Officials urge businesses towards localisation

By Staff Reporter | The Express Tribune Mar 14, 2023

Government high officials have urged the Pakistani business community to start working on import substitution, the localisation of imported products and to promote exports in order to become competitive in the global economy.

Localisation means producing required products and parts locally instead of continuing to rely on imports. This would also mean replacing imported energy with renewable energy like hydroelectricity to contain the cost of energy - currently standing at one-third of the overall import bill.

Speaking at a one-day conference on the ‘National Policy Dialogue on Localisation for Growth’ organised by Nutshell Group and K-Electric (KE), Minister of State Malik Musadik said, “We can only become competitive on a global scale if we achieve a local edge. When we talk about localisation, we must develop clusters, where several economic activities are taking place in one geographic area.”

According to a press statement, he said “Soon, we aim to bring down UFGs (unaccounted for gas/ line losses of gas) and the circular debt to zero, but that doesn’t mean all our problems will vanish. We still have a long way to go. Above all, we need to build a level playing field where competition is on productivity and innovation alone.”

Federal Minister for Power, Khurram Dastagir said “Electric vehicles’ initiatives will cut emissions in half and imported fuel consumption by half; just this will save us dollars and provide expanded opportunities for employment and infrastructural development in Pakistan.”

“Pakistan is 75 years old, and we have had so many talks but no solutions. To achieve progress, we have to identify the problems and then work together to fix them instead of working to fix each other. Localisation begins with everyone coming together under one common identity. I agree that the State is responsible for the direction, but so is the nation. Leaders are unsure and the nation is divided,” said Kamran Tessori, Governor Sindh.

K-Electric CEO, Syed Moonis Abdullah Alvi also shared some impressive numbers about the investments being made by the company to increase its customer-base, reduce the percentage of power outages, and, most importantly, increase the contribution of renewable resources to generate power. KE has invested Rs474 billion across the value chain, and soon (by 2030) the company will be generating 2172 MW of renewable energy.

“Our conviction is to base our generation on indigenous fuels and lower our reliance on imported fuels. Our ambition is to invest Rs484 billion in the value chain over the next seven years. When we have this predictability and projected demand of equipment, we believe it is best to buy locally and encourage domestic growth. The predictability of policies will support this vision, and collectively reduce pressure on the national exchequer. I request we collaborate and produce avenues for local resources,” said Alvi, CEO.

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