Dec 28, 2009 - Jan 03, 2010

Jamal Siddiqui, currently serving as managing director Makro Habib Pakistan Limited, on the back of his vast exposure to the local as well as international businesses, foresees a huge potential of investment in Pakistan if investors are assured that change in policies would not shatter their time, effort, and investment.

Jamal has a strong academic support to his profession. He did his MSc in International Economics, Banking & Finance from University of Wales Cardiff, UK.

A member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan, Jamal also completed his Audit Training from A.F. Ferguson & Co., an affiliate of Price Waterhouse Coopers.

Prior to his joining to Makro, he has worked in the capacity of managing director and CEO of Unilever Foods Pakistan Limited in 2006 and the Ice Cream Business Director of Unilever Pakistan Limited in 2004.

While elaborating what he meant by assurance and change of policies, he cited the example of his recent experience. Makro is an international chain of Cash n Carry and was first to have introduced the culture of Cash n Carry-a step ahead to ensure quality genuine goods for the consumers through elimination of nuisance of piracy and fabrication of national and international brands. Initially Makro started its two branches in Lahore and later on three in Karachi. Each of this store cost the company at least one billion rupees investment on raising infrastructure. Out of three in Karachi, one was set up in SITE industrial area, another on Shahrah-e-Faisal near Karachi Airport while third in the slums of Lines Area in Saddar.

Actually the third set up at a highly unorganized location helped the company make things bright for slum dwellers by generating economic activities in the area. But following recent reports carried by media that the lease of the land in Lines Area they acquired from Army Welfare Trust has been cancelled by the Supreme Court, now the Makro is worried about the future of Makro store in Lines area where huge investments are at stake.

Jamal has got tremendous international exposure and experience. He has had the opportunity to attend various work shops and courses abroad such as Harvard Master Class Workshop on Innovation, Leaders into action program, Leading Finance for the future, Senior Management course Leadership for Breakthrough Performance, International Management Seminar, and the Commercial Management Course.

In addition to the above he has also visited other Unilever companies abroad for operational benchmarking. These include UK, Australia, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Professional development has been a continuing feature and includes courses on Total Quality Management, Supply Chain Management, Information Technology and other management skills.

Currently, Makro is operating with five outlets in Karachi and Lahore while it is under process of setting up its chain of stores in ten more cities of the country. Jamal said after Makro arrival there was a line of international chains in Pakistan for which credit goes to Makro for building up the image of the country as a place of doing business.

He expressed his confidence that Makro would be allowed to carry on its operations in Lines area according to the contract signed with Army Welfare Trust. Any thing undesirable which might hit the smooth functioning of the Makro store in the area may send a bad message to the investors, he believed.

One of the major achievements of Jamal Mustafa Siddiqui was the turnover augmentation of Ice Cream business in three years from Rs.1.5 billion to Rs. 5.3 billion. During his tenure as the Ice Cream Business Director, Walls Pakistan's market share has increased from 70% to 83% resulting in year to date growth of 40%. While serving as the Managing Director and CEO of Unilever Pakistan Foods Limited, he steered the team to develop a foods business strategy delivering sustainable growth of +40%.

He successfully represented Unilever in a 50% JV, helping in building an atmosphere of mutual trust and common purpose. He led a major Fit for Growth Program (Peso 100 million savings) for Selecta Walls Philippines in addition to leading a full implementation of BPCS in the organization.

Jamal, a cool headed person said that Makro-Habib Pakistan Ltd had always respected the laws of the country and thus any ruling of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The media has also reported that the Supreme Court has cancelled the action of the Ministry of Defence in granting a 90 year lease to the Army Welfare Trust (AWT) in the year 2002.

Makro was incorporated in 2005. In the year 2006 the AWT then granted a 30 year lease to Makro for constructing a store in Lines Area of Saddar Karachi. Makro was not even in the picture at the point of time at which the Ministry of Defence granted the 90 year lease to the AWT. Makro had all along assumed, in all good faith, that the AWT had lawfully obtained the lease from the Ministry of Defence and on that basis had made a huge investment of approximately Rs800 million to set up a store in a backward, depressed slum area.

This store provides employment to about 350 families and has played a major part in the economic revival of the area. Now that the store may have to close down tragically those families will be out of employment. However, Makro respects all judicial verdicts including that of the Supreme Court and will implement the decision. Makro is still awaiting a copy of the full judgment and as soon as that is obtained it will then review all legal options available to it including the claiming of compensation for the huge loss that will be suffered by Makro.