FAISALABAD: A proposal for setting up a prestigious educational institution under the banner of Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) must be finalised so that concrete and practical steps could be taken to implement the project, said FCCI President Rana Sikandar Azam.
Speaking at a meeting of the Standing Committee on industry-academia Linkages, Entrepreneurship, Training, Development and Capacity Building, Azam said the proposal for the educational institution was floated by former FCCI president Mian Javaid Iqbal a few years ago.
He wanted to establish a Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)-like institution in Faisalabad. A number of meetings were held but no breakthrough could be made, Azam said.
He suggested the constitution of an ad hoc committee to pave the way for setting up the institution. He, however, said the industrial sector of Pakistan was lagging far behind in research and development activities, which required strong industry-academia linkages.
Standing Committee Chairman Dr Habib Aslam Gaba told the meeting that the fourth industrial revolution was knocking at the country’s door and it must take benefit of it without wasting time.
He pointed out that the National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE) intended to set up a technology park with all scientific facilities from the institute. He revealed that NIBGE director was expected to visit the FCCI to explain salient features of the proposed technology park.
FCCI Senior Vice President Zafar Iqbal Sarwar, while appreciating the idea, said the government had Rs50 billion in the Export Development Fund (EDF), which could be utilised for starting work on the project.
He suggested that the proposed FCCI University and the technology park could be merged in order to provide technical skills and knowhow to the industrial workers.
Faisalabad Garments City Chairman Rehan Naseem Bharara revealed that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) was working on women leadership and empowerment programmes and a meeting could be arranged between Jica and the FCCI standing committee.
“It will help them to share ideas and launch a positive and result-oriented project,” he said, adding that Jica had already completed a compressive market survey of Faisalabad and necessary funds could be received from German development agency GIZ, Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Tevta) and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda).
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2019.