CSR only viable solution to alleviate poverty and eradicate poverty

(Dr.Mehboob Syed, Karachi)

Youths represent more than 60% of Pakistan’s population, about two million youths are entering into job market every year, among them 0.8 million are graduates holding various degrees and diploma in their hands and seeking jobs. Pakistan’s government is unable to handle such a huge lot of youths and to provide them jobs. After debt servicing which consumes more than 40% of Pakistan’s budget followed by defense and administrative expenses there remains very little for education, health and poverty alleviation projects. Government sector is unable to provide jobs to at par with demand while reality is that many government organizations including PIA, WAPDA, Steel Mills etc became white elephants and are merely burden and liabilities on national exchequer.
To fight against poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment, there is need to introduce and enhance and reinforce the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Pakistani businesses.

It is the responsibility of corporate sector to create wealth, employment and to care the well being of society. Companies’ bottom lines are now people, planet and profit. In present era people’s expectations from corporate increased and they should fulfill people’s expectations. There is need to emphasize corporate sector to play its role to enhance the quality of people’s life.

More countries’ corporate sector now adopting corporate social policy and Development foundation and funds have been set up in the United Arab Emirate, Qatar, Kuwait and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. CSR progress in Pakistan is rather slow and few businesses contribute to promote education, health care and sanitation. Pakistani companies need to realize that CSR pays back and leads to better business, new customers and markets and it is a integrate part of successful business. Corporate Social Responsibility concept for the most of Pakistani businesses are not clear and they ambiguity about it. They mix it with Corporate Philanthropy jus pay some donation and think they fulfilled their responsibilities. There are many Seth oriented organizations in Pakistan who not fulfilling their legal responsibilities by paying their worker minimum wage , medical expenses and over time as per law. There is lack of respect for basic human rights are witnessed and workers are treated inhumanly, abusing, hitting and penalizing them. It is the duty of state to ensure to stop these practices in corporate sector.
Laws Lead to CSR
1. Corporate law
2. Environmental Law
3. Labour Law
4. Consumer Protection Law

Compliance to these laws can push companies towards the boundaries of corporate social responsibilities because there is no concept of CSR without implementing basic human rights. CSR is a step further to fulfill their responsibilities towards employees, people and environment.

Pakistan’s poor performance I economy is due to low level public investment and indifference attitude of private sector towards health, education , housing and other public welfare schemes.

I would like to quote the words of Malik Riaz the founder of Bahria Town, who rightly said, “It is time that we realize our duty towards Pakistan. If we are unable to see the imminent consequences of our continued ignorance, I am scared that not only our families but also our businesses will fuel a bloody revolution that is brewing due to poverty, unemployment , corruption and terrorism .It is a clear warning to land barons, waderas, the wealthy politicians, bureaucrats, and industrialists to shed their sloth and wake up before all is lost ad there is no place to hide.”

Government can fulfill its responsibility to increase allocation for education, poverty alleviation and health significantly to improve the situation. However the past record of Pakistani budget does not conform to this notion.
Year Budget lay out billion rupees
2015-16 4,168.3
2016-17 4,894.9

2014-15 2015-16
Tax revenue 3,418 bn 3,956
FBR Tax 3,103 bn 3,621 bn
Direct Tax 1,347 bh 1,558 bn
Indirect Tax 1,755 bn 2,063 bn

Federal Budget for Education

2015-16 2016-17
Education 75.58 bn 84.19 bn
Health 11.01 bn 12.10 bn

Total public debt is 18,740 billion
Debt Service to GDP: 5.8 %
Public Debt to revenue “442.1 %
Debt servicing: 1,370.9 billion rupees 40. 2 % of budget

If the welfare organizations have not contributed to help people the situation would have been precarious. The volume of the contribution of set ups SUIT TCF, Indus, Akhuwat, Edhi, Chippa, Al Khidmat, Silani, are magnanimous and their impact is countrywide.

Aman Foundation is founded by Abraj Capital, Layton Rehmat Ullah Benevolent provide free eye treatment to eye patients of poor and unprivileged segment of society. Standard Chartered Charter Bank is its partner. Shell Pakistan is contributing significantly in this regard. Central depositary Company contributed 52 million rupees since 2007.
 
These are the few example but the large number of companies are still ignorant and unwilling to discharge their social responsibility and to secure all Pakistan they need to wake up as Allah has provided them chance to spend the money on social welfare of people which they were spending on paying extortion and ransom to anti-social and terrorist group. Extortionists, terrorists mostly are the products of poverty and unemployment and they became toys at the hands of Anti-Pakistan elements.

The writer is columnist, senior economic and political analyst at Secure All Pakistan

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