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3rd Central Executive Committee Meeting of Business Forum of Punjab was held in Hospitality Inn on
31st January, 2012 chaired by Mr. Syed Nabeel Hashmi.
All District Boards Presidents & Members Attended.

BFP urges government to get serious about Economic Revival on war footing

The Central Executive Committee meeting of the Business Forum of Punjab met today at a local hotel. The meeting was attended by Chairman Syed Nabeel Hashmi, Persident Ibrahim Qureshi, Gen Secretary Sohail Yousaf and Chairman The Pakpur Foundation Haroon Khawaja.

Chairman Business Forum of Punjab Syed Nabeel Hashmi said that BFP is a Punjab-wide platform for the business community providing forceful and effective representation. He congratulated everyone on the formation of the ten districts boards of Punjab within a short period, The BFP provides a unique opportunity for the business community to portray a united front on challenges being faced. Mr Hashmi stated that the BFP is focusing on efforts to help build a strong and prosperous Pakistan with sustainable growth through effective governance and transparent policies.

Speaking at the occasion, Central President of the Business Forum of Punjab Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi, asked its district boards to setup standing committees to firm up broad based proposals and recommendations on education, health and social safety, governance, energy and natural resources, and economic development. The goal would be to devise a comprehensive province-wide social and economic growth strategy evolved by the grass-root district level stakeholders. He stated that the BFP is also working for better coordination amongst different business outfits and is putting in a system to resolve legal/tax issues faced by the business community. It is also exploring business opportunities worldwide through institutional arrangements with international outfits.

Various challenges being faced by the business community were deliberated threadbare and the BFP called upon the Government to:

  1. Devise a coherent Energy Policy that ensures permanent resolution of the energy crises.
    The solution should entail:

    • A plan for immediate privatization of the distribution and transmission system in the country. In order to avoid a situation like the one developed after the sale of KESC ... the generation, distribution and transmission elements of NTDC and PEPCO should be off loaded separately.
    • Regulatory Framework in energy sector needs to be reviewed to cut over-regulation, while making the regulators more professional and representative
    • Greenfield investment should focus towards projects driven from fuel locally available (e.g. Hydro, Coal, Biomass, Bagasse etc.)
    • Investor friendly environment and support should be provided for import and distribution of LNG as an alternate fuel
    • Exploration of new oil and gas resources must start on war footing. Hurdles in discoveries and projects on hold due to legal or bureaucratic issues should be immediately resolved.

  2. Ensure natural gas supply to Punjab based industries on the principal of equality applied throughout the country. BFP expresses full solidarity with industries in Punjab incurring heavy financial losses causing massive layoffs.
  3. Punjab based industries, having shown a consistent track record of on time payments, should be given the due customer service. There should, therefore, be no unscheduled load shedding.
  4. Whereas the BFP supports free trade with neighboring countries, it urges Government of Pakistan to exercise full caution on the issue of granting MFN status to India. BFP demands intensive interaction with stake holders including (but not limited) to the automotive, pharmaceutical, fan, agriculture and representative small & medium enterprises in districts Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat and Sahiwal which are likely to be affected directly once land base imports from India start.

    • BFP strongly urges a more proactive and meaningful role of commerce ministry in deliberations with India.
    • BFP invites FPCCI and other chambers and associations in the country to understand and develop a coherent front representing the position of the business community on the issue of MFN.
  5. A corruption monitoring cell has been formed in the BFP to assist its members fight against corruption that they face. Partnerships are being established with organizations like "Transparency International" and "Federal Tax Ombudsman" in this respect.
  6. Inflation in Pakistan is driven by reckless borrowing of the government through printing of currency rather than the State Bank's monetary policy. The forum demanded the State Bank to immediately reduce markup rates down to single digit.
  7. The forum welcomed the reduction of sales tax to 5% on tractors production.

The meeting was also addressed by executive committee members Mr S M Tanvir, Mr Tariq Siraj Jafri, Hafiz Ahsan Ahmad and Mrs. Ayesha Hamid.

Chairman Pakpur Foundation, Mr Haroon Khawaja, also attended the meeting and appreciated the impressive progress made by the Business Forum of Punjab to establish itself as a much needed province-wide representative and professional outfit. He commended the large gathering of distinguished businessmen to assemble on the uniquely structured platform of BFP and hoped that this model would gradually became a solution provider for good policies and better governance at provincial and national level.

Presidents of district boards of BFP including Mr Asad Sujah ur Rehman, Lahore, Mr Javed Iqbal Faisalabad, Mr Zulfiqar Hayat Sialkot, Mr Shimail Daud Rawalpindi, Mr Khawaja Anees Multan, Mr Amer Aziz Gujranwala, Mr Abdul Rauf Rahim Yar Khan, Mr Khawer Rafiq Gujrat and Mr Khalil ur Rehman Okara attended along with their members. The meeting ended with a vote of thanks by Mr Sohail Yusaf, General Secretary of BFP.

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