INTERVIEW WITH MUHAMMAD ZUBAIR MOTIWALA, CHAIRMAN SINDH BOARD OF INVESTMENT

KHALIL AHMED
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Dec 19 - 25, 20
11

PAGE: TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF.

ZUBAIR MOTIWALA: I am basically a businessperson operating in textile sector with brand name of diamond textiles. Diamond textile is spread over an area of three acres. Printing and dying have a combined capacity of 2.4 million meters for wide with and 6.4 million for narrow width per month. The 40-year experience of the facility guarantees innovative new methods to meet the ever increasing demand for quality and quantity. I have also served as advisor to chief minister Sindh on investment from January 2009 to July 2011. Currently, I am working as Chairman Sindh Board of Investment, Chairman SEDF, Convener Thar Coal Energy Board, and Director Pak Oman Investment Company.

I also got chance to serve industrial sector as the Chairman of the Council of Karachi Industrial Associations during 1997-98 and President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2000. I was also elected as the Chairman of All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (Central), Member of Prime Minister's Committee on Textile and Exports (1996) and Chairman of SITE Association of Industry, which is the largest industrial area of Pakistan.

PAGE: WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ABOUT LOCAL AND FOREIGN INVESTORS IN PAKISTAN?

ZUBAIR MOTIWALA: Being a businessperson, I know that ultimate objective of each and every investor either local or foreign is to make profit. Pakistan, being a huge market, offers immense potential of investment in varied sectors of economy. Local as well as foreign investors are willing to invest in Pakistan but what is required is proper facilitation and guidance from concerned authorities, departments, chambers, and associations. And, for that, we all need to play our role. It's not the only responsibility of any particular person. It's a collective responsibility that needs to be done with joint and collaborative efforts.

PAGE: HOW COULD PAKISTAN ATTRACT HUGE INVESTMENTS FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH?

ZUBAIR MOTIWALA: Pakistan could attract huge investments. Once we will market our opportunities properly. Positive image building of Pakistan on each and every forum is extremely important. We also need to improve law and order situation in our country in order to provide security of investment of foreign investors.

PAGE: CHINESE INVESTMENT AND PROJECTS IN THE COUNTRY HAVE AMOUNTED TO US$25 BILLION WHICH IS MULTIPLYING WITH EACH PASSING DAY. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS?

ZUBAIR MOTIWALA: Pakistan has always treated China as its most important economic partner. Present government endows immense importance and sets ambitious targets to pursue cooperation between Pakistan and China in economic, commercial, and technological fields with utmost vigor. It also aims to carry forward this time-tested friendship to future generations which is based on account of the familiarity and common understandings developed over a long period of economic cooperation. A large number of Chinese companies are working in Pakistan in oil and gas, IT and telecom, power generation, engineering, automobiles, infrastructure, and mining sectors. I strongly advocate increase interaction between business communities of two countries to further strengthen this bond of unity. Our Chinese brothers have always contributed towards economic development of Pakistan. From the platform of Sindh Board of Investment, government of Sindh has recently signed four MOUs with prominent Chinese companies such as China Three Gorges, United Energy (Orient Group) and Global Mining for Power and energy sector.

PAGE: WHAT MUST BE NECESSARY FINANCIAL AND REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS FOR INVESTMENTS?

ZUBAIR MOTIWALA: Government offers exemptions, incentives, higher return on investment, and facilitation to all investors. Policies are designed to attract and facilitate foreign and local investors in our country. Continuous support and necessary facilitation is also provided to investors for the fulfillment of financial and regulatory requirements through federal and provincial institutions and investment promotion agencies. So any investor who is interested to invest in Pakistan can easily get assess to information through one window operation provided by federal and provincial board of investment.

PAGE: WHICH SECTORS SHOULD GIVE BETTER RETURNS TO LOCAL AND FOREIGN INVESTORS IN PAKISTAN?

ZUBAIR MOTIWALA: In my opinion, the most promising sector that could give better returns to local and foreign investors is coal and energy. I absolutely agree with the preposition that coal is the "Black Gold of Pakistan" that could bring prosperity to all.

Pakistan also possesses unlimited investment potential for renewable energy projects especially biogas power plants at cattle colonies, wind power projects, solar power projects and coal powered thermal project through joint ventures.

Government also provides subsidies to the private sector initiatives for value addition in agro-processing, fisheries, livestock and dairy sectors. Mechanization of construction industry and propagation of modern technologies including pre-casting, modern municipal services, clean drinking water and sewerage and effluent treatment systems in Sindh could be lucrative opportunities for investors.