Lahore—Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) Senior Vice President Almas Hyder Almas Hyder said that only economically strong countries could play leading role at global level. He expressed these views while addressing the 87-member delegation of 45th Course of Pakistan Navy War College during their visit at LCCI here on Friday to get awareness about the role of business community for economic well being of the country. The delegation was headed by Rear Admiral M Amjad Khan Niazi. The LCCI Executive Committee Members were also present on the occasion. The Senior Vice President shared his expertise with the visiting officers on economic challenges, energy, federal budget, trade deficit, Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (CPEC) and millennium development goals.
Hyder said that business community of the country is well versed of the fact and utilizing its best abilities for economic uplift of the country. He said that despite having all kinds of resources, we are not there where we should be therefore we have to take full advantage of our best strategic location and vast minerals. He said that Pakistan has the ability, not only become the regional leader but can also play a decisive role at global level. He said that strong public-private partnership can help surmounting the unprecedented economic challenges being faced by the country. The LCCI would continue its untiring efforts in this regard.
He said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry aims to promote trade and investment in the country through enacting upon the policies of the government and securing a business friendly environment in the country. Almas Hyder said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry also tries to secure a business-friendly environment through sharing views with the government. The primary objective of LCCI is to protect the interests of the business community while remaining committed to the cause of development of the country. He said that there are a number of issues that must be tackled on priority, the biggest one is how to keep the momentum of growth in the wake of a less than targeted growth of the Agriculture and the Manufacturing sector.
The second one is the widening gap between exports and imports that could be contained by reducing import of luxury items. He said that the cut in the low input cost would make Pakistani products competitive in the international market where Pakistan was loosing the international markets to China, India and even Bangladesh. He stressed the need for developing regional, product specific and target oriented marketing strategy. New markets and new products need to be explored to reduce country’s dependence on few commodities and countries.
The LCCI Senior Vice President said that Pakistan’s exports are highly concentrated in few items. Such concentration in few markets can also become a source for instability in export earnings. He said that after through debate that feedback is refined and after approval from Executive Committee is sent in the form of Budget Proposals to Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs for consideration at the time of preparation of the Federal Budget. He said that Chamber monitors the budget, anomalies are identified and these coupled with revised proposals are again communicated to the relevant policy making departments. He said that the LCCI also keeps liaison with foreign missions commercial sections and an exchange of information ensured especially sector reports.
While briefing the participants about the LCCI’s role in policy making, the LCCI Senior Vice President said that the LCCI has more than 100 sector specific Standing Committees. These committees collect private sector feedback, analyze and filter the same through subject experts. He said hat Ease of Dong Business Index gives one a quick way of comparing different countries. For the last five years, there is downward trend in Pakistan’s ranking. In 2012, Pakistan’s ranking in Doing Business was 105, which kept falling to 107, 110, 128 in following years and now it stands at 138. With such a poor ranking, we can neither catch the attention of multinational companies nor attract foreign investment. He said that the LCCI is also quite conscious of its social role. He said that the LCCI has a self-sustaining project LABARD on its credit. He said that LABARD is not only acting as placement body for the disabled sections of the society but also provides relevant training to the young minds in an effort to rehabilitate them. Head of the Delegation urged the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry to continue to play its role for economic uplift of the country as its positive input at this point in time can do the miracles. While lauding the role being played by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in removing the bottlenecks in the way of promotion of business, he said that a lot has yet to be done for the economic well-being of the country and its people.