President Ch. Nadeem A. Rauf
Umaid Khalid interviewed Ch. Nadeem A Rauf, President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry to discuss the role and functions of the Chamber. Excerpts from the interview are reproduced below:
Q1: What is the vision of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry?
Answer: The ongoing covid pandemic has adversely affected businesses and their stakeholders. The last two years have affected local businesses with decrease in opportunities and increase in problems.
The motto of RCCI is to be member-focused. Members have always been of pivotal importance for the sustainability and prosperity of RCCI. RCCI has always welcomed members to seek its help and support for the achievement of their business goals and aims. The new leadership has introduced the practice of visitation; which is a purpose defined act of social responsibility and service.
Through this initiative, a team of RCCI representatives visit businesses managed by its members regardless of their size. Earlier, members had to come to RCCI office for resolution of their issues. Now RCCI is going to its members, providing them convenience, comfort and cooperation. There is a wide range of services that RCCI provides to its members including legal processes for establishment of business and taxation related services amongst other beneficial features.
The core purpose of newly implemented visitation policy is to educate the member community about its goals and actions driven towards its accomplishment. RCCI resolves the difficulties faced businesses through on-ground interaction and address them in their meetings.
The vision in short is: Connecting businesses and connecting with them.
Q2: What are RCCI’s goals and strategies in SME sector?
Answer: SMEs are the backbone of our economy. In the region of Potohar, SMEs are in abundance but are facing problems due to lack of policy implementation and absence of professional business ethics. RCCI is primarily focused on the ongoing project of “Ring Road”. It has proposed to the government and managing authorities of the project to create economic zones, small industrial zones, and wholesale markets along the Ring Road. The economic zone will be a center of business excellence. It will promote trade and commerce activity regionally as well as nationally. The small industrial zones will develop cottage industries, improve their quality and deliverance, and contribute towards the growth of the economy.
Wholesale markets are currently running in congested market places and it is damaging for the wholesale traders as well as the market that they are catering to. By functioning in current areas, the major chunk of profitable customers is not accessible and the price war with retailers is leading to compromised standards on quality. Through development of Ring Road and its connected economic zone project, financial progress, employment promotion and national development can be achieved.
Q3: How do you see the growth of technical education?
Answer: RCCI is aligned with TEVTA and many vocational training providers, including Al-Farabi Institute of Health Sciences for promotion of skill development. Technical skill enhancement is a pivotal and necessary ingredient for progressive and development of society. It is a medium through which youth needs can be addressed and prepared for better opportunities in life. The youth is the future of the nation and by equipping them with technical skills, talent can be directed towards different horizons of knowledge implementation and practical application. RCCI is educating its worthy members about the beneficial features of technical education and its positive impact on their businesses. RCCI is also collaborating with governmental bodies and skill imparting councils to further facilitate members and their causes.
Q4: What is the role of RCCI in promoting trade and industry?
Answer: RCCI has played an important role in promoting trade and industry by organizing and arranging exhibitions, conferences and meetings involving local and international delegations. The function of RCCI is to help its members and their businesses.
The current leadership is reaching out to individuals and organizations not catered before and assisting them in successfully establishing their business. RCCI has been utilizing print and digital media for promotion of trade and industry. It is also working through social media to involve the talented youth of the country and open gates of business for youth entrepreneurs. RCCI has various committees to address specific issues like health, education, women, welfare, etc. RCCI now plans to focus on researching, planning, implementing, and reviewing skills that will give life to new trades and industries.
Q5: How does RCCI help the government in policy making?
Answer: RCCI acts as an advisory body for the government and is a connection point for members, organizations and government. RCCI works on behalf of its members by providing them authentic and timely information. It supports government through creation of new businesses started by members of RCCI. A new business is the best platform for job creation, and more employability will lead to long term stability and sustainability. Government is also briefed through reports and meetings about current performance and future plans.
A President’s conference is held annually, where all chamber presidents meet and produce a progressive action plan to address current and future issues. The meeting is also attended by Prime Minister or members of his cabinet.