AN INTERVIEW WITH ZUBAIR FARID TUFAIL, PRESIDENT FPCCI
Since its inception in 1950, the FPCCI has advocated and voiced the collective opinion, concern and aspiration of the private sector and offered helpful advice and solid assistance to the Government in its efforts to promote exports, encourage foreign investment and stimulate economic activity in the country. The FPCCI has its fingers on the pulse of the economy and serves as a bridge between the private sector and the Government. In my write-ups and articles, I have always given priority to those, whether political or private figure, he must be striven with of, by and for Pakistan. My utmost duty is to let my readers know and deliberate their opinion when going through the views of the President Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Zubair Farid Tufail, as interviewed. NC: What solution you took up with the government to solve the issues of business community, especially in the case of Rs.300 billion exporter refunds? ZT: When I took over FPCCI as the President in 2017, my basic priority was to take up issues with the ministry of commerce to resolve issues creating hindrance in doing business especially the textile sector which took a hit when orders dropped by 50 percent in 2016. In the case of exporter’s refunds, the government did make Rs.4 billion payments, which was not up to the anticipation of the business community. The major portion of the amount is yet to be made and for the same issue, I led a delegation of businessmen and called upon the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, seriously discussed on the persisting problems faced by the industrialists and declining exports due to rebates refunds that can truly help in the revival of the industry which is facing a liquidity crunch because of held up refunds by the Federal Board of Revenue. The Prime Minister assured the delegation for solving issue which includes sales tax refunds, customs rebate and duty drawback. NC: Do you think the export package, announced by the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, will help in solving the industrialist’s issues and how far it is been implemented? ZT: Unfortunately, the bailout package of over Rs.180 billion for the textile industry announced by the former Prime Minister, aimed at supporting the textile exporters, was prepared keeping in view the country’s overall falling exports, which dropped to $20 billion from $24 billion within two years with a major decline in shipments of textile products. Supporting and incentivizing export sectors is a norm in most regional economies where prices of gas and electricity are about 50% lower as compared with tariff applied in our county, in order to boost competitiveness and growth, the government must reduce power tariff for companies exporting, as globally, they are at all kinds challenges. NC: What is the major hurdle in doing business; energy short fall, economic policies or government’s failure while delivering on administrative reforms? ZT: After rapid surge in prices of petroleum products in the world in last two decades which transformed many developed countries opt to alternate source of energy in the form of solar, wind, coal and gas generating systems are preferred in many countries. At present the country is truly going through energy crises as electricity shortfall of about 5000 MW crushed our economy and due to high tariff on electricity lots of companies have shut their plants leaving thousands of workers jobless. If turbines are produced in Pakistan with foreign technology, small & medium size companies can be established to supply 25, 50 and up to 100 MW based on wind energy, whereas, only long-term solution to produce electricity through hydel sources, coal and import of gas from neighboring countries can halt the situation. The government policies did cause hurdles in doing business, but the major problem which affected the industrialists was short fall in energy. The government’s efforts have started delivering as few projects of hydroenergy powers have started functioning and there are positive signs that by the year 2018, there will be no load shedding in the country.
Who is and was?, are the most common words evolving around a biography, especially of those who are elected or nominated with a belief to deliver in his leadership, the intended cause of that platform, to head the largest business community with its roots across Pakistan. Consequently, it becomes essential for the questioner to highlight the black and white past, present and future prospects of the person conversed with, like Zubair Farid Tufail, President – Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry, whose commands immense confidence among the business community and which earned him an overwhelming victory by securing 199 votes out of total 312 votes casted in the 2017 elections of FPCCI, under the patronage of SM Muneer, Patron-in-Chief United Business Group (UBG) and Iftikhar Ali Malik, Chairman-UBG, when this group won 10 seats out of total 11 seats, last year. May thousands of them know Zubair Farid Tufail, but his motive and cause behind leading the business community is known to few, his pain stake efforts, moving to & fro around the globe without missing a single appointment set forth for the enhancement of trade and target achievement, which has to be imparted with rest of the readers. Unfortunately in our country, some people at this position and designation look for their self-projection but in the case of Zubair Tufail, means sheer business. Zubair Farid Tufail, CEO Tufail Chemical Industries Limited, born in 1951 in Karachi, got his primary and secondary education from CMS High School from 1956 to 1967. Got his higher education completed from Sindhi Muslim College, Lawrence Road, Karachi, in 1967 to 1971, acquiring a Bachelor of Commerce degree.
Joined Tufail Chemical Industries Limited, his family’s business of raw chemical and minerals of imports and trading in 1972. While achieving targets by representing large scale companies of Asia (China/Japan), Europe, Middle East and USA, for distribution of their products in Pakistan, Tufail Group in 1994, not only opted to setup its first chemical plant in Lahore, but moved on with the same zeal by establishing, a new facility for manufacturing Formic, Sulphonic and Sulfuric Acid, at Port Qasim, Karachi, in 2008. Yet not satiated, Tufail Group in 2013 under Zubair’s brilliance and untiring efforts increased demand from national and international groups, acquired another plant of Sulphonic Acid to overcome the overseas markets demand. Laurels to his works are yet to be mentioned, but his keen devotion towards cost effective trade has turned his group into an Asian tiger for importing and manufacturing Chemicals and by-products.
Interview by: Sahibzada Salman Khan Photos by: Sultan Soomro