Author Archives: Emad Sohail

When Karachi Bleeds, Pakistan’s Economy Bleeds

karachi

The former capital of Pakistan, Karachi, has an ethnically and religiously diverse population of more than more than 22 million, making it the 8th largest city in the world and the number one city for business in the country. But the city has a serious problem with law and order.

Historically a small fishing village, Karachi has now turned into Pakistan’s biggest commerce and industrial center, home to the headquarters of all major banks public and private along with major foreign multinational corporations, the Karachi Stock Exchange (the largest stock exchange in Pakistan), international trade, an Expo Center, the largest port, the central bank, and major infrastructural and socio-economic projects, all of which have transformed this city into the well-developed financial capital of the country.

In February 2007, the World Bank identified Karachi as the most business-friendly city in Pakistan. Karachi accounts for the lion’s share of GDP and revenue, generating over 65 percent of the total national revenue and producing about 42 percent of value added to large scale manufacturing and 25 percent of the GDP of Pakistan. Pakistan’s informal sector (especially based in Karachi), comprised of thousands of small-scale entrepreneurs ranging from street vendors to restaurants to electricians, plumbers, and even doctors and lawyers, has also made great contributions to the economy which don’t always show up in the official numbers.

However, the economic engine of Pakistan is also one of its most dangerous cities. Curiosity Aroused rated Karachi on No. 8 on a list of the 10 Most Dangerous Cities in the world in 2013. According to the statistics released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 1,726 people were killed in the first six months of 2013. The business community, which is suffering a lot in Karachi, is very much concerned about deteriorating law and order situation and wants political and ethnic serenity in which Karachi’s business prevails. Karachi’s traders and businessmen are forced to pay extortion money to several extortionist groups in the city. For Karachi, 2013 will be a record year of extortion demands.

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Branding, Trademarks, and Intellectual Property Rights for Pakistan’s Women Entrepreneurs

Developing_a_Link_between_Branding_and_Trademarks_and_on_Understanding_Utility_of_Intellectual_Property_Rights

“Developing countries fail to maximize their most valuable resource – their people – when they disenfranchise half of the population from political and economic life, losing much creative and intellectual capacity needed for democratic and economic development….”  Sandra E. Taylor  

Despite many barriers to women entrepreneurs in Pakistan, women run and operated businesses are hugely important in Pakistan’s economy — and with greater empowerment they could strengthen it even further.

Most Pakistani women entrepreneurs are SME and micro business owners working in sectors such as homemade textile, furniture, food items, fashion design, and jewelry where branding, trademarks, and intellectual property can make a big difference. To advocate the importance of intellectual property rights (IPRs) among women chambers and women entrepreneurs as an important part of business development, CIPE partnered with the Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan to organize a workshop on this subject in Lahore for women entrepreneurs.

The topic of the workshop was “Developing a Link between Branding and Trademarks and on Understanding Utility of Industrial Design.” Nearly 150 active women entrepreneurs from various cities of Punjab and Baluchistan enthusiastically participated. At the outset of the event, CIPE Pakistan Country Director Moin Fudda spoke about CIPE programs and their successful initiatives especially in the area of policy advocacy for digital IPR, women’s entrepreneurship, and women’s empowerment.

Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi, Chairman of IPO Pakistan, and Sajjad Ahmed, Director General of IPO Pakistan, shared opening remarks for IPO Pakistan and Women Entrepreneurs and Justice Nasira Javed Iqbal delivered a keynote address on the importance of IPR. IPO Pakistan appreciated the efforts of CIPE in promoting intellectual property rights among women entrepreneurs of Punjab.

Attendees got a chance to interact with fellow entrepreneurs and exchanged success stories. They learned the concepts of IP rights, protection of IPR, trademarks, service marks, patents, branding, the impact of piracy, and business promotion. They also received guidance on resolving their IP issues during the consultation sessions, which were run through brand managers and lawyers. An instant achievement of this awareness workshop was that the bulk of the women entrepreneurs were very keen to register their IP rights and receive protection of their innovations.

Emad Sohail is Program Officer for CIPE Pakistan.

Capacity Building Efforts for Chamber Secretary Generals in Pakistan

Participants at the 5th All Pakistan Secretary General Conference (Photo: CIPE Staff)

Participants at the 5th All Pakistan Secretary General Conference (Photo: CIPE Staff)

CIPE Pakistan has conducted Secretary General Conferences for the past four years to help build capacity through the training and development of Secretary Generals belonging to different chambers and associations. Networking and learning opportunities help these chamber leaders contribute to the country’s economic development: most Secretary Generals said that there has been significant improvement in members’ services and development since they began attending the conferences.

Keeping this annual flagship event rolling, CIPE organized the 5th All Pakistan Secretary General Conference held on 23-24 May 2013 in Islamabad, which was attended by 30 Secretary Generals from various chambers and associations across Pakistan. The focus of this conference was aligning vision and mission, improving effectiveness of staff and board members, financial management, and legal compliance under the Pakistani law. Secretary Generals of various trade organizations discussed issues which they faced in running their chambers and associations.

Workshop trainers focused on the following key areas:

  • How to manage not for profit organization?
  • Strategic planning focusing on membership development and services, managing growth, income diversification and leadership development
  • Developing the Administrative, Accounting and HR manual and whistleblower policy
  • Code of Conduct for MC Members and staff
  • Legal issues and internal controls, frauds and budgets
  • Trade organizations Act & Rules 2013
  • Case studies and group discussions benefiting day to day working of business associations

Majid Shabbir, Secretary General of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, gave a presentation about the Trade Organizations Act & Rules, which can help chambers and associations meet necessary requirements under Trade Organizations Act and Rules 2013, a summary of which can be found here.

“What we learned from this workshop, if implemented in its spirit will definitely turn our chambers and associations effective organizations that serve their members professionally, the purpose for which CIPE is endeavoring since last many years in the capacity building of the trade organizations.”

Amanullah Suleman, Secretary General – Travel Agents Associations of Pakistan 

Impact is the most crucial outcome, which can only be measured after the workshop and of course must be practically implemented. Such an example was provided by Rizwan Ali, Secretary General of the Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association:

“After going through the budget template which CIPE gave us, I had shared with my Accountant and found it very comprehensive, let me tell you the fact that by this date the accounts are being maintained in a formal way through making ledger and some entries in the registers manually,  but, this template has not only given a new trend but the procedure has also became simplified, as its format is not only covers the monthly budget, it has became easy to have a proper record of the income and expenditure throughout the year on this pattern.”

Sharing such practically applicable examples will help CIPE to further improve its capacity building initiatives. Therefore, this blog post can also serve as a platform for Secretary Generals (those who attended these conferences previously and those who attended for the first time) to keep us informed (in the comment box below) about lessons/key learning which they have practically implemented in their respective business associations.

The Economic Challenges Facing Pakistan’s New Prime Minister

Photo: Daily Dawn

Photo: Daily Dawn

“Now it should be decided forever that Pakistan’s survival, protection, sovereignty, progress, prosperity and respect in the international community depends upon strengthening democracy in Pakistan.”

Nawaz Sharif – Prime Minister of Pakistan

In the May 11 general electionsNawaz Sharif became Pakistan’s newest elected prime minister. For the first time in the country’s 65-year history, a democratically elected government has handed over power after completing its term and holding a fair election. The transfer of power is indeed a successful continuity of democracy in Pakistan. However, the country’s economy remains in a state of confusion, with expanding budget, energy, education, employment, fiscal development, and public deficit problems. The former government did not have a clear direction to overcome these financial challenges, and they will now become a top concern for the new government.

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What Can Save Pakistan’s Economy?

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Pakistan’s economy since independence has been confused. Much has been discussed about poor government regulations that resulted in an uncertain economy, necessitating dramatic changes in the regulatory framework to address alarming economic challenges.

What should be done to get the economy humming, and prevent GDP decline?

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CIPE Pakistan Releases 2012 Activities Report

cipePKreport

With the commitment to strengthen democratic and market reforms in Pakistan, CIPE, with the support of its partners, continues to provide tools to serve as a catalyst for institutional reform for private sector and state owned enterprises. The 2012 Activities Report highlights the impact of CIPE programs and the achievements of our partners in Pakistan.

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Confronting Economic Distress through Responsible Business

The chairman of the National Accountability Bureau, an anti-corruption organization in Pakistan, recently disclosed that “Rs 8 billion are being drained on account of corruption every day in Pakistan” (about $145 million USD). This statement shocked the country, considering the fact that Pakistan already faces several grave challenges like terrorism, energy shortages, flood devastation, a huge gap between rich and poor, inflation, bad governance, access to finance, and water scarcity.

Pakistan has a long history of corruption since its birth, considering that subsequent military dictatorships not only hollowed out key economic and political institutions, but also caused severe damage to the spirit of the democratic process, fair business practices, corporate governance culture, and institutional development. That said, “economic reform” is now one of the most popular phrases in Pakistan. Earlier this year, the chief of an Islamic political party, Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, stressed that there is need for economic reform in the country to stop corruption. Business associations are also urging the government discourage corruption and encourage economic reforms and corporate social responsibility in the country.

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