Thursday, 6 November 2014

“Each and every citizen of any country plays the role of an ambassador”, Mr. A R Punjwani

Mr. A R Punjwani, Chief Executive, Qasim Freight Station

Mr. Sohail Yasin Suleman messaged me: “you are going with us to Mauritius”; and I said okay. I knew nothing about Mauritius, but to see or explore new places is always amazing and a businessman never misses such opportunities.  First of all, it was a pleasure to meet with the members of the delegation, to know each of them and then to visit such beautiful and peaceful place like Mauritius has been a wonderful experience.

I realized that the way in which Mauritian people greet their guests is different. They are really hospitable. There is a sense of responsibility in each and every citizen. Even the attitude of the President of Mauritius, the Prime Minister of Mauritius and other officials of Government of Mauritius reflected that they possessed high sense of responsibility towards the people of Mauritius. The simplicity of government officials and their sincerity towards their country is reflected in every action of them. So is their national character and personality which has led them towards development.

I wonder how the President and Prime Minister of any country can be so simple. Only one dish dinner was served at Islamic Center where VVIPs were invited to celebrate Eid Festival. Simplicity is their specialty. There is no VIP culture in Mauritius. I felt so much positivity in the people of Mauritius, whether we met government officials or Board of Investment executives or the representatives of other organizations. I think this positive attitude will take them to even greater level of development.

Environment was good all over the country.  People were nice.  So by and large, it’s a very attractive country. There are people with different backgrounds and religions like Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others.  But for them, Mauritius comes first. Citizens of Mauritius profess different religious faiths but homogeneity is commendable. There does not exist any iota of e3xtremism in any section of Mauritius society.

Exploring business opportunity in Mauritius, I see there exists many options. Mauritius enjoys position of hub of the entire African market.  So there are openings to export consumer goods. I realized that there were no super-stores like we have Makro, Metro, Hyperstar and others in Karachi. Moreover there is a shortage of dairy products there. So there are lots of business prospects in this sector.

As a professional in shipping and logistics sector, one feels there is a problem of low volume of exports/imports. Only big lines are working there like Maersk line. Entry in the logistics market is difficult because of low economies of scale.

Tourism can be increased from Pakistan to Mauritius as it is a very beautiful tourist spot and weather always remains pleasant. Tourism always gives birth to new business opportunities. It should always be promoted.  About 1 million tourists visit Mauritius every year.  If Pakistani’s have shops and display centers there, it can promote business from Pakistan.

"Each and every citizen of any country plays the role of an ambassador." 

We have to build our country’s image by our good behavior. As you know, the first impression is the last impression. When you visit any country in the world, the first impression is created by a taxi driver outside the airport.  The people of Mauritius are genuine & simple, honest and friendly, whether serving as taxi drivers or as member of the hotel staff.

I think the objective of this visit to Mauritius was achieved, which was to explore Mauritius, to meet one to one and to open the door to reciprocal investment. Thanks to Sohail Yasin Suleman who organized the successful delegation as Honorary Consul of Mauritius.

"Countries with strong national identity can prosper in the world", Mr. Yahya Polani

Mr. Yahya Polani, Chairman Polani Group

We all enjoyed our excellent visit to Mauritius. It was my first visit and I really appreciate that Mr. Sohail Yasin demonstrated confidence in us, and took us in a group of seventeen, with members from every walk of life. It was an achievement and an honor to meet all the higher dignitaries of Mauritius including the President, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Commerce Minister, and Officers of the Board of Investment.  We were also delighted to meet with officials of Air Mauritius and Mauritius Chamber of Commerce.  

We also attended the exhibition Maitex 2014. It was excellent. The most important thing is that it is a really good country among all the African countries. Their per capita income is higher than the other African countries. The population is about 1.2 million and the number of tourists is about 1 million.  This is a big achievement for any country to have such an enormous amount of tourism. There are 17% Muslims, 32% Christians, 48% Hindus and others. Muslims are really doing well there. They have named a road as ‘Mohammad Ali Jinnah Road’ and a market is named ‘Jinnah Market’. They are really promoting Urdu language there.

We could not visit every place, obviously, but still the visit was really good. Our Government should increase efforts for building our relationship with Mauritius. There are only three staff members at the Pakistan Embassy over there while the Indian Embassy has hundred staff members. This is really shameful for us. All top countries have embassies there. I salute our ambassador Major General (r) Ulfat Hussain. He is doing a good job. Former ambassador Major General (r) Muhammae Siddique has done a very good job for Pakistan, but from the Government of Pakistan side, they are not doing anything to promote Pakistan in Mauritius. Our Ambassador is one of a kind. He is really active in his job. I pay tribute to Former Ambassador Major General (r) Siddique Sahib and current ambassador Major General (r) Ulfat Sahab as they are doing a wonderful job.  On the other hand, I criticize our government. They should work for developing a strong cultural and trade relationship with Mauritius. There is lots of opportunity for  export over there. We have many items which can be exported there. India has captured a large part of the Mauritian market. At least we can aim for 17% share. I request our President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to strengthen our Embassy there.   We should increase our exports to Mauritius. We should invite Mauritian people to visit Pakistan. We should have culture display in the Pakistan Embassy in Mauritius. We should have meetings with Mauritian government officials.  Pakistan’s government should provide staff to Pakistan Embassy in Mauritius. The image buildup which we have done in Mauritius of Pakistan is one of its kind. There is a need for more delegation visits like this.

I really enjoyed the dinner at Islamic Centre in Mauritius. The Prime Minister was there, Deputy Prime Minister was there, all the higher dignitaries were there and I liked one thing very much, which is that they served only one dish, which was biryani. In Pakistan, if we have this type of event, we serve hundreds of dishes. So, the system of one dish party is marvelous. We should also introduce this system here in Pakistan.

I had a chance to meet officials of Air Mauritius. I think the issue with Air Mauritius is that they have only six aircraft. As Mauritius is a huge tourist spot and a peaceful country, people like to visit there. Officials of Air Mauritius are really professional. I have not seen people like them in the history of airlines. I suggested to them to promote their airline in Pakistan. Many groups have visited Mauritius from Pakistan through our travel agency. Now I will promote Mauritius further.

We should have terms and conditions to promote Air Mauritius. They have shortage of aircrafts and they have code-sharing with Emirates.  So it will be a benefit for us to travel through Emirates with fare that is equal to Air Mauritius. It is also possible to have agreement between PIA and Air Mauritius but the problem is that both have shortage of aircraft. Population of Pakistan according to me is about 22 crore (220 million) and we don’t have a total 100 aircraft including PIA and other private airlines combined. Even Turkey whose population is much less than Pakistan has around 400 aircraft including Turkish Airline’s and others private airlines. So where are we going? No one give importance to tourism in Pakistan. We should promote it for the welfare of Pakistan. 

Mauritius is a genuinely patriotic nation. Having 17% Muslim population and 53% Hindu population there is no feeling of discrimination. 

 "Countries with strong national identity can prosper in the world and Mauritius is one of them".

Friday, 5 September 2014

Business Trip to Paradise Island—Mauritius By S.B. Hassan

His Excellency Mr. Rajkeswur Purryag, GCSK, GOSK, President of Mauritius meeting the members of Pakistan Delegation at the President House

Organized recently in great hurry and haste, even then designed and formed with full perfection, the delegation from Pakistan visited Mauritius—the freest and most business-friendly country in Africa, popularly called “The Jewel of Africa”.

A group photogargh of Pakistan Delegation to Mauritius
The initiative was taken by the Honorary Consul of Mauritius in Sindh Mr. Sohail Yasin Suleman who enjoys the reputation of an executive having initiative, imagination, inexhaustible energy added by resources to manage any project from start to finish. This truly applies to the mammoth task of taking a Pakistani delegation of around 20 eminent persons comprising businessmen, diverse professionals and media personalities (electronic and print).  The High Commissioner of Pakistan, H.E Major General (Retd.) Ulfat Hussain extended full cooperation and support to make the visit of the Pakistan Delegation successful and productively meaningful.

The program included courtesy calls on and meetings with His Excellency Mr. Rajkeswur Purryag, GCSK, GOSK, President of the Republic of Mauritius; Honorary Rashid Beebeejaun, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Public Utilities and Honorary Cader Sayed Hossen, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection. Other highlights of the visit of the delegation included visit to Board of Investment of Mauritius, Mauritius Port Authority and Mauritius Free Port Authority, Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation, Air Mauritius, The Islamic Cultural Centre of Mauritius and Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Economic Zone:
With one of the largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the world comprising 1.9 million sq. km. of ocean and another co-managed 396,000 sq. km. Mauritius has an immense potential for the development of its ocean economy. This expense represent more than one thousand and one hundred times the land mass of Mauritius, larger than the combined land area of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Through its dual membership in two economic blocs of SADC and COMESA, Mauritius confirms its identity and role as a full-fledged partner in the sustainable development and the growth of sub-Saharan Africa. Recognized as a safe and well-regulated international jurisdiction, Mauritius now serves as a platform for investing, providing technical expertise and talents to boost growth of the continent. Its stability vouchsafes Africa investors’ confidence.

Board of Investment is the national investment promotion agency of the Government of Mauritius with the mandate to promote and facilitate investment in the country. It is the first point of contact to investors exploring business opportunities in Mauritius and the region. BOI also assists investors in the growth, nurturing and diversification of their business.

With the view to facilitating the implementation of investment projects and, more importantly, to continuously improve the investment and business climate, BOI works in close collaboration with Government bodies, institutions and private sector companies.

Reaction of businessmen from Pakistan:
Businessmen from Pakistan significantly reacted positively to avail the opportunities of developing trade and investment activities between the two countries.   On their recommendation Air Mauritius will soon start its flight to Pakistan.
The Islamic Center of Mauritius

A historic market in Mauritius named after Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the father of the nation of Pakistan.

A historic street in Mauritius named after Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the father of the nation of Pakistan.