the dawn of Islam, on a tempestuous, a spark of fire caught the curtains of Kaba( House of God in Makkah) resulting in serious damages to the building. For the repair and reconstruction of the building, contributions were asked from the public living in the locality. It was, however, solemnly announced that for the Holy Building, only pure, clean and honestly earned money should be donated, prostitutes and usurious people were specifically debarred from contributing anything. It is, therefore obvious that even among the pagans of Arab in the dark days of civilization, usury and interest was considered to be the money earned by unethical means.
The consumer finance is money lending affairs to a needy person for improvement of his well beings and ultimately his living standard in the society. It is a financing facility that generally and wholesomely support consumption and as a result improves the overall, the living standards of households. The consumers loans include credit cards, short-term loans, finance and operating leases, and housing finance semantics of financial product range. Consumer loan urges demand and consumption that encourage the donor to expand its productive capacity or make fuller use of its existing and cut prices at the retail level besides increasing employment and possibly fresh investments in the industrial sectors especially producing consumer durables. Truly speaking, the liberal consumer financing in the past two years had made the banking sector and the corporate sector more stronger and prosperous financially than the households sector. The bank credit extended to individual for acquiring consumer durable property like residential apartments, car, motor cycles, plots, and electronic equipments.
In the present scenario, the money lending with the earning motive has become a common phenomenon in most of the societies of the world, but people engaged in this type of business are generally not regarded respectable during any period of time. Therefore one should avoid of taking loan from the bank or from any financial institution, because it is totally forbidden in Islam. The Holy Quran totally forbidden taking interest (riba) money on loan business in these Surahs( ( 2:275-276 and 278., 3:130., and 4:161).Therefore one must think one hundred times before taking loan from a bank for purchasing, car, plot, apartment, marriage matter, or any interest related-matters. May Almighty Allah Who is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient save us and the humanity from this heinous job. We must fear the wrath of God.
During the last two decades , the world has witnessed dramatic changes in the business environment. Emerging from an historically economic role, the business organization has evolved in response to the social and political mandates of national public policy , explosive technology growth, and continuing innovations in global communications. These changes have created new knowledge needs for decision makers and new public to consider when evaluating any decision. This financing will support social mobilization which is being recognized as a mechanism for enhancing sustainability , improving efficiency and effectiveness and allowing poverty reduction.
In the last Pakistan Economic Survey compiled by Ministry of Finance, the phenomenon rise in consumption expenditure has been attributed to the economic survey which has raised the perceived wealth of the household sector and thus boosted confidence, leading to higher consumption. The report has also pointed out the emergence of middle class with buying power-good for business expansion. The rise in consumption expenditure was probably due to rising consumer confidence as a result of huge capital gains in the equity and real estates markets and increased remittance from the abroad. Currently, the State Bank received about 6 billion dollars remittance from foreign countries sent by our workers.
It must be remembered that customer satisfaction alone is not a guarantee of success, but pleasing him is the prime need of the day. Customer advocates will definitely lead the organization to a path that will not only n enhance relationship with them but will also bring significant improvement to the bottom line of the financial statements.
Consumer rights: The consumers need some rights of safety and protection of any anomaly and these are: right to safety, right to choose fair price, right to redress, right to education, right to healthy environment etc,
CONCLUSION: In a modern ND growing economy, the consumer must be the driving force that requires innovation, forces change and growth and accepts nothing less than real quality underpinned by genuine choice. The consumer must become assertive, sometimes in partnership with the producer, and sometimes taking the lead.