MULTAN: There is a vast scope of fruits and vegetable exports from Multan International airport but there is no cold storage at airport nor facility of cold-chain is available to preserve the perishable items.
It was stated by President of Multan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI) Muhammad Sarfraz while addressing a delegation of trainee officers led by Dr.Faheem Jehangir, Secretary at the National Institute of Management Islamabad along with faculty members visited the Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry for an interaction with the local business community. The officers were undergoing 26th mid-career management course and were belonging to the various departments of the federal and provincial governments.
Muhammad Sarfraz reiterated his complaint that government was not providing us necessary information about the CPEC project which is a game changer for Pakistani Nation. He said that Pakistan can produce 15 million bales (each bale of 170 kg) of cotton easily if government ensured the supply of well germinated certified seed to growers besides adopting the modern technology. He said that South Punjab was producing 70 % of total production of cotton and 90 % of Punjab province’s output.
He said that there was a great potential in agriculture as well as industrial sector .South Punjab is also a backward area of the country but it pays more taxes than Faisalabad while unemployment ratio increased to 9.1 %.He suggested that Government should develop Special Economic Zone under CPEC in Multan to accommodate the maximum number of jobless persons.
He was of the view that Government should accommodate local engineers, skilled labour and joint venture be introduce for the survival of local investors. Lack of storage system is one of the major hurdles for export of vegetables and fruits from Multan International Airport for business community of South Punjab.
He said that civil service was one of the agents of development in any country and civil officers should fully cooperate with private sector in efforts aimed at economic revival of the country. He said civil officers should play facilitative role in resolving issues of business community so that private sector could grow up to its real potential. He said public-private partnership was the best approach to take the country forward on the road of sustainable economic development and civil officers should partner with private sector in steering the country out of current challenges.
Senior Vice President of MCCI Khawaja Badar Munir expressed his concern on the difficulties in clearance of goods at Taftan border .He said the absence of a credible payment mechanism remains the major irritant in the way of Pakistan-Iran trade. International sanctions, particularly those imposed by the US and European Union, targeted Iran’s banks. The sanctions prevented Pakistani banks from doing business with their Iranian counterparts including the opening of letters of credit (LC), which is the most credible method for carrying out international trade transactions. Trade was conducted through alternative payment mechanisms of limited scope, such as cash and to a certain extent through barter. He suggested that all possible measures for removal of impediments to Pakistan and Iran bilateral trade must be taken. “We should give much importance to boost up bilateral trade and economic relations with Iran,” He further said the mutual trade volume is much less between Pakistan and Iran as compared to Afghanistan, adding the official hurdles continue to impede trade, which is need to be removed with serious efforts.
Khawaha Badar said the absence of banking channels cast a pall over Pakistan-Iran trade, which plunged from $1.16 billion in 2009-10 to $318.69 million in 2015-16. Pakistan’s exports to Iran fell from $207.19 million to $35.48 million while imports from Iran decreased from $962.13 million to $283.21 million over this period. Khawaja Muhammad Usman ex-President of MCCI, Syed Iftikhar Ali Shah, Syeda Sarwat Zahra and Khurram Javed Butt Secretary General of MCCI also took part in discussion on different economic issues.