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Consumer financing vital for economic growth

Consumer financing vital for economic growth

Interview with Mohammed Abdullah Batra – President, Orangi Traders’ Association

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

Mohammed Abdullah Batra: I am a businessman and a social worker. I believe in doing something for the downtrodden since it a kind of giving back to the society. This is our moral obligation to ensure that the impoverished population is helped and taken care of, no matter what area of the country they live in. We all need to be humane. I am also the President of Orangi Traders Association as well as the Vice Chairman Law & Order Sub Committee at KCCI. In addition to all this, I am also serving as the President West All Karachi Tajir Alliance.

PAGE: How do you see consumer financing in Pakistan?

Mohammed Abdullah Batra: Consumer financing is the driving force behind electronics sales traditionally. Due to low literacy and awareness, people avoid going to banks but there exists a parallel network of financing to serve the needs of the consumers for decades. Consumer financing is an essential part of economic growth since it helps the industry in terms of production and eventually the wholesalers and the retailers get ample opportunities to do business. Consumer financing last but not least is vital in terms of having better living standards. Middle class families could avail such opportunities through financial institutions to enhance their living standards in this era of technological marvels.

PAGE: Despite economic problems, there is surge in the sales of electronic appliances in Pakistan. Your views:

Mohammed Abdullah Batra: Electronics items were a luxury in the past but now are basic need for every household given our fast paced lifestyles and changing urban living standards. Right from air conditioners, smart LEDs, cell phones, microwave ovens, refrigerators, automatic ovens for domestic use etc. have become the necessity of every household. Once could anticipate even widespread use of the state-of-the-art electronic gadgets in the ensuing years since innovation is in vogue throughout the world, let alone the advanced countries in the west.

PAGE: What is your perspective about the electronic products?

Mohammed Abdullah Batra: The market for electronic products will keep growing even with the growing cost of electricity. There is no denying that energy conservation is being given precedence by the consumers. There will be a surge for more energy efficient products but will not slowdown the increasing demand due to lifestyle changes. Consumers look forward to purchasing things which are energy-efficient since it helps them in paying less for the electricity. One could observe widespread use of energy-efficient fans, refrigerators, air conditioners, smart LEDs etc. In the wake of higher purchasing power, one could foresee exorbitant demand for electronic products down the line.

PAGE: What is your take on consumerism in Pakistan?

Mohammed Abdullah Batra: In the deafening noise of discounts and sales promotions, consumers are committing the most fatal mistake of buying things they don’t need. Our need should be the fundamental driver or determinant of a buying decision and not the discount. You should buy things that you need. You should not buy things just for the sake of discounts. I have observed people buying expensive electronic devices just to take advantage of the discounts. They are buying TVs and mobiles although their current TV and mobiles are perfectly fine. All of us are consumers but we need to make prudent decisions to stave off troubles which might lie ahead.

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