Thought-provoking and future-focused: Pakistan Leadership Conversation 2019 kick starts with a successful event in Karachi

Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Leading policy makers and business operators discussed the current and future issues facing the economy and the role of business leaders in shaping the future at the inaugural Karachi edition of this year’s “Pakistan Leadership Conversation 2019 (PLC 2019)” organised by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

Pakistan Leadership Conversation (PLC) is an annual series of conferences that brings together prominent thought leaders from the public and private sectors and engage them in thought-provoking and future-focused conversations with an aim to shape the future of society and economy in Pakistan.

Sajjeed Aslam, head of ACCA Pakistan opened the conference with a passionate keynote stressing on the importance of hope and optimism and warned business leader not to get trapped by naysayers who say it can’t happen. Highlighting the changing role of professional accountants, he said: “Professional accountants are among the most trusted business advisers, including in start-ups and larger organisations seeking to learn from new business models. Of course, for them to be ready to fully to embrace new opportunities will demand new skills, such as financial acumen, technical knowledge and ethical judgment. At ACCA we are ready to take the challenge on board”.

Speaking of Pakistan’s economic prospects, he further said: “All stakeholders – policy makers, regulators, private sector, practitioners and civil society – need to play their part. To help the economy prosper and solve social challenges, the involvement and contribution of corporate sector, which plays a key role in the economic turnaround, is crucial”.

Featuring prominent businessmen, seasoned bureaucrats, senior diplomats, influential lawmakers and renowned thought leaders, the panel discussions at the event revealed that there is a strong need to rethink the role and scope of business leaders to ensure the ability of local businesses to compete globally. The participants agreed that Pakistan is now seen by many as a place where business can enjoy a stable legal framework and have access to very reliable and skillful professionals with strong work ethic. It is now important to make an effort to showcase Pakistan’s true potential globally and make efforts to improve ease of doing business to attract foreign investment and to fully take advantage of opportunities provided by the innovative technologies and unconventional business models.

The British High Commission Islamabad has also joined ACCA as a co-organiser for this conference and was represented by senior diplomats and staff who also shared their views and insights on the discussion topics.

The global President of ACCA, Mr. Robert Stenhouse also delivered a keynote speech and helped the audiences with preparing for the challenges and opportunities ahead. The conference also included a dedicated session for the leading policy makers and business operators to debate the implications of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Hassan Daud Butt, Project Director – CPEC, Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms delivered an exclusive presentation explaining the CPEC projects and their impact on country’s economy. Haroon Sharif, Chairman, Board of Investment gave an overview of government’s efforts in attracting and facilitating foreign investors and shared BOI’s vision for making Pakistan a hub of economic activity in the region. 

The event in Karachi was followed by a corporate dinner in the evening celebrating the success of new ACCA members. The Honourable Governor Sindh, Imran Ismail attended the dinner as the Chief Guest.

Themed ‘Strategic Business Leaders | Capacity & Character’, the agenda at the PLC 2019 examines a wide range of key topics from institutional reforms to global competitiveness to digital revolution.

The next sessions of Pakistan Leadership Conversation 2019 will take place in Lahore and Islamabad on 20 and 21 February, respectively. There’s an exciting line up of speakers and high-profile guests for both the remaining events. Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht, Finance Minister, Punjab has been confirmed as the Chief Guest for the event in Lahore and Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs will be the Chief Guest at the event in Islamabad.

Started in 2017, Pakistan Leadership Conversation has now become an important annual event for those who want to keep abreast with the way the business world and accountancy profession is evolving.

Details of the event can be found on ACCA’s website.