PESHAWAR - The United Business Group (UBG) has gained support of various regional chambers of commerce and industry for the victory of its candidate for Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) top slot in the apex trade body’s upcoming elections.

The UBG has nominated Ghazanfar Bilour, a former president of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and kin of the influential politico-cum-business family of Peshawar, for the top FPCCI’s slot, while former Haripur Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Atif Sheikh for vice president position in upcoming elections of the trade body, which is scheduled to be held on December 29 in Karachi.

The top slot of the FPCCI is elected rotational from all federating units and federal capital Islamabad. The sitting president of FPCCI, Zubair Tufail, is representing Islamabad and the next term is of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is pertinent to mention here that the rival Businessman Panel (BMP) has nominated former JUI Senator Ghulam Ali as candidates for the post of the president, while former KCCI president Nasir Hayat has been nominated for the post of senior vice president.

On Tuesday, a press briefing arranged by Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, wherein the presidents and office bearers of various regional chambers of commerce and industry expressed full support to UBG presidential candidate Ghazanfar Bilour. On the occasion, announcement was made about nomination of Atif Akram Sheikh as vice president of FPCCI’s elections for next year.

Talking to media persons, Ghazanfar Bilour extended special gratitude to UBG leadership for reposing confidence in him for the FPCCI top slot. “I will make vigorous efforts for resolution of business community’s issues on priority basis, particularly refunds, he said.

Flanked by the Sarhad chamber president Zahidullah Shinwari and other office bearers, he asked the government to revise the electricity and gas tariff aimed to promote industrialisation in the country and enhance exports. He said UBG had played an important role in resolution of problems of business community.

Shinwari said that the contest of Ghazanfar on top position of the FPCCI is right decision of the United Businessmen Group, because he belongs from business community. He also assured that the Sarhad chamber will fully support him in the election. He said that presence of the leadership of various chambers was a clear indication towards the support of UBG candidate for FPCCI’s top slot. He hoped that UBG candidate will become victorious in the upcoming elections of the apex trade body. Shinwari criticised the incumbent government for allegedly ignoring the business community in policymaking particularly relating to economic policies, agenda. He also expressed concerns over not giving due share to terrorism affected Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the multi-billion dollars China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The Sarhad chamber president also came hard over the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for failing to bring investment and improving economy of the province.

 The government, he said, also lost the opportunity to boost up trade with neighboring Afghanistan. He said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had prepared more than 17 proposals, but not a single recommendation was incorporated by the federal government for rapid industrialisation, economic growth, and enhancement of exports volume with neighbouring countries.

Earlier, the presidents of various chambers of commerce and industry from across the province include, Iftikhar Ahmad from Abbottabad, Ahmad Khan from Swat, Ihsan Bacha from Mardan, Nauman Faqeer from Charsadda, Sikandar Khan, and newly nominated UBG vice president for FPCCI election for next year, Atif Sheikh, and office bearers of Dir CCI also spoken on the occasion.

They expressed full confidence over the decision of UBG for nominating Bilour for FPCCI’s top slot, and said that they would fully support him. They also hoped that the UBG candidate will win the election race and omen to resolve the issue of terrorism-affected business community on priority basis.