The meeting was held as a part of briefing with the potential project partners for the establishment of the Third Party Facilitation Centers (TPFC) at Multan. The objective was in general to share the project Pro-GOLE (Right to Do Business) concept, the activities to be undertaken & the methodology for implementation of such activities and in particular to coin the idea of TPFC, Methodology and possible advantages for businesses as well as service providers.
Dated: 15 July, 2012
Venue: The First Hotel, Multan
Number of Participants: 32 persons including representatives and members of Pakistan Chamber of Small Traders (PCST), Legal Service Providers etc. were present in the meeting.
Meeting started with the recitation of few verses from Holy Quran, followed by Welcome Note of Mirza Ammad Ali, Provincial Coordinator, Punjab, Pro-GOLE (Right to Do Business). He gave the project introduction and described the overall project methodology and working strategy to the participants. Mr. Ammad Mirza, Provincial Coordinator, Punjab also shared the objectives of the Project as well as the Third Party Facilitation Centers (TPFC). Mirza elaborated that TPFCs are mechanisms of support established by SMEDA for facilitating access to legal services to the small businesses at the door step of their businesses. TPFCs will be established with collaboration of trade association. Legal services providers will be available at these Centers for legal advice as well as awareness of small businesses, in particular members of the partner association. Under Pro-GOLE Project eight TPFCs will be established in the Province of Punjab
Mr. Khalid Mehmood Quershi, President Pakistan Chamber of Small Traders (PCST),Multanshared with the participants that PCST has membership of more than 290 trade Associations and is working wholly on its own without any support from any institution. He further stated that due to ignorance of law and present situation in the country, businesses especially small businesses are being affected adversely. He praised the Pro-GOLE Project and stressed that there is a dire need of such projects for the legal awareness, facilitation and capacity building of small businesses. He also showed his willingness to provide his support for venue and other arrangements to establish TPFC at Multan.
Mr Muhammad Arif Chaudary, Manager-Legal Services Cell, SMEDA/LSO, Pro-GOLE, Punjab after introducing SMEDA and its Legal Services Cell briefed the participants about SMEDA’s Network of Legal Service Providers, criteria of becoming member of this Network. He also explained about the functions of TPFCs, its objectives and different ways of extending legal facilitation through this center both for SMEs and legal service providers. He further stated that we are expecting that TPFC at Multan will act as model TPFC in Punjab.
Khawaja Muhammad Shafiq, Chairman, Pakistan Chamber of Small Traders (PCST) while extending his vote of thanks, expressed that he has lot of expectations from Pro-GOLE and stressed that TPFC at Multan will prove to be a supportive program for small traders in creating legal awareness about starting and doing business leading towards creating an environment for small businesses where they will be doing their businesses without any fear and blackmailing from any side. He further added that through this facilitation, we may be able to attract expatriate as well as foreign investors to invest in Pakistan. He on the behalf of PCST agreed to provide his support to Pro-GOLE throughout the Pakistan. Mr Khawaja also suggested bringing on board foreign Embassies through TPFC for legal facilitation of businessmen who are willing to export their products. Mr. Khawaja Muhammad Shafiq welcomed SMEDA and Pro-GOLE team and promised that his organization will stand along with the project mission.
During the Question Answer session, Mr. Hussain Ahmad, Program Officer, Pro-GOLE (Right to d Business) answered the queries raised by the participants regarding functioning of TPFC, kind of help extended, role of PCST, engagement of Lawyers and few others. He also shared with the participants, the experience of the other operational TPFCs at Peshawar & Karachi. He elaborated how business community as well as Legal Service Providers Networks is getting benefits from the intervention.
President, PCST was very optimistic and offered to share the PCST office at Madni Tower HussainAghai Bazzar, Multan for hosting of TPFC. Representatives of PCST gave their consent of working with the project and shared that they will extend full support for the hosting of TPFC at their office. It was decided that after Eid, members of PCST and Pro-GOLE team will mutually finalize TORs, chief guest, venue and date for the Inauguration of TPFC at Multan.
Impact of event on project / project implementation:
Establishment of Third Party Facilitation Party is one of the milestones towards the implementation of project activities of output 01. This will help to enhance the legal awareness of marginalized businesses as well as strengthening of Legal Service Providers Networks.