A Launchpad For Businesses

The Pakistan Business Council in Dubai has been promoting the interests of the community and acting as a bridge between the two countries



By Muhammad Ali Bandial

Published: Sun 14 Aug 2022, 12:00 AM

The journey of Pakistan Business Council (PBC) Dubai chapter started in 1984, when it was established as a wing within the Pakistan Association Dubai. In 2004, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) decided that in order to increase the foreign trade, there was a need to create business councils of various communities. Therefore, PBC then moved out from the umbrella of Pakistan Association Dubai and became a registered body as a business council with the DCCI and all its activities and events monitored under their leadership and guidance. In all aspects of business and trade within Dubai, DCCI has always provided help and information regarding all laws and regulations to Pakistani businessmen and has lent a helping hand whenever needed.

A UNIFIED PLATFORM

PBC consists of a large group of Pakistani businessmen, businesswomen, investors and professionals, based in the UAE. The council members represent companies from various and diverse sectors like real estate, insurance and finance, industrial machinery, automobiles, business machines, education, print and electronic media, digital advertising and various Pakistani technology startups. The members meet at regular intervals. The objective of PBC is to bring all elements of Pakistani business on a single platform. The council then holds various events through which it disseminates information to the business community. PCB has forward and backward linkages with the regional Pakistani trade associations and chambers of commerce so that they are appraised and informed about all the business opportunities and latest rules and regulations required. During Expo 2020 Dubai, PBC played a vital role by organising investment conferences for all the provincial governments of Pakistan, which were attended by the state representatives and dignitaries along with businessmen. The role of PBC was appreciated by the attendees as it led to the signing of numerous memoranda of understanding worth billions of dollars for investment opportunities in Pakistan.

RAISING AWARENESS

The journey of Pakistan Business Council (PBC) Dubai chapter started in 1984, when it was established as a wing within the Pakistan Association Dubai. In 2004, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) decided that in order to increase the foreign trade, there was a need to create business councils of various communities. Therefore, PBC then moved out from the umbrella of Pakistan Association Dubai and became a registered body as a business council with the DCCI and all its activities and events monitored under their leadership and guidance. In all aspects of business and trade within Dubai, DCCI has always provided help and information regarding all laws and regulations to Pakistani businessmen and has lent a helping hand whenever needed.

A UNIFIED PLATFORM

PBC consists of a large group of Pakistani businessmen, businesswomen, investors and professionals, based in the UAE. The council members represent companies from various and diverse sectors like real estate, insurance and finance, industrial machinery, automobiles, business machines, education, print and electronic media, digital advertising and various Pakistani technology startups. The members meet at regular intervals. The objective of PBC is to bring all elements of Pakistani business on a single platform. The council then holds various events through which it disseminates information to the business community. PCB has forward and backward linkages with the regional Pakistani trade associations and chambers of commerce so that they are appraised and informed about all the business opportunities and latest rules and regulations required. During Expo 2020 Dubai, PBC played a vital role by organising investment conferences for all the provincial governments of Pakistan, which were attended by the state representatives and dignitaries along with businessmen. The role of PBC was appreciated by the attendees as it led to the signing of numerous memoranda of understanding worth billions of dollars for investment opportunities in Pakistan.

RAISING AWARENESS

Another role the council plays is that of raising awareness among the business community by hosting an important personality from the UAE Government every month to inform and update the members

regarding the most recent laws and regulations. Recently, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade was invited by the council. He was appreciative of the contributions made by the Pakistani community and both he and DCCI recommended many members of PBC for the Golden Visa, based on their contributions to the UAE economy.

Moreover, whenever there is an upcoming development regarding the trade and business requirements, PBC invites and updates all its members accordingly so as to keep them ready and prepared. So that even if they are facing some issues or need some answers, they can be provided immediately as time is of the essence in the world of business and trade. Infact, last month when Dr. Ahmed Al Zeyoudi came to the DCCI, he apprised everyone of the future map of the UAE trade industry, what the main pillars of the economy will be in the next decade and how the country was focusing on attracting foreign talent, investments and making the country a logistics centre. The UAE is signing comprehensive economic partnership agreements with many countries to enable businesses to bring their goods to the country without incurring duties and then to re-export to other countries. Recently, the council organised a lecture on the corporate tax law, which will come into effect in the UAE from 1 July 2023. The council informed its members, providing them with insight on how to prepare for it, what is needed to re-organise and restructure their organisations. In the last year alone, 44 laws have been changed. PBC has appraised and informed its membership about all the changes and what they entail and how to get benefit out of them.

On the social front as well, the council is very active by bringing together the families of the business communities and allowing networking opportunities, which lead to more business channels. The council also plays an important role in tending to the Pakistani community. During the Covid-19 pandemic, PBC arranged for the repatriation of individuals who were stranded in the UAE, by arranging for free air tickets. Whenever the Consulate asks for any assistance, PBC has always answered the call and stepped forward, such as distributing food rations during the month of Ramadan. Just last month, Pakistan Association Dubai held a mango festival, which was inaugurated by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence. PBC Food Director was there to provide full support in the smooth functioning of the event and provided free mangoes to the event, which was attended by more than 5,000 members of the community.

GROWING AND PROSPERING

The association takes pride in being totally transparent in all its dealings. Every year, the council presents its audited accounts to the members for discussion and approval. Representatives from DCCI also attend these meetings and they have time and again acknowledged that PBC is among the most active associations in Dubai. Every two years, the council holds elections in which everyone is free to participate to select the board members. The organisation of PBC comprises of seven Directors and three Vice-Presidents. In 2021, for the first time, a female member was appointed to the board in order to encourage women empowerment and to incentivise the women entrepreneurs and help them organise and promote their businesses. Recently, PBC has also established its own office in the very prestigious Latifa Tower on the Sheikh Zayed Road. The opening ceremony of the new premises, which houses meeting rooms and all facilities required by the community, will be held shortly.

POPULAR SECTORS

Food constitutes the most popular sector to the UAE, owing to the proximity of Pakistan, taking only two days for the goods to arrive. As a result, mangoes, oranges, vegetables and other food items are very popular in the UAE. The scope in this sector has still not been fully tapped and there is a lot of room for growth. The other big sector is the textile which is very popular. A new sector that is fast emerging is the engineering sector. So, there is a lot of demand within the Middle East and PBC is ready to play its role in helping the Pakistani business community expand its reach within these markets.

BECOME A PBC MEMBER

Those interested can apply for membership via the online form on the PBC official website www.pbcdubai.ae, or contact Ms. Ellanie, Office Manager, on officemanager@pbcdubai.ae or. Shahid Iftikhar, Executive Assistant, on info@pbcdubai.ae for further assistance

MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES

Category A: Dubai-based Pakistani Corporate Business Membership

Membership in this category is open to Pakistani businesses registered in Dubai, either independently or in affiliation with a UAE National or with a UAE Corporate body.

Category B: Dubai-based Pakistani Individual Membership

Membership in this category is open to all Pakistani nationals who are working in Dubai, except individuals that qualify as the representative of Dubai based Pakistani Corporate Member.

OBJECTIVES OF PAKISTAN BUSINESS COUNCIL, DUBAI

Promote trade, commerce and investment between the two countries.

Facilitate businessmen who are interested in investing in Dubai and other freezones in the UAE in all possible ways by providing them information in various avenues.

Introduce Pakistani products to business houses in the UAE, especially in Dubai for investment and for joint venture in Pakistan.

Organise exhibitions in Dubai to promote Pakistani products is another salient feature. At PBC Dubai exhibit, chamber members can participate and display their products.

— ali@khaleejtimes.com


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