Honorable Dr.Ishrat-ul-Ibad, Governor Sindh
Honorable Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning & Development
Ladies & Gentlemen
I am honored to be given a chance to address the most successful leaders, today known for their corporate innovation and entrepreneurial drive. This promises to be one of the most thought-provoking leadership conferences seen in Pakistan, Thank you to the event organizers for sharing that spirit of innovation and believing in Pakistan.
Today my speech is about “Replicating success globally: The way forward” and I guess this is very timely.
You have done well but there is much more to do. We all owe this success to Pakistan; we are where we stand, because of this country. It’s our belief. I personally feel that there is always an opportunity for growth in the midst of hard times. Success in difficult times calls for holding true to basic tenets of effective behavior. My story is just like most of yours. After graduating from Pakistan, I left for Kuwait to pursue my professional career. During gulf war, while most of the people were fleeing from gulf region, I decided to try my luck and incepted a company in Saudi Arabia, which over three decades have transformed it as the market leaders in the businesses we do.
Saudi Arabia is a massive market, but this was way much difficult 30 years back when I started. Despite the potential, the market had been less outward facing specifically for foreign entrepreneurs. Quickening liberalization and favorable market dynamics that we see in today’s Saudi Arabia were just dreams. Yet we did not give up. It was the determination, courage and the very essence of clearly articulated vision which helped us getting to the point where we are today.
Pakistan’s Economic Outlook
- The “Pakistan Story” has seen a profound shift in gear and direction during the last two years. We have also witnessed the changing global economic balance resulting in China as the major game-changer, we have also seen Indian companies driving cross-border mergers and acquisitions but unfortunately we had our own geo-political and economic issues which affected our share of this shift.
- In a region that is poised to witness the fastest rate of economic growth in the world, a new World Bank report has placed Pakistan at the bottom of the eight economies in South Asia, projecting a moderate growth rate of 4.4%, the second-lowest after Afghanistan. Energy constraints and weak external demand continue to pose challenge for the growth outlook
- Yet in these uncertain times, you have come a long way. Speaking to this audience today, I am reminded that we have been successful changing the imperative from what was once exclusively focused on the issues of terrorism and domestic crises to one that also recognizes issues that are related to doing well in business.
The Way Forward
Whether India or China, we have got to learn from them. Today India is spearheading regional growth with a 7.5% growth rate. China has become a growth engine for the global economy, Singapore; perhaps the smallest dot on globe has been devising ways to be the services hub. What stops us here! Nothing
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, these successful case studies can give us a way forward. We have to bring our successful companies on global map in search for top-line revenue growth through new capabilities and assets, product diversification and market entry.
- In the midst of all these uncertainties, it has become even more critical for Pakistan to have Pakistan-based globally competitive companies. It the belief that these companies play an important role in our economic ecosystem. These are companies headquartered in Pakistan, which have globally competitive products or services and which have significant global presence. It is, if you like, the final stage of a company’s growth. I would like to believe that most companies set out with such a vision in mind and over time, with the right strategies and leadership would have a good chance of becoming globally competitive.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
When I stepped out to set up my business 30 years ago, I had the same vision. Today, it’s a dream that come true. I have to contribute back to this society and the smartest way is to enable others and drive country’s external economy which will directly help in solving one of the biggest issues we have today.
At the same time, I am a staunch believer of the importance of effectively functioning institutions to foster growth. We as the responsible citizen and corporate leaders owe this to our country. Let’s us help Pakistani companies grow overseas and build up, an international footprint. And we aim to do this with setting up the first private Pakistani Saudi Arabian Liaison office for Economic Affairs to promote bilateral trade and provide business internationalisation services.
Is It the Right Time – Saudi Investment Drive
- The oil-dependent Kingdom is facing a collapse in revenues as global oil prices have declined and major focus has been put on non-oil sectors growth with aggressive investment drive into sectors such as mining, oil and gas, health, education, retail, infrastructure and banking, With new plans, foreign investors are ‘enthused’ and optimistic about the incentives pledged by the Gulf Monarch.
- The key reasons for investing in the Middle East & Saudi Arabia include:
- It is one of the world’s 25 largest economies and the largest economy in the Middle East and North Africa Region – MENA.
- The Kingdom is one of the world’s fastest growing countries worldwide, with per-capita income forecast to rise from USD $25,000 in 2012 to USD $33,500 by 2020.
- It has substantial cost advantages due to the low domestic cost of energy and industrial land which comes with generous subsidies and incentives.
- It provides duty free access to other GCC and MENA economies and enjoys good transport and infrastructure links which will soon be supplemented by a national rail system
It is therefore a high time to plan expansion in the region which is increasingly important in the world economy. It is also in line to our plans of establishing business liaison office. Our end objective is that companies should eventually become global in their operations, market access and should be able to stand up to competition even against the world’s best companies
- Rome was not built in a day. Behind our successful endeavor or expansion is careful planning, calculated risks and in-depth research. Understanding economic and social landscape of the market you are entering is necessary first step before you define your expansion plans and that’s what our proposed liaison and business office intends to provide
- We will offer a suite of assistance programmes under the Market Readiness Assistance and Global Company Partnership framework. Tap into our programmes and go global.
- These programmes will help companies to get advisory services, gain hands-on information about markets, Partnering with appropriate investors, learn from experts & Measure their export readiness
- These programmes will go hand in hand with Saudi Chamber of Commerce and Industries where we will not simply invite Pakistani companies but also assist them in setting up their ventures in Saudi Arabia with complete services.
BENEFITS TO THE COUNTRY
Some people may have thought whether overseas investments by Pakistani companies benefit Pakistan or Pakistanis. We are fully convinced that the answer is a big YES. Overseas investments by Pakistani-based companies also benefit other parts of Pakistan’s economy in many ways
- First, overseas investments generate backward linkages or spinoffs to Pakistan. For instance, a Pakistan-headquartered overseas plant is likely to source for components made in Pakistan or source for services such as financial services from the financial institutions here
- Second, overseas investments create good jobs for Pakistanis in Pakistan and beyond.
- Third, overseas investments will help develop executives with a global or regional expertise. Many of them will be our future business leaders. This is because as the world continues to globalize, having a global experience will be deemed essential. This will help create a valuable workforce for Pakistan, ready for the future
- As a successful Pakistani Businessmen in Saudi Arabia, I am humbled to share with you that it has been an institutional effort on my part which can only bring fruitful results if you join hands with us.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
I started with my story and gave a little brief about the problems we face with our economy followed by few suggestions about the way forward. All along, my message is simple. Even for me, when I started the business, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward. But it has been very very clear looking backwards 30 years later. You cannot connect the dots looking forward: you can only connect them looking backwards.
So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something? Your gut, destiny, life, fate whatever. Because believing in dots connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path that would make all the difference.
Our efforts today will eventually connect all these dots. Join hands, explore new growth options and you yourself will see the results.
I hope you will enjoy the rest of this program today and gain useful insights and business contacts
“I believe it’s our decisions, not the conditions of our lives that determine our destiny.
- There are exciting times ahead
- Let us work together to develop Pakistan