INTERVIEW WITH ZAHID SAEED, MD INDUS PHARMA

(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Dec 27, 2010 - Jan 2, 20
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Zahid Saeed, Managing Director Indus Pharma, is one of the most renowned names in the pharma sector of Pakistan. He has held very senior positions: some of which are Former Chairman PPMA, Chairman Investment Committee KATI, Chairman Pharma Committee Italian Development Council, Member Pakistan France Business Alliance.

PAGE: WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT EDUCATION SYSTEM IN PAKISTAN?

ZAHID SAEED: The government has disowned education system. Spending on education has been gradually reduced on one hand and on the other hand the allocated budgets have been grossly misused which has resulted in thousands of inundated or ghost schools. At the same time corruption, non-professionalism and inefficiency in education boards has posed question marks on the standards of education. Due to this situation foreign and local education boards have emerged which in turn has caused anomalies and multiple standards in education system. If not corrected our future generation will not have similarity of opinion and purpose.

PAGE: WHAT KIND OF SKILLED WORKFORCE PHARMA SECTOR NEEDS IN OUR COUNTRY?

ZAHID SAEED: Even workers employed by pharma are at least matriculated. They are further trained on SOP's as per requirement. Production, Quality Control and Quality Assurance involves PhD's, pharmacists, chemists, microbiologists and engineers. On the marketing side, pharma sector employs science graduated and MBAs. In short, pharma is the largest white collar job provider of Pakistan amongst industrial sector.

PAGE: WHAT SHOULD PAKISTAN DO FOR HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT FOR ALL SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY?

ZAHID SAEED: Most important resource for any country is its human resource. This resource has been grossly neglected and wasted and in fact considered to be a burden on our resources.

Correct approach to redress this situation will involve extensive certified vocational courses like carpentry, mason, plumbing, mechanics, electronics etc. which can improve quality of producing in the country. At the same time, linkage of academia with industry and commerce will ensure development of curriculum as per current demands and requirements.

PAGE: HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE OUR NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES WITH PAKISTAN IN TERMS OF SKILLED AND UNSKILLED WORKFORCE?

ZAHID SAEED: China and India have utilised and trained their human resource amply which has resulted in phenomenal growth in their commerce and industry. They have become world's favourite destinations for opening back office by developed world to economise their operations. They have received the biggest piece from the cake of outsourcing of global manufacturing and service sectors. We are far behind but we have potential to do what China and India have done. We must be serious in this regard.

PAGE: WHAT INCENTIVES SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN GIVE TO THE EDUCATION SECTOR FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SKILLED WORKFORCE?

ZAHID SAEED: There is a dire need of institutions which can provide certified and recognised vocational training courses starting from plumbing, carpenter, skilled workers for garments, different processes of textiles to electronics etc. These centers will add value to our matriculated pass workforce and help in increasing productivity as well as per capita income and quality. On the other side, we need experts on WTO, TRIPS and other international agreements and for this purpose these topics should become a mandatory part of university curriculum which will enable us to convert these threats into opportunities for commerce and industry of Pakistan. For students of engineering and science faculties, internships and experience of relevant industry should be made part of curriculum so that they have on hands experience and become a vital participant in development. (KA)