FAISALABAD -  SM Muneer has announced quitting as chief executive officer of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and joining politics of traders’ unions.

Addressing a function in Faisalabad, he said that he would play an active role in traders’ politics and hold trader conventions across the country.

He said the United Business Group (UBG) was the true representative of the business community of Pakistan. "It has made third consecutive clean sweep in the elections of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI)," he said. Pakistan's interest always remained near and dear to his heart, he said.

"As CEO of TDAP, I tried my best to plug the loopholes and curb corruption in the organisation. Corruption in the organisation has been decreased to zero over the last three years," he said. He said that despite his best efforts some disgruntled elements were creating hurdle in the smooth functioning of this organisation. He said that Mian Idrees, being the first elected president of the FPCCI from UBG, played his full role to revive the body and put it on the right track. He said that Mian Idrees spent Rs10 million from his own pocket on renovation of the FPCCI hall, which had been named after his father. He said that there was a time when the FPCCI was at the brink of bankruptcy and it had no money to pay salaries to its staff. However, now a splendid building of FPCCI in Islamabad has been completed and “we have enough money in our kitty to expand its activities”.

He said the manufacturing sector of Pakistan was passing through a deep crisis and this was the reason that his sons had switched to business and set up their own shops in Lahore. He said that unnecessary expenditure was checked and this helped TDAP earn profit of Rs300 million. He said that earlier an expo was arranged at the cost of Rs260 million, but “we arranged this expo at the cost of just Rs130 million”.

Regarding Aalishaan Exhibition, he said “we spent Rs250 million whereas the previous event was organised at the cost of Rs300 to Rs350 million. He said that he had accepted the office of the TDAP CEO as a challenge and tried his best to double Pakistani exports within three years, but could not achieve this target due to the global recession, which was beyond his control. He quoted the example of his own company and said that its export were around Rs3.5 billion and now they had decreased to Rs980 million. He said the Gulf Food Exhibition was arranged in a best manner and it played a role in introducing Pakistani food and projecting soft image of Pakistan abroad.

He said that earlier 118 trade delegations were sent abroad. Last year this number jumped to 140. This year, he said, 160 delegations will be sent to different traditional and nontraditional markets. He said the energy crisis was almost over and the credit went to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He asked the business community to wait for some time and there would be surplus electricity available to run the industrial units round the clock. He said the economic situation had improved considerably since 2013, as foreign investors were regularly visiting Pakistan. "Hotels in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad are fully occupied," he said. The Pakistan Stock Exchange has made a tremendous progress and is now among top five stock exchanges of the world. He said that despite all these positive indicators refunds of Rs300 billion were not being paid to exporters.

He said that on the request of the prime minister he had visited Moscow twice and resolved issues that were hindering the bilateral trade. Similarly, he said, trade relations with Iran had improved considerably. However, he said, the govt had failed to satisfy the business community despite all positive indicators therefore he had decided to quit TDAP and organise traders conventions throughout the country. He said that he had made repeated requests for a meeting with the prime minister, but to no avail. He said that traders must unite to pressurise the government to accept their “genuine demands”.

FPCCI President Zubair Tufail said the business community of Pakistan was passing through a critical phase. He said the new budget was around the corner and this month was very important for them to have their demands incorporated in the next budget.

Mian Idrees, former president of the FPCCI, said the business community of Pakistan was with the UBG. However, he said, the group had to take practical steps to resolve issues facing businessmen.

Later Mian Javaid Iqbal presented an FCCI shield to SM Muneer and other guests from FPCCI. SVP Rana Sikandar-e-Azam presented a note of thanks.


our staff repoter