Moin Fudda, CIPE Country Director, Zafar Bkhtawari, President ICCI, Muhammad Ali, Chairman SECP, Andrew Wilson, CIPE Regional Director, and Olaf Kellerhoff, Resident Friedrich Naumann Stiftung (left to right) exchange views on the “Role of Private Sector in Combating Corruption”
In Pakistan, private sector leaders have traditionally been largely reluctant to discuss one of the foremost impediments to the country’s economic growth – corruption. In both the press and the popular perception, the problem has typically been discussed as a product of a too-cozy nexus between the political and business elites. Meanwhile, representatives of the business community have considered the topic taboo, and as a result, have rarely conveyed their view – that in fact, by and large, far from benefiting, most in Pakistan’s private sector suffer from the high level of corruption.
Since CIPE opened its Pakistan office in 2006 and began worked with the country’s chambers of commerce, it has gradually become more feasible to raise the issue of economic policy reform, and now for the first time, this has shifted to an open discussion of corruption. Business leaders now are willing to stand up and not only talk about the costs they face because of corruption, but to begin to think about how they can be part of the solution.
On October 25 in Islamabad, CIPE and the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) organized a roundtable on “The Role of the Private Sector in Reducing Corruption,” the first meeting of its kind in Pakistan. The event featured a panel discussion among Mohammad Ali, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP); Zafar Bakhtawari, President of ICCI; Olaf Kellerhoff, Resident Representative of the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation; and top CIPE staff.
More than 75 representatives of the private sector, government agencies including the Competition Commission and the Economic Reform Unit of the Ministry of Finance, representatives of think tanks, the IFC and World Bank, and the board and staff of ICCI attended. The event also highlighted another new initiative in Pakistan – a corruption perceptions survey of young entrepreneurs called “Unpacking Corruption,” conducted by the Young Entrepreneurs’ Forum of ICCI.