KARACHI: There is a huge marine wealth in Pakistan’s sea-waters which needs to be tapped in an organized way and on modern lines by engaging private sector.
‘It really pains us to see huge marine resources un-utilized. We want a jump start in development of in-shore and off-shore resources,’ said Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi during an interactive session with members of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), here at KCCI Secretariat on Wednesday.
He said that it was to his satisfaction that the business community associated with Karachi Chamber was thinking in the same way and talked of his vision about marine resources development.
He mentioned that besides big deposits of fisheries and minerals, there were around 16 billion barrel oil reserves under our sea bed; waiting for exploration.
Firstly, he asserted, all the issues should be brought under the umbrella of Federal Ministry of Marine Affairs and then proceed in a focused way to get the results.
He was of the view that this task should be handed over to a team of professionals and experts at the ministry instead of traditional bureaucracy.
‘As a national cause, we should make our best efforts to boost marine resources. It is very important to convince business community and the policy makers to focus on this great hidden wealth,’ he pleaded.
To a demand from former president KCCI and Chairman of Businessmen Group at KCCI , Siraj Kassam Teli, the Naval Chief , in principle, agreed to form a committee with representatives of the KCCI and the Pakistan Navy – after due consultation with Pakistan Naval Foundation and the Ministry of Marine Affairs for identifying the areas and setting modalities to develop the marine resources and the coastal line including development of recreational facilities for tourists.
‘We would jointly move with tangible and concrete plan,’ he re-assured.
He informed that Pakistan Navy was going to set up Marine University and Marine IT Park. Besides these, Marine Works Organisation had been planned to be set up as a joint venture with private sector.
He said sixty percent of Pakistan Navy’s budget was being spent on its development.
Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi said there was dire need for strengthening shipping industry of the country as the most trade was being done via sea-routes. Around 45,000 ships used to pass through Pakistan’s waters every year.
The country needs more shipyards and that Pakistan Navy could set up another shipyard in Karachi in partnership with private sector.
To a query from KCCI President Mufasar Atta Malik, Chairman of Karachi Port Trust Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar informed that KPT had exempted of all charges up to 2030 for a local ferry service to be operated by private company. In next few months, KPT would identify the site at Deep Sea Port venue for setting up a aqua sports club. This would include sailing boats.
He invited private sector to come ahead for this project.
On the occasion, Commander Abdul Muneeb gave presentation on Pakistan Navy’s operations, academic activities and future projects.
A video was also screened to highlight the Pakistan Navy facilities and potential of marine resources.
Earlier, KCCI President Mufassar Atta Malik and former president Siraj Kassam Teli spoke of Karachi Chamber’s role in promoting trade and industry, and about the welfare of business community, with the ultimate aim to bring economic prosperity to the country.