The 2nd edition of ‘Biz Today Leadership Talks: Coffee and Conversation’ powered by Mentor Suiting was held on Monday 1st February 2021 at Mövenpick Hotel Karachi. With these leadership talks, Biz Today aims to bring the world closer and open new ways of collaboration over a cup of coffee.
Speaker of this 2nd edition of ‘Biz Today Leadership Talks: Coffee and Conversation’, the dynamic and eloquent Mr. Ibnu Sulhan, Vice-Consul Economic Affairs at The Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Karachi.
Formal proceedings of the event started with reciting of Holy Quran by mr. Fareed Iqbal Machiyara from Abu Haashir Perfumes, after which Mr. Imtiaz Hussain Shaikh of Imtiaz Enterprises in his welcome speech welcomed all the guests and participants of the event. He also stressed on the need of having more events like this one as these type of events are very beneficial for enhancement of bilateral ties between two countries.
After welcome speech, our beautiful and ever cheerful interviewer Miss Sundus Rasheed steered the event with a light-hearted yet and informative interview with Mr. Ibnu Sulhan, she spoke of bilateral business opportunities between the two countries, collaborations in music and other cultural activities, travel and tourism. Her one-liner questions were very enjoyable and tricky, but were handled very diplomatically by Mr. Ibnu Sulhan.
Mr. Ibnu Sulhan started off by giving official figure about his country and informed us that; “Indonesia is a country consisting of 17 thousand Islands and makes Indonesia the world’s largest island country. We are 14th largest country by land and world’s 04th most populous country. Indonesia is world’s most populous Muslim-majority country and Java happens to be the world’s most populous island”.
Speaking on his core subject of Economics he said; “driven by Industrial Sector, Services Sector and Agriculture Sector Indonesia’s economy at $1.09 trillion is 16th largest economy in the world. Current balance of trade between Indonesia and Pakistan is highly in favour of Indonesia. Indonesia’s exports to Pakistan stand at US$ 2.22 Billion (2019), whereas Pakistan’s exports to Indonesia stood at US$146.22 (2019).
He further elaborated and said; “oranges, mangoes, rice, cereals, leather & sea-food items are the major imports from Pakistan and there is a growing demand for basmati rice in Indonesia. We might see increase in import rice from Pakistan. Major exports to Pakistan are edible-oil, palm-oil, coal, automobile-parts, yarn and paper. There is a huge gap between Indonesia-Pakistan balance of trade and this huge difference cannot be minimized by importing only oranges, mangoes and rice. Pakistan must look into exporting Engineering Goods to Indonesia, I see huge potential in Pakistani Engineering sector. Tourism is another sector where I see a lot of potential and both countries can benefit from it”.
Regarding the tourism industry, he said that; “Bali happens to be the most visited tourism destination in Indonesia and I would like to inform you that world has seen only one Bali and we have developed 10 more destinations similar to Bali. In much simpler terms 10 more Bali’s will be introduced to all the tourism enthusiasts all over the world as soon as we seen travel restrictions easing down”.
Replying on question ‘when to visit Indonesia?, he said; “best time to visit Indonesia is June and July, but these two months can be a bit expensive too, as travellers from all over the world travel to Indonesia and that results in exorbitant rise in fare of airlines-tickets, accommodations and local travel. To plan economically, plan you visit during the months of November & December. These two months are considered as rainy season, but it mostly rains during the evening and you can enjoy sun light during the day”.
During the question and answer session one of the participant asked if there can be a possibility of combined visa for visiting top tourism attractions like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. We can see a similar scenario in Europe, where there is Schengen visa for visiting nearby countries. Mr. Ibnu Sulhan replied by saying; “I see this as a good prospect, but before saying more, we would be needing to talk to our counterparts in Malaysia and in Singapore”.
Replying to a question regarding hospitality, he said; “Pakistani hospitality is excellent, it’s pretty much like what we have in Indonesia. Pakistani and Indonesian hospitality is pretty much same. Many parts of South East Asia has a lot of influence from South Asia and I guess that may be the reason why most of the countries in South East are excellent in hospitality. Apart from hospitality there are also many religious and cultural similarities between our two countries and due to these similarities we enjoy strong cordial relations and are hopeful for further trade collaborations”.
He further said; “apart from South Asian influence, Indonesia also has Chinese influence but that is due to ethnic reasons. Many many years ago and also during First World War large scale Chinese immigration took place and they brought some of their culture them and they also integrated well into Indonesian Culture”.
On concluding note, Mr. Ibnu Sulhan said; “living in harmony is a way of life for the Indonesian people, maintaining harmony among the diversity is the key. I would like to thank the people of Karachi and the entire province of Sindh for their hospitality. CPEC will be a great opportunity for Pakistan and will be next big thing within the region”.
Mr. Ibnu Sulhan, distributed a booklet, Indonesia Portal: one link connect with Indonesia, this booklet gives a details about an application that gives details about visiting Indonesia.
During Q&A session, CEO of Westbury Group Mr. Rasheed Janmohammed informed that due to geographical reasons import of Pakistan Rice is not economical in Indonesia and apart from that, getting ourselves registered with import authorities in Indonesia is not that easy. Mr. Rasheed Janmohammed enquired if getting registered with rice import can be eased or about any possibility of Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries, which can later on be upgraded to Free Trade Agreement (FTA). On this Indonesian envoy replied that he will talk to people in Jakarta and will try to ease things for Pakistani importers.
Vote of thanks was delivered by Mr. Hamza Yaqoob Tabani of Tabani group and expressed his gratitude and thanked all the guests and participants of this event.