In Pakistan, the economic contributions of numerous trade organizations, such as associations for various industries, chambers of commerce, and businessmen forums, are not being fully met.
The SBP special section on “Role of Trade Organizations in Economic Growth and Development: Understanding the Dynamics in Pakistan” in the second quarterly report emphasized the significance of effective public-private dialogue in the planning and implementation of economic reforms, particularly in light of the fact that government planning globally has evolved to become participatory, collaborative, and market-oriented.
The public and commercial sectors profit directly and indirectly from the significant market-supporting and market-complementing services provided by TOs. The government of Pakistan has identified Trade Organizations (TOs) as a change catalyst that plays a crucial role in directing economic and governmental policies under Pakistan Vision 2025.
Trade Organizations (TOs) in Pakistan
The most recent figures show that 227 trade organizations, including 12 chambers for small businesses and 21 women chambers, are members of FPCCI.
The main purpose of TOs is to establish a collective platform to influence policy by promoting the private sector’s agenda. The range of tasks they undertake has increased, though. These organizations now do research and development, actively promote technological adoption, and improve the general business environment by offering ADR mechanisms and defending intellectual property rights in an effort to maintain their financial viability and membership.
These chambers and associations offer a host of services to their members. Whereas, advocacy and research are expenditure items on TOs’ financial statements, the services they offer are revenue sources. Accordingly, TOs in Pakistan offer different services to their members. Some organize international trips for members, while almost all offer visa facilitation by issuing referral letters against service fees. TOs have also set up helpdesks to answer members’ queries and accommodate new members, while some provide certificates of origin (COOs).
Business organizations need highly qualified staff if they are to enhance their structure and effectively carry out their duties. The general secretary, a salaried employee, serves as the administrative head of TOs in Pakistan. In some circumstances, there is also a separate training and B2B department as well as a research department.
However, based on personal data, it appears that these departments are understaffed in terms of both the number of people and the level of training and experience of those individuals.
Even while business leaders in Pakistan recognise the lack of market research, TOs in that country also do not generate a demand for research from universities. Businesses are better positioned to drive the industry-academia linkage from the demand side since they are aware of their demands.
Even though some TOs in Pakistan have signed MoUs with universities, they generally do not translate into a regular publication feature or materialize into tangible results. Instead, most TOs in Pakistan are focused on networking and lobbying without providing evidence, thus creating little research demand. TOs in Pakistan are also not active producers of market surveys and benchmarking data.