KARACHI: A World Bank Group’s Mission on Trade & Competitiveness led by its Operation Officer, Amjad Bashir visited the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry to seek business community’s input on the overall investment climate of Sindh, particularly the climate of industrial zones in Karachi.

President KCCI Younus Muhammad Bashir, other office bearers, Operations Analyst World Bank, Saima Zuberi Associate Operations Officer World Bank and KCCI Managing Committee members were present at the meeting.

Amjad Bashir, while highlighting the purpose of WB Mission’s visit, said that Sindh government has requested the World Bank Group on Trade & Competitiveness to carry out a detailed study and accordingly give guidelines on how to improve the overall industrial climate of the province.

He said that World Bank’s Trade and Competitiveness mission’s study has just begun and they will keep on visiting KCCI to take feedback on numerous issues. “We decided to hold the first meeting with representatives of the Karachi Chamber as we felt it necessary to initially take KCCI’s input on problems being faced by businessmen and industrialists of Karachi”, he added.

After listening to the problems highlighted by President KCCI, World Bank representative assured to prepare guidelines on improving the investment climate in light of the problems highlighted and recommendations given by the Karachi Chamber.

He said that the study will be focusing on identifying the investment barriers, problems of doing business, company registration, access to land & construction issues, level of facilitation, job creation, infrastructure, resource mobilization and the legal framework for contract enforcement for foreign investors which was very essential as no businessman would like to go for litigation. The study will also be reviewing the condition of common facilities including labs and effluent water treatment plants, besides focusing on the SMEs, their access to finance and taxation issues being faced by them, he added.

Earlier, while welcoming the World Bank’s Mission, President KCCI Younus Muhammad Bashir said that Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, being the largest chamber of the country, has a more diverse scope which includes efforts to promote inward foreign investment, facilitate investors, business match-making, identifying investment and trade opportunities and creating awareness.

Younus Bashir, highlighting some of the most pressing issues being faced by the businessmen and industrialists of Karachi, expressed deep concern over shortage of infrastructure of all seven industrial zones of Karachi. He pointed out that water, electricity and gas shortages were some of the serious issues faced by industrialists and require immediate attention.

He further suggested that Sindh government should invest on improving Karachi city’s water distribution network, sewerage lines and road network, which are in a dilapidated state. The department of Fire Brigade also needs government’s attention and funding for up-gradation.

He said that only one effluent water treatment plant for tannery sector was operational in Korangi industrial zone whereas no other effluent water treatment plants, which is one of the basic requirements of international buyers, have been established in any other industrial zone of the city which was a matter of grave concern. More effluent water treatment plants should be established in all industrial zones of the city that would help in minimizing the widespread pollution in industrial areas of Karachi, he opined.

He urged the Sindh government to take business and industrial community of Karachi on board if it is really serious in resolving issues being suffered by business community.

Referring to the successful operations of Metro Bus Service in Lahore, President KCCI stressed that the Sindh government must seriously focus on initiating Metro Train Service or revive Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project in order to deal with traffic congestions and pollution being caused due to rising number of vehicles. “Keeping in view the significant role being played by Karachi city in the economy of Pakistan and due to its growing population, I firmly believe that this city desperately requires latest and state-of-the-art transportation system”, he added.

He was of the opinion that law and order situation in Karachi was not an issue any more, thanks to the untiring efforts being made by Law Enforcing Agencies since September 2013 when Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif gave go ahead for Karachi Operation which helped in restoring peace to a certain extent all over the city.

Commenting on China Pakistan Economic Corridor, he said that $46 billion CPEC project was likely to have a major positive impact on the overall economic performance of Pakistan which will give easy access to Central Asian Republics.