A total of 350 key business professionals in Karachi were hosted by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Regional Division for an evening meeting on the theme ‘Harnessing the True Potential of Pakistan,’ which was a first-of-its-kind in the Pakistani financial capital Karachi.
The event attracted the key political movers and shakers of Karachi and included the two key political parties of Pakistan, who debated the key obstacles faced by the Pakistani economy.
The panel included Asad Umar, the Senior Vice President of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaaf party who was awarded the Sitra-i-Imtiaz (star of distinction) by the Government of Pakistan in 2010.
From Sri Lanka, top business professional and war-time Director Economic Affairs of the Government Peace Secretariat Rohantha Athukorala represented the country and shared some key insights on the role of the private sector in fighting terrorism and thereafter explained Sri Lanka’s experience of becoming a top 50 country globally.
The panel deliberated on the key strategies required in unleashing the true potential of Pakistan. The top issue on the agenda was the looming power crisis that was reported to have the potential of wiping away almost a billion dollars in exports for 2012, whilst the next issue that was highlighted was the 2014 GSP+ trade agreement that was at negotiation stage with the EU.
The MOU with China on developing an export-oriented industrial village was deliberated next by the team, given that many incentives were offered in the Budget of 2012/2013 for sprucing up business activity.
The Sri Lankan experience shared by Athukorala highlighted where the country was way back in 2009, ranked 79 by the World Economic Forum, and how it climbed to number 63 by 2010 with some sharp strategies by the Sri Lankan private and public sector, making the country rate in the top 50 by 2011, with the economy catapulting to 59 billion dollars when it was a mere 20 billion in the 1990s. This is the impact of peace dividend, voiced the Sri Lankan panellist at the forum.
Thereafter he went into key strategies the private sector pioneered with the support of the Government. One key insight was the need to shape one’s future when working on trade agreements rather than just being engaged in trade, said Athukorala.
To explain this point, he highlighted how the Sri Lankan textile industry had earned respect by becoming the ‘Ethical Sourcing Destination of the World,’ with some cutting edge business and industry strategies, whilst the tea Industry had taken the high ground globally with a unique private-public partnership with Ceylon Tea taking the position of ‘the first Ozone Friendly Tea’ in the world.
Athukorala also explained the role that the private sector had to shoulder in supporting the Sri Lankan Government in eradicating one of the most ruthless terror organisations in the world.
Some interesting questions were fielded by the audience at the Q&A session on Sri Lanka and one was on integrating the rural industry with the ‘Devi Neguma’ project, which is exactly what Pakistan requires given the poverty levels of the country, said a Pakistani businessmen operating in the pharmaceutical industry.
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Regional Director for South Asia, North America and the Middle East Bradley Emerson concluded the evening meeting by highlighting the importance of unleashing the real potential of the Pakistan economy and how CIMA would support in providing the human resources required in the area of management accountancy. He also emphasised that many such programs would take form in the near future in the financial capital of Pakistan.