Punjab Governor for business community’s preparedness to benefit from GSP-plus

KARACHI: Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar on Friday emphasised on creating awareness among the business community to prepare themselves for reaping benefits of GSP-plus facility for Pakistan by the European Union; providing duty-free market access to over 6,000 Pakistani goods.

Pakistan can benefit from the GSP-plus status after meeting 27 conventions which include protection of human rights especially of women, children and minorities, and upgradation of infrastructure and addressing the energy crisis in the country besides diversification of products instead of sticking to textile industry.

The Governor Punjab was speaking at separate receptions held in his honour by All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) here to acknowledge his very important role in getting GSP-plus status for Pakistan which once seemed to be impossible after Pakistan was placed in a block with nine other countries labelled “as involved in gross violations of human rights.”

Prominent at the APTMA were its Central Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Siddik, Chairman APTMA’s Sindh-Balochistan Zone Tariq Saud, Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, S.M. Muneer, APTMA’s former president Gohar Ejaz.

At FPCCI, the senior business leaders were FPCCI’s President Zubair Ahmed Malik and the Vice Presidents, Azhar Saeed Butt, Illyas Shaheen Sarwana, Naveed Jan Baloch, Abdul Khaliq Khan, Begum Salma Ahmed, FPCCI President-elect Zakria Usman, President of Pak-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry and former president FPCCI, S.M. Muneer and Dr. Mushtaq Noorwala.

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar recounted his efforts/ lobbying to change the hostile attitude of EU members in favour of Pakistan and finally Pakistan got 409 votes out of total 767 EU member votes.

He elaborated that Pakistan was blocked with other nine countries from different continents even those countries having been disreputed for human rights violations, civil wars etc. Some of the EU members countries were of the opinion that Pakistan did not deserve the facility/ status of GSP-plus as its textile exports were already higher than the threshold set by the EU.

Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said that he had to work very hard to convince the EU member countries that Pakistan had no issue of human rights and of the discrimination of minorities but of terrorism of which the Muslims are the main victims.

Being the frontline state in the international war against terrorism, Pakistan had lot of sacrified. Now, Pakistan is endeavouring to revive and strengthen its economy and create jobs for its people especially the youth and the women through more industrialisation in the country, Sarwar statedly apprised EU.

One billion dollars increase in Pakistan’s exports would help create one million jobs. That, denying Pakistan of the GSP-plus facility would expose Pakistan to serious economic and social problems ; above all this would encourage terrorism here, Sarwar informed the business community of his arguments made to create a soft corner with EU member countries.

He thanked Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for reposing confidence in him and assigning this very important task of lobbying for Pakistan to get the GSP-plus status.

“Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is our captain and the credit of getting GSP-plus definitely goes to him,” he acknowledged.

He said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led present Government was sincerely and seriously pursuing the agenda of revival and strengthening of national economy by extending all out support and facilitation to the private sector seeing it as the major player in the country’s economic prosperity and development.

“We would be working together for a better Pakistan,” he remarked.

He said that meeting 27 conventions linked to GSP-plus status by EU was not the issue as these all are in Pakistan’s own interest.

He also paid tribute to Pakistan’s business community for successfully running their industries and doing trade despite many odds.

He called upon the business community to go for diversification of their products along with becoming cost and quality competitive in the European market.

Later, during his interaction with media, the Punjab Governor said that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had extended special support to the industries and cited the example of providing natural gas to industries in Punjab since those units had remained deprived of gas for three months last year.

The business leaders at APTMA and FPCCI praised Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar’s role in winning GSP-plus status for Pakistan and assured that the business community would stand with PML-N Government and support its all efforts for the betterment of the country.

FPCCI President Zubair Ahmed Malik along with his team of Vice Presidents presented a gold medal to the Punjab Governor as an appreciation of his meritorious role to get GSP-plus facility.