Pakistan forms Industrial Advisory Council with key fertilizer industry figures

Flag of Pakistan in front of a clear blue sky

In a significant move to boost its industrial sector, the government of Pakistan has established a 19-member Industrial Advisory Council (IAC). This council, which encompasses key players from both the public and private sectors, is set to play a vital role in shaping the future of the nation’s industrial landscape. The diverse representation from industries such as cement, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, steel, textiles, packaging, and electronics ensures a comprehensive approach to industrial policy formulation and problem-solving.

The IAC, under the chairmanship of Federal Minister of Industry and Production Gohar Ejaz, includes 12 individuals from the private sector and six from the public sector. It aims to develop a robust industrial policy, with a special focus on the fertilizer and agriculture industries, to aid Pakistan in achieving its domestic and export targets. The council’s mandate and detailed scope remain undisclosed, but it is expected to submit its findings before the general election in February 2024.

The formation of the IAC has been positively received by the business community, with many expressing their full support and optimism. Business leaders see the council as a potential solution to the challenges plaguing Pakistan’s struggling industrial sector, including issues of employment, borrowing, and foreign exchange earnings.

A historical perspective highlights the urgency of these efforts. Pakistan’s exports, which stood at $25 billion in 2013, have only marginally increased to around $30 billion in 2023. In contrast, imports have surged from $43 billion in 2013 to $70 billion in 2023. A more balanced growth in exports and imports could have significantly reduced the annual trade deficit to around $13 to $15 billion.

The Ministry of Industries and Production has officially notified the creation of the IAC, listing prominent figures from various industries. Notable members include Muhammad Ali Tabba, CEO of Lucky Cement Limited; Fawad Ahmed Mukhtar, Director of Fatima Group (Fatima Fertilizer); and Waqar Ahmed Malik, CEO at Fauji Foundation and Chairman of several companies, including Fauji Fertilizer. The council also features all provincial chief secretaries, including those from Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, alongside key government officials like the finance secretary and the commerce secretary.

With weekly meetings and a 10-week deadline to present a report, the IAC is poised to take swift action toward revitalizing Pakistan’s industrial sector, offering hope for a more balanced and prosperous economic future.

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