KARACHI: Acknowledging President Karachi Chamber’s suggestion, Governor Sindh Imran Ismail Saturday announced formation of Governor-Karachi Chamber Liaison Committee with immediate effect which would address the issues being faced by the business & industrial community of Karachi.
Speaking at a meeting during his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Imran Ismail said, “The Terms of Reference (TORs) for this Committee will be finalized in consultation with Karachi Chamber in which Presidents of all other trade bodies will also be given representation and it will personally be headed by myself. I assure you that I will present all the messages of Karachi’s business community to the President, Prime Minister and Federal Finance Minister.”
Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, Vice Chairmen BMG Tahir Khaliq and Anjum Nisar, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, Senior Vice President Khurram Shahzad, Vice President Asif Sheikh Javaid, Former Presidents KCCI Javaid Sultan Japanwala, AQ Khalil, Majyd Aziz and Shamim Ahmed Firpo, Chairman Special Committee for Small Traders Abdul Majeed Memon and KCCI Managing Committee members were also present at the meeting.
Governor Sindh Imran Ismail further stated that the government has completed planning for revival of Karachi Circular Railway project and work in this project would start soon. “Besides KCR project, a local train service, which was providing travelling facility via train from Cantt Station to Landhi Station in the past, will also be immediately restored”, he added.
To deal with fire tragedies in Karachi, he informed that a tender for acquisition of fire-tenders has already been floated which would close in next 10 days whereas the required funds have been allocated as it was really essential for Karachi to have sufficient fire-tenders. “Out of these fire tenders, a fire tender shall be dedicated to KCCI and also to Site Association so that these could promptly respond to any fire breaking out in any nearby building near Offices of both trade bodies.
While referring to Northern Bypass, Governor Sindh informed that this important project was being expanded from single lane to six lanes while Lyari Bypass was also being reinforced so that it becomes capable enough to handle the huge container traffic coming out of Karachi Port which could easily exit to Super Highway via Lyari Bypass.
He said that the government plans to establish more water treatment plants to cater to the demand of industries in Karachi while a desalination plant was also being established at Karachi Port. “We are trying to introduce reforms in Sindh Police with a view to improve policing”, he added.
Referring to numerous complaints pertaining to harassment by FIA, Imran Ismail said, “We absolutely have no such policy to allow FIA to open those cases in which individuals have availed the Amnesty Scheme. Any such case of harassment can be forwarded to Governor House and we will stop FIA as the Amnesty Scheme is fully protected by law.”
He stated that President of Pakistan, Governor Sindh, Minister for Ports & Shipping, Minister for Water, Minister for IT, Minister for law and even leader of the Opposition are all from Karachi.
“No other government has given such a representation to Karachi as given by PTI government, which would definitely result in resolving numerous issues being faced by the city”, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, while expressing deep concerns over the poor infrastructure of Karachi, said “Although many people have been terming Karachi as the financial and industrial hub and also call it a mini Pakistan but we firmly believe that ‘Karachi is Pakistan’ and the country’s survival purely depends on this city. Karachi has suffered a lot of pain and has received step motherly treatment during PPP and PML-N’s regimes. The same must not repeat during PTI’s tenure.”
Referring to Karachi huge contribution of more than 65 percent revenue to the national exchequer, Siraj Teli said, “We are not demanding that the entire revenue being generated by this city should be spent on Karachi only but the city must get its due share. It was unfortunate that funds allocated for Karachi under NFC Award were not being fully utilized and they disappear somewhere yet the city continues to contribute the highest revenue to the national exchequer.”
Referring to the Change slogan of PTI government and the recent notification about formation of Council of Business Leaders (CBL), Siraj Teli said that change should be visible but unfortunately no change has been witnessed so far as the recently formed CBL comprises of the same old businessmen and industrialists. “Instead of calling it the Council of Business Leaders, it should be called Council of Business Tycoons as it carries some of the top notch business tycoons and not a single elected representative has been incorporated”, he criticized, adding that all CBL members have remained part of various Advisory Councils constituted in the past during Musharraf’s, PPP’s and PML-N’s eras and now they have once again been provided the opportunity to play role in the current CBL whereas during all these years, the economy, instead of recovering, continued to plunge into further crisis which can be gauged from the fact that the exports have continued to descend after touching $25 billion regardless of the fact that most of the members of the Advisory Councils were exporters.
“Representatives from numerous sectors of the economy have to be given representation in the CBL”, he stressed.
Commenting on Gas prices issue, Siraj Teli said that it was an unwise step taken by the bureaucracy. The exporters should have be given advantage through rebate and any other mean whereas other industries from cement, steel, pharmaceuticals etc. must be provided a level playing field as they also generate huge employment, contribute massively to national exchequer and supply consumer goods to the masses. “A divide between zero-rated and non-zero rated segments has been created which would not go in favor of the economy and a day would come in the next four to five years when these two segments will be seen fighting with each other over numerous policies”, he added.
Highlighting Imran Khan’s last meeting with KCCI on July 22 in Karachi, Chairman BMG stated that during the said meeting, Imran Khan was urged to fulfill all his commitments after assuming charge as Prime Minister otherwise it would result in creating a painful situation. In this regard, he requested Imran Ismail to ask Prime Minister to honor his first and foremost commitment to visit Karachi Chamber as he has assumed charge as the Prime Minister.
Earlier, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, in his welcome address, stated that the Citizens of Karachi have great expectations from the Governor as he is a Karachiite and belongs to a party which has succeeded in achieving heavy mandate from Karachi. “We expect that Governor Sindh would play his due role of a strong bridge between the business community and the Federal government”, he added.
Highlighting some serious issues being suffered by Karachi, President KCCI stressed that Karachi must get additional 650MGD water from the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) in order to minimize the grievances being suffered by Karachiites due to water shortages.
Drawing attention of Governor Sindh towards Karachi Circular Railway Project, he said that this essential project has been pending since long which requires special attention while work on Federal Government’s Green Line BRT Project has to be expedited as well. “The federal and provincial governments have allocated funds for construction of five Effluent Water Treatment Plants in Industrial Zones of Karachi but unfortunately, the construction work has not begun so far which is really worrisome”, he said and advised Governor Sindh to use his office so that construction work for these Treatment Plants commences at the earliest.
He further suggested that the government should establish Karachi Fire, Rescue & Emergency Planning Authority as the fire department was at the verge of total collapse and was not in a position to deal with severe fire incidents.
He said that law & order situation has improved in Karachi to a large extent but street crimes are on the rise again due to serious shortcomings in the police department. In this regard, a realistic strategy has to be defined jointly by the Sindh Government and the Federation so that the menace of street crime could be dealt with an iron hand, he added and underscored the need to introduce reforms and de-politicize the police department.
Junaid Makda suggested to form Governor-KCCI Liaison Committee with a view to promptly resolve the issues being faced by business community and come up with suggestions on how to pull the country out of economic crises. NNI