Meeting with Mr. Haroon Sharif, Advisor to World Bank on South Asia

SAARC CCI delegation led by President Mr. Suraj Vaidya visited Work Bank Pakistan office on 14th April, 2016 to meet Mr. Haroon Shareef, Advisor, Regional Economic Cooperation (South Asia) at The World Bank office in Pakistan to exchange views of areas of mutual interest particularly in view of upcoming SAARC Summit, scheduled in Pakistan. President SAARC CCI enlightened the World Bank Advisor to South Asia about SARC CCI Planning including convening of 6th edition of SAARC Business Leaders Conclave, the most prestigious event of SAARC CCI to be oragnised as the sideline event of SAARC Summit, which is scheduled in 2nd week of November, 2016 in Pakistan.

President SAARC CCI while introducing his delegation thanked the Advisor for receiving them and appreciated the efforts of World Bank Group towards South Asian Affairs particularly in terms of its engagements in enhancing trade, improving physical connectivity and investment in projects including infrastructure and energy, however felt the need for taking proactive  initiatives and  pursuing  forward looking policies  to move SAARC ahead, which according to him could not produce tangible outcome so far. He pointed out cost of doing business in the region quite was extremely high, which he termed as an outcome of bureaucratic hurdles, resulting into cumbersome procedures and  inadequate  policies .  He sought WB support for setting up necessary infrastructure to set up SAARC Industrial Park, which could help attract cross border trade and investment. He was of the opinion that in the absence of enabling business environment i.e without signing of double taxation treaty and Regional investment treaty under SAARC,  the South can be transformed into a an economic bloc. He offered  World Bank to work with SAARC CCI and plan some joint initiatives to work  on basic issues, responsible for not allowing trade to grow to its real potential.  He briefed about SAARC CCI plan of action for next two years to make SAARC CCI more effective organization.

CAPTION: A view of SAARC CCI Delegation meeting with Mr. Haroon Shareef,
Advisor, Regional Economic Cooperation (South Asia) at The World Bank

Mr. Haroon Shareef welcomed SAARC CCI delegation and appreciated the vision and approach of President SAARC CCI and his team. He, however, urged upon the need for working on one or two core areas, which were very common in the whole region.  He regarded electricity as common trading commodity in all SAARC member nations.  He said unfortunately, the concerned departments of Government as well as Private Sector in South Asia was fragmented into various chambers anmd Associations, which is creating serious issues in terms of ownership and assessment of real stakeholders and their role. He was of the opinion that SAARC CCI being the sole legitimate organization, should re-organize the private sector and welcomed the initiative of inclusion of organsioation like CII under the fold of SAARC CCI. He was of the opinions that even if the Govts of SAARC countries have given mandate to SAARC CCI to do something, but unfortunately Government system and procedures are serious hurdled at the same time, which have made South Asia a non-conducive for intra-SAARC trade and investment. He expressed his contentment to become the knowledge partner of SAARC CCI for the 6th edition of SBLC.

Responding to the queries of   Advisor to World Bank, Mr. Vaidya apprised that SAARC CCI is opening sub-offices in SAARC region very soon to address the issues of fragmentation and while citing the proposal of SAARC CCI for formation of CEO, which was already on table for approval from SAARC Ministerial  Conference.

The SAARC CCI consisted of Mr. Ziaulhaq Wazirzai, EC Member (Afghanistan),  Mohammad Zia Azizi, International Organization & MOU Manager, International Affairs Department, ACCI,  Mr. Om Raj Bhandary Bahadur, Vice President, (Nepal),   Mr. Karma Dorji, Vice President (Bhutan), Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik, VP SAARC CCI (Pakistan), Mr. Hameed Akhter Chadda, EC Member (Pakistan), Mr.  Zubair A Malik, EC Member (Pakistan), Mr. Sohail Hussian, GA Member (Pakistan), Mr. Iqbal Tabish, Secretary General, SAARC CCI and Mr. Zulfiqar Butt, DSG, SAARC CCI.

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