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TMCNet:  ECONOMIC TURNAROUND OF PAKISTAN IS ON THE CARDS

[January 08, 2014]

ECONOMIC TURNAROUND OF PAKISTAN IS ON THE CARDS

(Pakistan & Gulf Economist Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) PROFILE MR. ISMAIL SUTTAR, VICE PRESIDENT THE FEDERATION OF PAKISTAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY (FPCCI) Mr. Ismail Suttar represents Lasbela Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Hub, Lasbela, Balochistan on the Executive Committee of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI). He was also the LCCI representative on FPCCI General Body during 2007-2008.


BUSINESS INFORMATION Managing Partner, Karachi Office: Hub Pak Salt Refinery, 10, Bangalore Town, C-206-207, HITE, Hub, Lasbela. Shahrah-e-Faisal, Karachi.

Tel: 0853 303451-2 Tel: 021-34310038-9 Fax: 0853-303259 Fax: 021-34310037 Mobile: 0300-8208378 E-Mail: ismail@hubpak.com - Manufactures and exporters of food grade, industrial grade, pharmaceutical grade and other types of Sodium Chloride (Salt).

- Large Manufacturing set ups at Hub, District Lasbela, Balochistan and Mithi, District Tharparkar, Sindh.

ACADEMIC Schooling from St. Patrick High School, and Graduation from Government College of Commerce and Economics. Master of Business Administration (Marketing) from The International University, Missouri, USA.

BUSINESS EXPERIENCE Having traveled numerous countries across the globe, the vast exposure to the trade and industry outside Pakistan has helped Mr. Ismail Suttar conceive and implement similar strategic plans for local development of industry.

Being pioneers in developing Salt as a value added mineral on a large industrial scale in Pakistan, Mr. Ismail Suttar has dedicated day and night for the past 28 years in promoting Salt as an industry in Pakistan and his enterprise namely M/s. Hub Pak Salt refinery is catering to numerous industrial as well as domestic consumers on a large scale thus contributing huge revenues to the national exchequer and earning huge foreign exchange through export of Salt products in large quantities.

FULFILLMENT OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY In addition to providing much needed employment opportunities in Balochistan and Sindh, his enterprise M/s. Hub Pak Salt Refinery is fulfilling its corporate social responsibility by way of running a school namely Jamia Al-Mariam at Hub on free cost for local population, where more than 150 students are studying.

They are also running a well equipped hospital having a competent team of qualified medical doctors namely Halima Hospital at Hub purely on charitable basis where treatment is provided to more than 200 patients daily. So far thousands of patients have been treated by way of conducting free eye cataract surgeries, eradication of Hepatitis etc.

PROFESSIONAL POSITION HELD Vice Chairman, National Mirror Committee (NMC) on environmental management of PSQCA.

Member, Salt Institute, Washington, USA.

Member, ICC IDD (International Committee for the control of Iodine deficiency disorders).

POSITIONS HELD IN LCCI President (2013-2014) Member, Executive Committee (2007, 2011 and 2012) Senior Vice President, (2008) Vice President, (2009, 2011) Chairman, Law and Order Sub-Committee (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) Chairman, Environment Sub-Committee (2011) Chairman, Labor and Social Welfare (2007, 2008) Chairman, Labor, Social Welfare and Human Resource Sub-Committee (2013) Member, Lasbela Development Committee, Hub, Lasbela Ismail Suttar, a seasoned industrialist and the managing partner of Hub Pak Salt Refinery, who is also the Vice President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) is confident that the situation has arrived when the national economy is on the corner of a turnaround. In an interview he said that if we work together with a single point agenda to take the economy out of the mess nothing would stop to achieve that cherished goal.

PAGE: WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, BUSINESS ACTIVITIES AND BUSINESS SENTIMENTS PREVAILING CURRENTLY IN THE COUNTRY? ISMAIL: If we analyze the political situation of Pakistan at the macro level, it seems to be stabilized but when it comes to micro lens observation, then there is a lot of vacuum in between. Realistic vision with constant and efficient hard work is something that is required to accomplish what we dream of as a vision 2025. As far as socio-economic development is concerned, our society is unfortunately still divided into have and have not, the rich are getting richer and vice versa for the lower class. Employment rate and incentives for business communities should increase. Not to mention when the previous government was in power, business sentiments were a bit negative but as soon as the new elected government came up to the surface, not only business activities grew but it also created a hope for a better future. Now is the time to steer the gear towards making Pakistan a development state rather than a security state.

PAGE: HOW DO YOU SEE THE STABILITY OF PAKISTAN OVERALL? ISMAIL: The political and economic situation has come to a stage from where if we steer ourselves up, nothing can stop us from climbing up the ladder of success. Pakistan comes under a developing nation category and it will soon be a developed one IN SHAH ALLAH. What we need is just to make ourselves determined towards achieving our goals. Let’s take an example of Saudi Arabia, it’s blessed with natural wealth since its inception but that wealth was discovered only in 1968. If this phenomenal natural wealth would have been discovered in 1930s, the then British empire would never have left that place and as only ALLAH knows the right time of action, that’s the reason that events unfolded this way. Hopes are high and even God forbid if the situation gets any worse, it will be for a very short span as Pakistan has everything from natural resources to brains and if they are utilized with sincere efforts, Pakistan evolving into one of the leading nations of the world would not be a dream for us anymore.

PAGE: WOULD YOU LIKE TO POINT OUT THE PROBLEMS OF YOUR INDUSTRIAL ZONE? ISMAIL: Hub Industrial Trading Estate is one of the most developed industrial trading estates located almost at an arm’s length within the vicinity of Karachi.

Lasbela Chamber of Commerce, LIEDA (Lasbela Industrial Estates Development Authority) and HITE are interlinked in such a way that they all complement each other. LIEDA that runs day to day affairs of industrial estate also serves more than 250 industries.

Not only LIEDA that runs day to day affairs of industrial estate and serves 250 plus industries but the Chamber (LCCI) also makes itself connected with the daily affairs of LIEDA and makes sure that each and every member gets facilitated with all the available industrial estate resources i.e. water, gas, electricity etc.

The only thing that should be focused on by federal government with the pursuance of the provincial government is to provide a bypass to the city of Hub. The PC-1 for the bypass has been approved and we are just waiting for the release of funds from the federal government to the NHA so that the business and commercial activity in the region does not become a menace for the local population that has grown tremendously in recent past due to this industrially active city of Balochistan province. Nevertheless, to ensure the smooth inflows of heavy machinery and equipment for the upcoming heated Gadani Project, this bypass has become the immediate need of time.

PAGE: IS THERE ARE ANY NEW UNITS BEING SET UP IN YOUR ZONE AND EXTENSION ARE BEING DONE? ISMAIL: Yes, there are plans to do so and we have got numerous applications for industrial plots but now the wait is just to get done with the establishment of HITE phase 2 as we have already acquired 400 acres area of land for this purpose and as soon as it is completed, you will certainly see new industrial units coming up at HITE.

PAGE: WHAT KIND OF INFRASTRUCTURE REQUIRED IN YOUR INDUSTRIAL ZONE? ISMAIL: An already developed industrial trading park is there, what we require is just the funding for Phase 2 HITE of which establishment is under process right now. Water project with a cost of Rs378 million has been approved under Public Sector Development Program and the work is in progress. We are shortly looking forward for uninterrupted federal funding as well so that this project can be completed soon.

PAGE: DO YOU THINK THAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED SOME STABILITY IN RECENT PAST? ISMAIL: Unfortunately, in the recent past, pace of progress has remained near to zero, but I am still hopeful that we will rise soon Insha’Allah.

If the government is keeping the red tape zone at bay and let the industrial activity flourish on its own, you will shortly see our GDP at a rising trend with creation of job opportunities, eradication of poverty that automatically leads towards making the standards of living better.

PAGE: YOUR COMMENTS ON THE REPEATEDLY REVISED REVENUE TARGET? ISMAIL: Obviously it will create a negative impact and if the situation remains constant, it will lead to the alarming time soon for which we should be ready. Victors are the ones who are well prepared for their worst scenarios.

PAGE: FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW WHAT ARE THE ISSUES WITH THE REVENUE AND MEETING THE TARGETS? ISMAIL: We certainly face challenges, but I assure you that they can hardly be the ones which can’t be overcome. Personally, I believe that the role of effective regulation only increases as the economy becomes more integrated and more market-oriented. Markets in themselves have no moral character. Inherently, they are neither good, nor evil. But they remain very powerful tools that distribute goods and services across the economy. Regulation is necessary because it gives markets a direction and can govern them with a set of values, which markets do not possess innately. Less, but more effective regulation is the need of the hour for our own economy too. It’s an essential part of what is needed today to get the economy on a track for steady and sustainable growth. The government’s footprint in some sectors of the economy is very large, and quite negligible in other sectors. Such divergence is unhealthy. For instance, the government has a very large presence in our agriculture and energy markets.

Those sectors are, in some ways, over-regulated. Too much regulation and red tape can breed incentives for the abuse of power, mismanagement and corruption. It also acts as a disincentive for the private sector. And we must remember here that it is always the private sector that functions as the engine of the economy.

However, effective regulation is sorely lacking in other sectors. The tax machinery can be tightened considerably. One of the country’s most challenging problems today is the size of the fiscal deficit - and a large part of the solution lies in increasing our tax base by enacting regulation that encourages tax compliance, and punishes tax evasion. Therefore, better tax collection is a necessary condition for faster economic growth. And for that we need to have more effective tax regulation.

All in all as with most economic problems, there is no immediate solution. Both problems require systemic changes that will take time to achieve, through the implementation of effective regulation and a move towards greater private sector participation.

Nevertheless, this economy remains quite far below the potential; however, the solutions to our problems regarding faster growth are an open secret. It’s only a question of implementing them.

PAGE: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BE ACTIVE IN TRADE AND INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP? ISMAIL: Welfare of mankind is something that revolves around me. My inclination towards social sector has been there since long and not to mention the chamber (LCCI) has provided me with one of the platforms through which I can go with my co-industrialist’s matters hand to hand.

Helping others is something that makes me content. Now if I specifically mention the work done by the Lasbela Chamber then LDC (Lasbela Development Committee) fund is something to name in. LDC funds functions by collecting money through LIEDA from all the industries at the Hub Industrial Estate, which donate Rs5 per 1,000 gallons of water supplied to them and then that collected money is given to various social sector development projects like construction of tube wells, repair and maintenance of mosques, furniture and computers provision to underprivileged schools etc.

All in all, for me the line of work I am in is something that I not only enjoy but love it simply and that’s what makes me feel like I haven’t worked even a day.

PAGE: YOUR COMMENTS ON THE QUALITY OF THE BUSINESS GRADUATES WE ARE PRODUCING? ISMAIL: Our nation has got the brains and you know the rest depends upon the user as how he wants to get the result out of it. Unfortunately, our educational institutions are not directing our kids the right way and that makes them come up with the standards that cannot be matched with.

What we need to do is to change our curriculum in such a way that none of the individual is in search of job but is the one who creates job opportunities, we need entrepreneurs, we need individuals who respect each and every job and never run for the shortcuts. And I can assure you that if it gets started, nothing can stop Pakistan to shine like a star.

Professor Atta Ur Rehman has done a great job by initializing different funds scheme for the brilliant students but unfortunately his era ended soon. But still keeping hopes high, if a person of his experience and with a broad mindset comes up with the same sincere efforts as his, then in the near term, a visible and noticeable change would come.

PAGE: WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS? ISMAIL: Trust ALLAH and give your best is something I believe in and when these two things are present, then whatever the outcome is, you remain contented.

Nevertheless, entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Running a business can be challenging and it takes hard work and perseverance to achieve a high level of success. If you want to have success, you can't make success your goal. The key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant and the success will naturally follow.

If you do work that you love, and work that fulfills you, the rest will come. I truly believe that the reason I've been able to be so financially successful is because my focus has never, ever for one minute been money and I have been never afraid to lose. Plus when it comes to making up your business family, it's critical to spend the time early on to hire the right exceptional people who feel valued to be part of your family and if you are disciplined in finding the best and brightest people who are also team players then management is easy.

Do as much hard work as you can i.e. always go the extra mile, there's a lot less traffic up there and always aim towards earning through the Halal sources as then ALLAH is with you and when HE is there then there is nothing left to look for, success will definitely be yours.

PAGE: WHAT IS YOUR GROUP’S ROLE IN CSR? ISMAIL: Jamia Al Mariam is a charity-based school founded in 1997 with almost 250 students enrolled in. Today it is being taught by the faculty of 11 teachers. These are the local children that come from nearby area to get benefited from the quality of education that Jamia Al Marium is set to provide. Not to mention almost all the teachers teaching at this institution are ex students of this very school, which itself signifies the value of individuals that this school is producing.

Halima hospital is another project, which started with the setup of being a small dispensary back in 1996 that with the passage of time and seeing the suffering of the masses has grown into a small charity-based hospital catering to the needs of all the local patients who can’t afford or have no other means of acquiring heath care facilities. Here patients are treated almost free of charge as they have only to pay Rs20 as a token entrance and sophisticated tests like ultrasound are done just for Rs100 and even if someone is unable to pay this it is done from the zakat account for free. So far, we have treated almost 10,000 patients of Hepatitis C, which unfortunately are high in percentage in the Lasbela area of Balochistan. There is also a small laboratory where most tests related to different diseases along with Hepatitis are being done at a very nominal fee, which is even much less than its actual cost.

We have a very well managed eye clinic running for the past 10 years now and have managed to screen out 100 percent cataract cases as they are getting regularly operated with state-of-the-art Pheco technology. This setup is again being managed by a very dedicated team with weekly clinics and treatments including surgeries of over 200 patients every month. There are many other industrial units carrying out CSR activities at different scales from which local population is being benefited.

PAGE: WHAT ARE THE CORE VALUES OF BUSINESS IN YOUR GROUP? ISMAIL: Well if you are asking about my personal business, which is mining and processing of salt it is doing well and growing at its pace. We are now working on the big projects from the production perspective and will make Pakistan one of the leading exporting countries on the globe. As you know the consumption of salt is centralized in the region, which is just next to ours whereas the world leaders in salt manufacturing for the export market are Australia and Mexico, which are far away from this region and should have this disadvantage of distance. Although these projects are very large in size, I see no reason why Pakistan can’t grow into a large scale exporter of salt like Australia and Mexico as we have the entire conducive environment which a salt facility needs. I would like to mention here the extra ordinary hard work of each and every member of my team in making our goals accomplished.

PAGE: THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN MANAGING YOUR BUSINESS? ISMAIL: Every day brings a new challenge for the day; there is not a single day in business without challenge. However the biggest challenge in my or in any other business is when there is a CHANGE in any of the business fundamentals which can be a change in the business goal or a CHANGE in the management hierarchy but our talented young Pakistani professionals are very adaptive to change and adjust very fast to the new change in the environment they are working in.

Therefore, the biggest challenge is in managing a change but in this area, I have been very lucky to have been blessed with a team of young professionals who are exceptionally adaptive and very energetic which results in very fast growth in the development of the company.

PAGE: HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR LEISURE TIME? ISMAIL: My work is what I love so that already describes that in my leisure time I am at work. We are family and the individuals working here are the members. Continuous small improvement i.e. the kaizen principle is our main focus. And yes whether it’s training, workshop or anything, which makes my members more productive and successful, I am in for that.

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