Oct 4 - 10, 20

In the aftermath of devastations caused by floods in the country, serious challenges are confronted to the PPP-led government that demand prompt response from the trade and industry and philanthropists to come forward to fulfill their responsibilities toward the society.

The CSR also known as corporate conscience, corporate citizenship, responsible business, sustainable responsible business (SRB), or corporate social performance, is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. Ideally, CSR policy would function as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby business would monitor and ensure its support to law, ethical standards, and international norms. Consequently, business would embrace responsibility for the impact of its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere.

The concept of CSR is yet to develop in its true spirit in Pakistan. Although different institutions including big business houses and cellular companies donated amounts in the flood relief funds but much more is to be done to accomplish the gigantic task of rehabilitation of flood affectees. The concept of CSR needs to be used as a tool for improving the governance stature and structure is to highlight the observable fact of dealing with the society in the way of helping and providing them a good livelihood, which in return generates the successive markup of the business promotion and sustainability in the market.

According to the latest UN estimate, 4.8 million people rendered homeless and more than 20 million people were affected in the floods. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were gathered in makeshift relief camps with limited assistance, but many more have been forced to fend for themselves.

Millions of people, who lost their homes, livestock and livelihoods in the country's worst flooding, will be vulnerable to malnutrition and health problems, and the situation can increase maternal mortality ratio. After floods, there are chances of an upsurge of gastroenteritis, diarrhea, and skin-related diseases, and health experts worry about increases in malaria and waterborne diseases like typhoid and cholera, the UN report said. The situation after floods threatens to reverse recent gains in infant and maternal health and undercut efforts to reduce poverty and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Not only people are at risk but also health institutions in flood hit areas badly damaged.

According to official sources, Pakistan needs Rs500 billion to relocate and rehabilitate the flood affectees while the government is utilising all its available resources to rehabilitate the flood victims. "We have already taken Rs10 billion from Benazir Income Support program schemes and we have distributed Rs4.5 billion among the flood affectees upon the data already saved in Benazir Income Support program," a PPP leader Fouzia Wahab said.

She said the taxation is main source of collecting funds for the rehabilitation of flood-affected people. The government has imposed taxes on those people who have 1000sq and 500sq yards plots, she added. She said the PPP government has reduced its expenditures and the amount thus saved would be used in rehabilitation.

On the other hand, Jamshoro Joint Venture Limited (JJVL) as a part of its CSR has contributed Rs48 million as part of its initial commitment to flood relief activities. "JJVL and its associated companies have raised and contributed Rs48 million to the flood relief activities till July," a spokesman of JJVL said.

He said: "This is part of our ongoing commitment to assist some of the 20 million Pakistanis who have been affected by the country's worst ever floods." JJVL, one of Pakistan's largest LPG producers, and other associated group (AG) companies have made these contributions to organisations, including non-governmental ones, working in flood-hit areas across the country. In addition to this, we are providing two meals a day to 3,000 internally displaced persons in Sindh, and have set up water filtration plants there, said the spokesman.

The spokesman said that JJVL decided to maintain the prices at affordable levels earlier this month even as other state-owned LPG producers raised theirs. "We expect to continue keeping prices at reasonable levels during October as well," he added.

JJVL imported 2,500 metric tons earlier this month to ensure the availability of affordable product throughout the country. Another cargo of 2,500 metric tons is arriving within a month. "These additional volumes of LPG have helped stabilise supplies and prices," said the spokesman. He said that other corporations and citizens had also donated generously for relief work. "We urge them to continue this contribution. This was a unique crisis for Pakistan and we must do whatever we can," he stressed.

In the present situation, Pakistan is facing, what is required on the part of trade and industry is that they must come forward and pay their due share of taxes honestly besides fulfilling CSR. It is alarming that tax-to-GDP ratio is lowest in Pakistan. There is huge scope of widening tax net. We can handle all the challenges with commitment and honesty by playing due role in nation building activities.