Govt. should patronize chemical industry: Speakers

LAHORE: Government should fully patronize the Chemical Industry by giving special incentives and facilitating the import of modern technology.

This was the upshot of the speeches delivered at a seminar “Exploring Technology Potentials for Import Substitution of Chemical Intermediates” organized by the LCCI Standing Committee on Chemical Dyes. Chief Executive Sitara Chemical Industries Mian Muhammad Idrees, LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari, Senior Vice President Main Tariq Misbah, Vice President Kashif Anwar, Chairperson of the Committee Nabila Intisar, CEO Institute of Research Promotion Abid H K Shirwani, Abrar Ahmad, Prof Dr Irfan Nadeem, Dr Ahmad Adnan, Dr Naveed Umer, Dr Ansar Yaseen and former President Mian Anjum Nisar were among the speakers.

The speakers were of the view that the government should make long term policies for the development of chemicals as Chemical sector plays a pivotal role in the economic development of any country. Pakistan has not yet been able to take the advantage of this opportunity. The global trade of chemical sector is around 10% of the total world trade whereas in case of Pakistan it constitutes only 2.1% of our exports.

“To meet the rapidly increasing requirement of chemicals, dyes and pigments, industrial raw materials and other allied chemical products, it has become important to develop chemical and petrochemical industry in Pakistan.”

They said that locally available resources of natural gas, petroleum and coal are being used only to meet the energy requirement of the country. They have not been utilized for the manufacturing of chemicals where more value addition is possible.

There is a vast potential to manufacture chemical from large reserve of indigenous coal and rock salt.

Most of the raw materials and intermediates for dyes & pigments, paints and varnishes, pesticides and plastics and plasticizers are being imported. These raw materials and intermediates mainly belong to or derived from petrochemicals which have no base in Pakistan.

The import data shows a large number of intermediates are being imported. Resultantly, and huge revenue of the country is expended on the import of these chemical intermediates.

Pakistan is blessed with rich resources and Pakistan is land of opportunities, therefore, it is need of the hour to explore and exploit these resources. A strong and organized chemical institutions needs to be established where state of the art technologies should be made available fully patronize at government level.

Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry was striving to convince the government that all the economic policies should be made in consultation with the stakeholders as in the modern world Public Private Partnership is being encouraged to achieve economic prosperity. He said that it was an age of deregulation and facilitation and therefore the government should give due weight to private sector in the policy making process.

Engineer Sohail Lashari said that the LCCI had always called for adoption of new technologies that are in vogue in the modern world.

He said that it was surprising that India was exporting various chemicals to the tune of USD 15.2 billion. Similarly China has attained the level of exporting chemicals worth USD 40.4 billion.

In contrast to that the share of Pakistan in exports of chemicals is negligible.

Engineer Sohail Lashari said that there was a lot of room of improving the standard of locally produced chemicals which are in a way price competitive against the imported ones but do not compete well on quality.

He said that standardization and branding is the need of the hour in this sector. The major brands of Pakistan should spearhead the effort of diversifying the production capacity of local manufacturers of chemicals.

The LCCI President said that there was a need to share technical knowledge and also emphasize on certification so that the level of acceptability of indigenously produced chemicals could be improved.

Joint ventures with renowned international brands can bridge the gap of technology. The government must play supportive role in this connection.

He said that the availability of modern laboratories is must to ensure the quality parameters of chemicals. Our major cities have sound network of labs but in small cities, the chemical manufacturers have to compromise on this aspect.

And, he said, through public private partnership, we can address the issue of labs and hence improve the standard of our chemicals.

There is a huge demand of organic chemicals world over. Pakistan has sound base to be a good competitor in this field.

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