Participation of industrialists in national trade policy need of hour: PSMA General Secretary

General Secretary Pakistan Sugar Mills Association Dr Hassan Iqbal in an interview Alliance News Correspondent

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By Shabbir Hussain

ISLAMABAD, Mar 13  (Alliance News): General Secretary Pakistan Sugar Mills Association Dr Hassan Iqbal said that It was need of the hour to consider a sizable numbers of business community, industrialists and concerned stake holders in legislation process, besides taking their inputs in policy formation seriously.

Dr Hassan Iqbal of the view that due participation of the concerned community in legislation process would help to address the issues related to businessmen and industrialists and a way forward to establish healthy trade culture in the country, which is, he termed  more imperative for sustainable growth.

 

These remarks were expressed by the General Secretary Sugar Mills Association Dr Hassan Iqbal in an exclusive interview with Alliance News correspondent.

It is a pity, he said in Pakistan there are few in numbers those have been consider for legislation process and that little participation of business community can not depicts the real pictures of their outstanding issues and help government to proposed a balance and comprehensive national trade policy for future.

Dr Hassan Iqbal said that Industrialists were facing a myriad of challenges, ranging from legal barriers that prevent them from establishing a business, to lack of access to loans and financial know-how.

 

In many developing countries, He said the focus is on to build capacity of businesses  entrepreneurs, ecosystem intermediaries, as well as investors in order to increase the investments.

Replying to a question, he said Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) Punjab Zone have often warned the government well in time about upcoming crisis, sugar mills are likely to face financial constraints and default on payment of their dues in the coming days, he added.

Dr Hassan Iqbal expressed his agony and reservations about the fixing of sugar price by the government of Punjab because due to which all provincial mills were facing a financial crisis.

Keeping in view the situation and problems of the sector, he feared that the sugar industry was heading towards a crisis-like situation after which most of the mills might default on bank loan repayments, payments to growers, sales tax dues, income tax and other government dues, he added.

Apart from these issues, Hassan Iqbal said the disbursement of salaries and wages to employees would also be affected as thousands of families directly or indirectly depended on the sugar industry.

Replying to a question regarding the power of policy making and legislation in Pakistan is concentrated in the civil and military bureaucracy and often when political parties come to power, they become instruments of the state instead of the people. How the public and stakeholders can be involved in policy and legislation, Dr Hassan Iqbal said that through comprehensive dialogue, consultation with concerned quarters and seeking experts’ opinions on the matter.

He said that in the dialogue process one thing is quite important that is an equal participation of the members of industry, chambers, business community which would yield a better result regarding the formation of the policy and would help in its implementation at larger level.

He was of the view that the bureaucrats never know what the sufferings of a small businessman, what are the problem they are facing, only its true representation in the right forum would help to identify their problems and way forward to address them effectively.

To another query ۔ If the current system is replaced by a proportional representation of all stake holders in Parliament, he said that its important and vital step to ensure and introduce a balance trade policy in the country.

It would be the outcomes of the recommendation and inputs of well skilled, visionary and knowledgeable people including members of chamber associations, industry, economists’ business, trade and other associations representing in the Parliament.

Dr Hassan Iqbal said the proposed step and concerned participation in the parliament will not only ensure better formation of the policy but also help improve governance, besides the representation of all stake holders in the legislation process and it will also weaken the feudal system in the country.

Replying to another question posed by the correspondent of Alliance News regarding What if the implementation of the policy is done through the associations and public representations of the concerned stakeholders instead of the bureaucracy, PSMA General Secretary said that this would enhance the trust of the business community and would help to bridge the gap between government and trade associations.

Hassan said that it would be a more suitable option where all the stake holder or representatives of the business community directly taking the ownership of the government trade policy and ultimately would be accountable in front of parent association.

He expressed his displeasure over none serious attitude of the members parliament while preparing trade and industry policy without taking stake holders inputs.

Dr Hassan said said that most of the women members parliament don’t know or they may be having no knowledge about what are the real issues of business community in Pakistan, adding in this situation how one can think that they would propose a welfare policy in the parliament etc.

Talking about the Tax collection and the government’s legislation on the matter he said that so far Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is doing great job in collection of Taxes by making proper legislation and introducing some innovative Tax policies to attract the business community maximum.

Dr Hassan of the view that there must be reward and acknowledgment policy for those who were depositing a huge number of tax every year in the national kitty.

He said that a reward can be an appreciation certificate or few sweet words in their favor that ultimately would encourage tax depositing trends in the country.

Replying to another question about how to promote the culture of good governance in the country and can change in Pakistan be achieved through reforms or it demands a revolution, he said that bringing reforms in our institutions through an evolutionary process of settling things, besides keeping in mind the global scenarios are looking more imperative and unavoidable.

He said that reforms are the only solution to introduce a positive and progressive change in the country that can be witness in our social system.

For, successful reforms and its implantation policy, he said that It should be based on reward and punishment trends which would not only ensure the working efficiency of our institutions but also help to maintain and promote the meritocracy culture in the country.

While giving suggestion to improve further the country’s national policy about trade and industry, Dr Hassan said that involvement of the concerned stakeholder including members of the trade and industry association, economists and their active participation in policy formation would contribute a lot to further expands it for better results.

They can be involvement in the policy by conducting national seminars, workshops to deliberate upon the trade and industry policy and after considering, listening suggestions and recommendations of the concern stakeholder, one can (the government) easily prepared a trade and industry friendly policy, he remarked.

To another query about which method or process is right for public struggle and movement, he said that a comprehensive dialogue, lobbying’s and conducting seminars are the most sophisticated methods of public struggle for any cause and reason.

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