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February 24, 2020

Have a little more patience, president tells businessmen

Top Story

February 24, 2020

LAHORE: Lahore-based leading industrialists and businessmen expressed their concern with President Dr Arif Alvi about the economic slowdown resulting in jobs retrenchments and asked for early redress of the issues for country’s economic revival.

The businessmen raised issues during a dinner-reception hosted by Nishat Group Chairman Mian Mansha for the president and first lady Mrs Samina Alvi, in which Lahore-based business families were also invited to apprise the government of their concern on economic slowdown. This was Nishat Group chairman’s initiative after a recent meeting of President Dr Arif Alvi with Karachi-based industrialists and businessmen in Karachi.

Kohinoor Group’s Chairman Tariq Saigol, Pak-Elektron Ltd Chairman Nasim Saigol, Siddiqsons Group Chairman Tariq Rafi, FPCCI President Anjum Nisar, former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri, Nestle Pakistan Chairman Syed Yawar Ali, Ashraf Group Chairman Zaka Ashraf, Royal Fans Chief Executive Khawar Rafique, Sapphire Group director Shahid Abdullah, State Bank’s Governor Reza Baqir and other prominent personalities from Lahore and their families attended the dinner. The businessmen met with the president and exchanged views on country’s business environment.

Mian Mansha, while addressing on the occasion said “due to economic slowdown in the country, people were losing jobs on account of retrenchments which need to be addressed effectively. Inefficient State- owned enterprises were running in loss which has to be offset with tax money, which could otherwise be spent on the people’s welfare. The government needs to privatise these entities for avoiding further losses to the national exchequer”. However, he acknowledged the government’s successes in improving the security situation and reviving Pakistan Super League (PSL). Prospects of peace in Afghanistan are also encouraging as it will improve security and economic activity in the region and allow enhancement of cross-border trade between Pakistan, Afghanistan and into Central Asia, he mentioned. This also bodes well for the business communities of both countries and holds the promise of economic development and prosperity for the people.

Mansha further said the business community was the major stakeholder and thus the government needed to be in constant dialogue with them so they can synergise efforts and attain economic progress. “The business community also needs to be provided an enabling environment, one that is free from harassment, intimidation and bureaucratic bottlenecks, so that they can concentrate and dedicate all efforts towards generating economic activity without which, neither growth can be achieved nor jobs can be created for our youth,” he asserted.

On the other hand, Nishat Group of companies is one of the region’s leading and most diverse business groups with commercial interests in finance, insurance, cement, textile, paper, power, dairy, hospitality, real estate and automobile sector amongst others in Pakistan. The Group has played a significant role in the industrial development of the country and is one of the largest private sector employers, taxpayers and exporters of the country.

Speaking at the dinner, the president said the government was cognizant of the fact that Pakistan was undergoing economic difficulties, but there were clear positive signals that the worst was over and country’s economy and indeed society were in the process of recovery. “The business community has rendered invaluable services to the development of Pakistan and we request you all for a little more patience while the government’s reform process takes root and demonstrates results. There is also a need to avoid cynicism and undue criticism of state institutions, he added. The president assured the business community of all out government support and said the government would continue to engage with the business community for improving business environment.