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Consumer firms spell big business for economic growth

Consumer firms spell big business for economic growth

Interview with Ms. Natasha Haseeb — an analyst

PAGE: Tell me something about yourself, please:

Natasha Haseeb: I am an anchor working at Pakistan Television News (PTV News). I have done my MPhil in Political Science from the University of Karachi and about my professional life I am conducting a business show named “Baat Karobar Ki”, which includes the different aspects of businesses, investments, economy and stock market of the country and internationally, with different segments and making it interesting day-by-day because of the quality of content, participants we invite and the authenticity of news and information.

About my personal life, I am very friendly by nature, talkative and jolly with friends. My enthusiasm and strengths are my research, the way I ask the question and the angles of my analytical approach. I have done a lot of interviews of different people, the business community, industrialists, dignitaries, economists and experts from different sectors who are very competitive. I have hosted and organised conferences as well. About my leisure time, I enjoy spending time with my family, friends, listening to music, watching films, and dramas, reading, travelling and playing games etc.

PAGE: How would you comment on the banking sector of Pakistan?

Natasha Haseeb: The banking sector is playing a pivotal role in the Pakistan and world economies.

The financial institutions or banks in Pakistan involve companies that provide consumers the financial services. This includes banks, insurance companies, retail and investment services and firms. This sector has a great impact on the economy especially in our country. The strengthen it is, the strengthen the economy becomes. But as the sector weakens—the economy begins to trail. So a healthy, stable economy needs a strong and growing financial and banking sector. The banks are mostly matching up creditors and borrowers, but banks are also essential to the domestic and international payments system for the country in an official way. Businesses, governments and individuals need somewhere to deposit and borrow money, they need to move payments around—from sellers to buyers…employers to employees or tax collections for governments … Here too banks play an important role. They process payments, from small to large-value electronic payments between banks. The payments system is a composite network of local, national, and international banks and usually involves government central banks and private clearing facilities that match up what banks owe. In many cases, payments are processed nearly expeditiously. The payment system also includes credit and debit cards. A well-operating payments system is a necessity proviso for an efficiently performing economy, and a failure in the payments system are likely to disrupt trade — and, therefore, economic growth — consequently.

PAGE: What is your standpoint on the power sector of Pakistan?

Natasha Haseeb: Pakistan is entangled in a constant debate over whether it was poor planning or bad governance and distribution of the power sector, and the broadened economy, that has overloaded the country with excess power generation capacity. What is difficult to debate, however, is the mounting tariffs.

Pakistan is one of the countries, which has a lot of potential to generate electricity. The country is abundantly rich in terms of a variety of renewable resources which are not so expensive to produce electricity and at the same time more environmental friendly. But still, in the last two decades, Pakistan has a series of crises in the power sector and there is a shortfall because electricity demand is increasing every day and the resources to generate electricity are not used efficiently.

PAGE: What is your perspective about the performance of the mutual funds?

Natasha Haseeb: Well… A mutual fund is the friend of your savings because it minimises the risk factor and maximises the profits. Pakistani investors have a lot of choices when it comes to the variety of mutual funds in Pakistan at present. Mutual funds that invest in domestic, and international equity markets, or plenty of combinations of geographies, are present in Pakistan. Most investment platforms and stock brokers offer a good range of mutual funds to choose from.

There are now well over 200 Pakistan-focused mutual funds. These include Shariah-compliant, fixed-income, aggressive fixed-income, index tracker funds, general pension funds, frequent payout funds and capital-protected funds. A very strong average annual return from Pakistani equities over two decades, during past performance is definitely no guarantee to future returns, Pakistani investors may attracted to mutual funds investments that focus on domestic equities as a basic and strong cliché. They have performed better than those that invest in developed international markets.

PAGE: What is your take on investment in the real estate sector?

Natasha Haseeb: The real estate business in Pakistan has seen significant growth and development over a couple of years, with various opportunities. Real estate has played a vital role in Pakistan’s economic growth and contributed to employment generation, economic diversity, and investment opportunities. The real estate industry contributes to the country’s GDP growth through construction activities, property buy/sell, and rental income. Passing years and with changing trends, patterns, and practices, technological advancements, including the usage of digital media platforms, virtual reality, and augmentation reality, have also influenced the real estate sector.

The sector has seen the intervention of large-scale and small-scale real estate developers, housing builders societies, agents, brokers, and investors, who have played a pivotal role in shaping the real estate market. These developments have shaped the current legal and regulatory framework for real estate in Pakistan.

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