Basit Maqsood Abbasi A “game changer” for economy

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TUSDEC CEO gives an interview to Centreline and DNA

By Yasir Habib Khan

Pakistan’s embattling economy looks to be on the mend. Index provider MSCI tends to consider Pakistan among emerging markets of the world. Inflation has been subsiding gradually and foreign exchange reserves gain steady upswing. Efforts are afoot to spur economic growth to around 7 percent. GDP growth is expected to ramp up to 4.7 percent in 2016.

Despite such blossoming signs, noticeable challenges stay intact to afflict economy. One of the best measures to take these challenges head-on lies in putting aggressive thrust on demand-driven technology advancement and skill development at par excellence. Timely funding for professional and technical projects, improving connectivity between technical institutions to industry to optimize employability, upgradation of curricula and putting all weight behind the promotion of Small and Medium Industry Enterprises (SMEs) are the others steps that have immense potential to make desirous economic turnaround.

TUSDEC (Technology Upgradation and Skill Development Company), indeed, stands out well in harnessing and upgrading demand-driven technology and high-tech manpower capital employing effective use of scarce resources in realization of the Vision 2025 as envisioned by government. It has made impressive strides by accelerating technology sophistication, skilled manpower, production processes, employability prospects, entrepreneurial depth and SMEs’ growths.

In an exclusive interview, TUSDEC CEO Basit Maqsood Abbasi has shed the lights on company’s potential and workability to keep pace with the varying market trends to compete effectively in the global markets.

“TUSDEC has been fulfilling its strategic commitments to upgrade technology and skills of various industrial sectors in order to connect Pakistan to the global value chain,” he says and adds that It has implemented projects worth PkR 3 billion for the Government of Pakistan, multi-funding agencies and collaborated with local NGOs & CSR wings to substantiate industrial development and enrich human resources.

In order to boost economy, the company in partnership with ADB is establishing Light Engineering Support Centres in Lasbella, Hyderabad and Peshawar to consummate need-based manpower development and demand-based technical assistance for the local industry, he replies a question.

As per data received from various departments, TUSDEC in affiance with its public /private and development partners has spurred industrial development in diverse areas such as Cement, Garments, Ceramics, Renewable Energy, Product Design and Development and Skill Development. The technical assistance programs are contributing towards creating enabling environment for innovation, creativity and competitiveness besides growth and support of entrepreneurship.

“Validation of industrial development through technology transfer and supply of technically adept manpower has been ignited through the establishment of state-of-the-art Common Facility Centres (CFCs) for Ceramics and TDM (Tools Dies and Molds) in the industrial terrains of Gujranwala and Karachi. The centres have facilitated the SMEs with affluent support in precision manufacturing, product design, training and technical consultancy,” data claims

On a query, Mr. Abbasi sings praise for the EU funded project mentioning it would lead to train 12000 men and women of marginalized backdrop from KP & FATA for sustainable income generation through engaging private sector. So far 3000 trainees, he explains, have been benefited from the program and rest of them will be seizing the same benefit. Meanwhile Institutional Capacity building is being carried out through critically monitoring and evaluating the performance of associates for efficacious service delivery, he points out

When asked, he reveals that TUSCED has also partnered with ACTED and PMN in collaboration with EU funded 3 years project to enhance access to quality TVET services to the rural communities of Shikarpur, Kashmore & Jacobabad (Sindh), Swat, Lower Dir, Upper Dir (KP) and Muzaffarabad (AJK). He apprises of training of 75 Trainers to enhance their technical skills instead of focusing on Pedagogy Techniques.

“Other achievement is to capacitate 20 TVET institutes and develop curricula of 8 trades (Dress Making, Hand/Machine Embroidery and Building Electricians, Industrial Electrician, Refrigeration & Air conditioning, Motor Cycle Mechanic, Solar Panel Technicians & Generator Mechanic trades), TUSDEC CEO claims.

On the issue of solar technology and its technicians, he claims that TUSDEC has initiated training in Solar Technology capitalizing GiZ funded Fund for Innovative Training Programme under Green Technologies Component to meet the dearth of solar technicians in the industry.

“It has trained 125 solar technicians and developed curricula for solar technology (photovoltaics and solar water heating system). It helped linked graduates with private sector employers for employability.”

To realize PM Youth Skill Development Program to train unemployed youth in employable trades, he asserts that TUSDEC has trained around 500 unemployed youth in demand driven trades for better income generation. These trades include electronic technician, industrial automation, computer administration & networking, fashion/textile design, dress making, interior design, merchandizing and computer accounting trades, he mentions.

Another accomplishment of TUSDEC in chair with Basit Maqsood Abbasi is to train 200 women from marginalized backdrop under USAID Gender Equity Program Partnered with FWBL (First Women Bank) to provide enhanced income generation opportunities through training women from under-served communities of Karachi & Lahore in fashion design trades for socio-economic independence.
For professional in various managerial and technical trades, he says that training has been given to more than 4000 people. It also introduced more than 40 courses in multiple disciplines of engineering and professional development.

Cognizant to the dichotomy of manpower abundance and prevalent economic turbulence in the form of raging impoverishment, TUSDEC is emphasizing on technical and vocational skill development of marginalized communities. The skill development programs during the first decade has trained more than 18000 students, engineers, professionals including the marginalized strata to obstruct their progression towards grim social evils. The company has contemplated to augment this number through training a pool of 12000 in KP and FATA under TVET Sector Reform project.
TUSDEC has successfully completed its first ten years of operations and collaborated with multiple across-the-board organizations to materialize its mandate of industrial sector development through technology transfer and skill development. Company will optimistically contribute during the upcoming course and initiates the working for the uplift of footwear, fans, hosiery, sports goods, surgical instruments, plastic goods and 2/3 wheelers automobiles sectors indicating huge employment and exports potentials while formulating a substantial chunk of national revenue.

It has adopted a wholesome approach for development by addressing the technological and skills gaps impeding the path of national progression. It will persistently work to materialize its mandate to reach parity with the developed world by assimilation of technology upgrades and use of modern techniques and skill development that will expedite value addition while enhancing productivity and ultimately bootstrapping the economy to increased GDP.