To be effective advocates for policy change, business associations need to be able to speak with one voice. CIPE Pakistan has been working with Pakistani chambers to help them become a unified force for policy reforms. Recognizing CIPE for brining chambers to one platform at the All Pakistan Chamber President’s Conference, Javed Akhtar Bhatti, President of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry said:
“The initiative started four years ago by Rawalpindi Chamber with the support of CIPE is fast becoming the most effective advocacy event in Pakistan, where chambers from across the country come together and through extensive consultation develop an advocacy roadmap. Our single voice has changed the way government reacted to demands for policy reforms in the past”
On January 30-31, 2012, in partnership with the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, CIPE organized the fourth Annual All-Pakistan Chamber Presidents’ Conference for nearly 40 participants, representing 25 chambers of commerce from across the country. The most important feature of this conference was the presence of Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry, an umbrella body for all business associations in Pakistan, which is represented at the conference for the first time.
The momentum for policy reform advocacy developed over the past three conferences received a further boost in the recent conference when chamber presidents unanimously resolved not to support any political party that does not provide a solid and implementable economic revival plan before the next general elections, which are due towards the end of 2012.
This year, the Bhurban Declaration advocates for energy security and tax reforms, anticorruption measures, Most Favored Nation trading status for India, and enacting the Code of Corporate Governance for State Owned Enterprises.
Parliamentarian Khurram Dastagir Khan, Chair of the the Parliamentary Committee on Commerce, also attended the conference. He took note of business community’s concerns and assured them of extending support in the parliament.
The conference was extensively covered by media both in broadcast and print, including articles in The International News, Dawn, and the Business Recorder, showing that there is increasing public awareness of the importance of the business community’s voice in economic policy matters.
Program Coordinator Huzaifa Shabbir Hussain contributed to this post.