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Govt foremost steps taking economy on right path

Govt foremost steps taking economy on right path

  • Mehran Spice & Food Industries completely, strictly compliant of Covid SOPs and ensure the food supplies

Interview with Mr Gul Mohammad Lot – Chairman, Mehran Group of Industries

PAGE: Tell me something about yourself and your organization, please:

Gul Mohammad Lot: I was born in Pakistan, in the Diplo area of Thar District in Sindh. I joined my father, Mr. Ghulam Muhammad Lot, in his business at a very young age. As far as education is concerned, I completed my bachelors from the London School of Business in administration and obtained my Master’s degree in political science from the University of Sindh, Hyderabad.

Mehran Spice & Food Industry is the best leading food company in Pakistan. The vision of the company is “To become the best food company globally” and it promises to enhance lives every day and everywhere withbest quality spices, recipe mixes, rice, pickles, paste, sauces and desserts.

With a history spanning over four decades, Mehran is not only expanding its products but with maintaining products standard and quality we have entered in local market in the year 2011 and within few years, Mehran has captured major share in local market. The local sales growth of Mehran Spice & Food Industries has remarkably increased by almost 50% and has become market leaders globally.

Being the Chairman of Mehran Group, I hope to achieve even higher growth as compared to previous years in local &worldwide market.

Mehran Spice & Food Industries is an ISO 9001 & ISO 22000 certified leader in the quality food business. Our mission is to be a consumer oriented company with a keen insight of food products ensuring quality, consistency and an authentic taste, backup with state-of-the-art technology to obtain optimum result.

Mehran Spice & Food Industries have been honored many national and international awards.

PAGE: What is your take on food security in Pakistan in the given circumstances of pandemic and lockdowns?

Gul Mohammad Lot: The Covid-19 pandemic constituted a major shock with the potential of causing disproportionate distress and food insecurity in all income groups. It has put significant pressure on health system all around the world. The drastic measures established to control its spread are creating serious impediments to economic activity (including food systems) and consequently, to livelihoods, food security and nutrition.

The Government of Pakistan did not maintain a universal lockdown for a prolonged period but controlled the spike in the virus-related infections through smart lockdowns of various degrees in major cities throughout.

There has been no significant impact of Covid-19 on the agriculture sector. The performance of agriculture sector during current year has improved over the last year. On the aggregate, recorded a remarkable growth of necessary items including rice and wheat, it is positive sign for Pakistan otherwise we required to import wheat and it may burden on our foreign exchange reserves and it makes problem on purchasing power of common men. However, challenges due to climate change, pest attacks, and shortage of water kept agriculture production far less than the potential.

In Mehran Spice & Food Industries we are completely & strictly compliant of Covid SOP and ensure the food supplies.

PAGE: What is your expectation in terms of economic growth during this year in the prevailing conditions of the Covid-19?

Gul Mohammad Lot: The outbreak of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has severely affected the economies globally. Major victims of the Covid-19 outbreak are micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. Various enterprises are facing different issues with a certain degree of losses. Particularly, enterprises are facing a variety of problems such as a decrease in demand, supply chain disruptions, cancelation of export orders, raw material shortage, and transportation disruptions, among others.

Pakistan is one of the most resilient nations in the world and despite pandemic, still the economic growth is in the right path. The government truly understands the economic pressure and took major initiatives by Special Incentive package for construction industry, Payroll financing, reducing the interest rates, subsidized financing on new investments and home financing with the name of “Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar” and many other such initiatives which in turns accelerated the economic growth of the country. Pakistan large scale manufacturing sector posts a growth of 7.45% (July-20 to Feb-21); The FBR collection posted a growth of 14% from the last year.

Roshan Digital Account is a major initiative of State Bank of Pakistan. These accounts provide innovative banking solutions for millions of non resident Pakistanis to counter the negative fallout of Covid-19 pandemic on the economy as well as the participation of non-resident in the economy growth.

Pakistan pins high hopes on the Roshan Digital Account scheme to achieve financial stability that will pave the way for a sustainable long-term economic growth of the country. The country has received more than $1 billion foreign exchange inflows through 120,000 digital accounts opened by overseas Pakistanis across 170 countries worldwide since the scheme was introduced in last September. The inflows through RDA are estimated to reach $1.5 billion by June and $2 billion by December2021.

The government needs to be consistent with their policies. They have to control the inflation and have to increase the foreign reserves with increasing exports. Currently they are not able to increase the exports in double-digit while depreciating the currency value by almost 25%.

Pakistan is an agricultural country while we were importing the cotton, wheat & sugar to control the prices which are jacked up and the government was not able to respond on the crises.

PAGE: How would you comment on inflation and investment scenario in Pakistan in these days?

Gul Mohammad Lot: The pandemic brought with many unprecedented challenges. Pakistan has been one of the country worst affected initially by Covid-19, with the economic disruption caused by the pandemic.

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, Pakistan’s economy was started progressing and suddenly the Covid related scenario created. While almost all nations have been substantially affected by the global health emergency, Pakistan’s economy does not have the capacity to absorb the massive disruption caused by the pandemic.

The Government and State Bank of Pakistan took initiative to rescue the economic condition by providing payroll financing & to lower interest rate, so as to rescue the companies in paying the salaries of their staff and to curtail the unemployment.

The State Bank and Government launch a low rate TERF (Temporary Economic Refinance Facility) which was appreciated by all the business communities. Approximately Rs438 billion has been invested through the facility which has increased the dynamics of investment.

Inflation is the biggest curse for Pakistan, as it counters the effects of investments and being a low per capita income country the masses are affected in a huge way. Although there was a downfall in inflation at the peak time of coronavirus (Covid-19) but gradually the inflation has again creep up and it’s in double-digit. The government needs to control or else all the benefits of great initiatives will be lost.

The government has to take initiatives to control the food inflation, which badly affects the masses and the issue related to power generation as the rates of utilities have been jacked up. The inflation has also creep up due to increase in prices of commodities in international markets.

PAGE: Your views on the health sector of Pakistan:

Gul Mohammad Lot: Healthcare system of Pakistan consists of private and public sector. The private sector serves nearly 70% of population and 30% by public sector. Pakistan is a low income country and according to Human Poverty Index (HPI), it ranks 65th among 102 developing countries. Only 27% of the population benefited from full healthcare coverage, which includes mostly government employees and members of armed forces, and remaining 73% depends on out of pocket payments.

The above facts relay us that much improvement is needed to be done for the health sector of Pakistan and for that the government is trying to achieve the objective of healthier Pakistan. Government flagship initiatives “Health Card” has been fully implemented in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province and now its implementation have been initiated in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. It will enable better health coverage for the masses. The same will initiate further private sector to invest in health system of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s health system coups with the Covid-19 related situation, which have adversely affected the health system of the world. The current situation is getting better with the blessing of the Almighty, Pakistan’s success at managing the coronavirus pandemic with relatively low rates of severe disease and the death rate is appreciated by the world organization.

Initially, Pakistan lacked “standard operating procedures,” and the government had to ship testing kits from China and Japan. The country opened up vaccinations for thousands of front-line healthcare workers across the country and they have vaccinated to old age group as well. Now vaccination has started to young population (below the age of 30). In Pakistan, the population of young people is higher as compare to old age people, which played a catalyst role for low deaths and severity of this disease. We can’t become complacent as it seen in the world that if you slightly waive from following the SOP’s the cases shoots. In our neighbor country India the third wave has created havoc. Therefore, it’s imperative that we continue to safeguard the people not only from the disease as well as to protect the livelihood of people.

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