KARACHI – President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday underlined the need for women empowerment, especially in business and asked the leadership of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) to enhance the institutions’ role in women empowerment.
Addressing the members of KCCI during his visit to the chamber, the president appreciated the contribution of the Chamber in empowerment of women besides promoting trade and industry in the city, which is the economic hub of the country.
The KCCI leadership should come forward to help out women entrepreneurs in getting soft loans from the banks, he said adding the State Bank of Pakistan was very active to provide maximum financial support to the business women.
He said the country could not progress and prosper unless maximum participation of women in every profession and field was ensured.
Responding to the KCCI leadership who highlighted the issues facing Karachi, the President Alvi said the country’s progress was linked to Karachi’s development and that provision of basic amenities to the citizens were essential.
He said for managing the shortage of water in the city, there was need to recycle sewage water by setting up treatment plants. Presently, huge quantity of sewage water was being pumped into the sea and no one was taken accountable, he added.
The solution of water issue in Karachi was desalination of sewage and saline water of the sea, he said adding there must be its single buyer like Karachi Municipal Corporation to purchase desalinated water from private investors. At least, this could be used by industrial consumption, he added.
“I have suggested Sindh government to set up Sindh Water Authority or Karachi Water Authority for effectively tackling the water issue,” he added.
He said with increasing population and lack of the required scale of development in the past, Karachi once a beautiful city was facing infrastructure and other civic issues. The city expanded unplanned and Kachiabadies turned into banglows and high rises but the infrastructure and civic amenities remained almost the same.
Over the period, he added, however, some residential societies like PECHS emerged as post areas of the city.
He said Karachi Development Authority, the very important civic agency, also failed to play its due role.
“Over the passage of time, this beautiful city turned into a congested city,” he said and recalled the old days of his childhood when the city looked clean and beautiful.
A comprehensive and inclusive development plan was required for the city on the pattern of national economic programme that included ‘Ehsaas’ programme for the poor, he added.
The availability of potable water was another serious issue of the city, but he was satisfied that the work on mega water supply scheme of K-4 was going well and hopefully it would be completed by the end of 2023, he said.
He said Karachi contributed 65 percent of federal taxes revenue, 95% in the provincial taxes and had 55% share in the country’s total exports. Karachi had been contributing a lot in the development of the country and it was actually the business community of Karachi doing all this great job, he said.
He regretted that in return Karachi was given nothing; even it lacked basic infrastructure. However, he said, the process of uplift of the city’s infrastructure had started by the federal government and that Green Line was the best project for Karachiites.
The president said the government had dully consulted with all the stakeholders on the development projects in the country.
He said with restoration of peace in Afghanistan, the pace of work on the joint energy projects with regional countries would get momentum.
He said as a part of the government’s efforts to strengthen the economy and ensure its sustained growth, every possible support and facilitation was being extended to the housing and construction industry having big potential as around 70 other industries were affiliated with it directly or indirectly. The industry had witnessed boom over last two years which generated big employment along with the provision of houses to the common man at low cost.
He said information technology was the fast-growing economic sector in Pakistan and there was a big room for investment; mainly of venture capital. “Future is of IT,” he remarked. The president also mentioned that fishing corridor needed support and management on scientific basis as it had huge economic potential. Pakistan could earn big amount of foreign exchange by fish export. However, he regretted, this sector was being destroyed by using very thick nets and there was unnecessarily large number of trawlers busy in fishing.
The president endorsed that the private sector must be taken on board in policy making and initiatives being taken by governments at the central and provincial levels.
He said the job of the government was to ensure the ease of doing business for the private sector.
Under public-private partnership, skill development programmes should be launched and carried out with all seriousness so that industries would have the best workforce as per their requirement, he added.
He said the universities had already been directed to focus on market-oriented education and training instead of producing chunk of simple graduates.
The president assured of the best support to the business community and the women from those institutions functioning under his office, which included Federal Ombudsman, Federal Tax Ombudsman and Women Ombudsman.
He appreciated the performance of these institutions and urged the business community and women to maintain close liaison with them.
The prominent business leaders including President of KCCI Muhammad Idress Memon, Chairman of Businessmen Group in KCCI and former president KCCI Muhammad Zubair Motiwala, former presidents A Q Khalil and Tahir Khalil, Vice Chairman of BMG and former senior vice president of KCCI Muhammad Jawed Bilwani.