LAHORE: Ongoing economic scenario calls for further strengthening of public-private sector relations. The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) 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.
This was stated by the LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz while addressing a delegation of National Security Workshop, National Defence University, led by Maj. General Noel I. Khokhar, here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Tuesday. Former Chairman WAPDA Tariq Hameed, former LCCI President Mian Muzaffar Ali and Executive Committee Members also spoke on the occasion.
Over two-hour long meeting discussed issues including trade with India, shortage of energy, public-private sectors relations, budget deficit and millennium development goals.
LCCI President 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 basis, 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.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that the cut in the prices of energy 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. Pakistan’s exports are highly concentrated in few items. Such concentration in few markets can also become a source for instability in export earnings.
While briefing the participants about the LCCI’s role in policy making, Ijaz A. Mumtaz 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 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.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that LCCI has also established a Mediation Center in collaboration with IFC. He said that there are more than 40 accredited Mediators registered with LCCI who are helping the businessmen for out of the country settlement of their business disputes.
He said that the LCCI is also quite conscious of its social role. After the disaster of floods, the LCCI donated huge amount to the Chief Minister Punjab Flood Relief Fund.
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 Maj. General Noel I. Khokhar, H.I. (M), Director General Institute for Strategic Studies urged the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry to continue to play its role for surmounting the unprecedented challenges being faced by the country as its positive input at this point in time can do the miracles.
He also called for the exploration of non-traditional markets to generate much-needed foreign exchange. He said that the economy has become the most modern warfare gadget of the present day world and the only economically strong countries would have a role in coming days.
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.