- Year 2021 is bright and prosperous for Pakistan economy
Interview with Mr Khalid Tawab — Chairman, Tawab Group of Companies
PAGE: Tell me something about yourself and your career, please:
Khalid Tawab: I am Chairman of Tawab Group of Companies which is renowned named in the manufacturing of paper, board and steel. I have served as Senior Vice President and Vice President of FPCCI and Karachi Chamber respectively.
I am honorary Consul General of Mozambique since 1989. President of Pakistan awarded me Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 2009 in recognition of my outstanding public services. My company got two time FPCCI Exports Awards and one time International Asia Award due to highest exports. I am also philanthropist and trustee of Aiwan-e-Tijarat-o-Sanat hospital.
PAGE: Your views on the incentives offered to the construction sector:
Khalid Tawab: The government has extended the fixed tax regime for the construction sector to December 31, 2021 which is a good step and will help the economy during the period of COVID-19 to provide employment to skilled and unskilled labor force. This scheme was introduced in April 2020 and gives positive outcome due to investment in CPEC related projects and government infrastructure projects. Despite COVID-19, this sector grew positively in FY20 by 8.0 percent and also show positive trend in FY21. The construction is a big sector whereon 72 allied industries are dependent. The growth of construction sector also boosts the demand of these 72 allied industries. I think that the government announced incentives for construction industry at right time when the world is facing pandemic and during to this most of the countries have locked down their activities and international activities were suspended. In this situation, the incentives of construction sector supported overall economy by minimizing losses and creating employment opportunities.
PAGE: What is your take on the performance of the real estate and construction sector?
Khalid Tawab: Since the start of FY21, both construction and real estate industry are showing an increasing trend which will definitely improve our economic growth. Moreover, the housing scheme of government sector will also improve this sector in the FY21. The government’s ongoing large infrastructure projects, such as Diamer-Bhasha dam, Mohmand dam, highways (Sukkur-Multan motorway, Lahore Multan motorway etc.) and intra-city public transport network (BRT Peshawar) also expand the construction industry. With the growth of construction industry, the real estate will also grow because of strong linkages. The progress in the construction industry has also led to an increase in the sales of cement, barring, and other related equipment.
PAGE: What is the current status of the cement sector?
Khalid Tawab: Cement sector showed an increasing trend during the first half of the current fiscal year. The cement industry grew all times high in first quarter of the current fiscal year i.e. 23% due to rising of investment in public sector infrastructural projects and housing schemes. Large-scale infrastructure projects such as Diamer-Bhasha Dam and Burhan-Dera Ismail Khan Motorway gathered pace during Q1-FY21, which increased the demand for cement from the public sector. It is expected that the demand of cement and other allied products of construction related industries will also increase. In addition to domestic demand, exports of cement registered a decent growth in non-traditional destinations such as Bangladesh, China and Sri Lanka, which more than offset the decline in demand from neighboring countries of India and Afghanistan.
PAGE: How do you see 2021?
Khalid Tawab: I think the year 2021 will be better than the last year. Last year, pandemic was new and we didn’t know the safety measures and now we have learnt to live with COVID-19 by taking safety measures. I can’t say anything for other countries but this year will be good for Pakistan and the economy is moving on the path of growth and development, industry has also revived and government is also taking more measures for the betterment of economy. Moreover, this is a exceptional blessings of Allah on Pakistan as the pandemic COVID-19 doesn’t make huge losses in terms of human and finance as like other countries. I hope that the future of Pakistan is bright and prosperous.