Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) will continue its efforts to resolve the emerging challenges perpetrated due to the global slowdown and domestic volatility, said Engineer Hafiz Ihtasham Javed, FCCI president, in his maiden speech during the AGM of the FCCI on Thursday. He said that businesses are like life and are not static. “Changes continue to occur every day and we have to take immediate prudent, positive and result-oriented measures to make our businesses competitive globally and domestically”, he said and added that just two years ago we were facing the issue of the cost of doing business. “FCCI took up this issue and the electricity rate was fixed at 7.5 cent per unit”, he said and added that these rates have once again been enhanced to 9 cent and we must make fresh efforts to bring it down to 7.5 cent. He also pointed out the brewing issue of cotton prices. “Drastic cut in its production will create a severe shortage of raw material for the textile sector”, he said and added that cartelization has also multiplied the problems of the business community and we must pressurize the government to enhance cotton production by increasing its area and producing disease resistant and high yielding cotton seeds. About the problems of small shopkeepers, he pointed out self-assessment or easy registration schemes in order to resolve their tax-related problems. He said that 60% of people are still earning their sustenance from agriculture but they are being ignored at all levels. He said that the lack of R & D in agriculture is our main issue and we must introduce new technologies to trigger the process of value addition in agriculture. In this connection “Farmers Awareness Desk” will also be established in FCCI in collaboration with Federal and Provincial agriculture departments in order to facilitate the growers. He also underlined the importance of the Expo Center and told that 70 acres of land has already been earmarked near M3 Industrial Estate and he will try his optimum best to start its construction during his tenure. He also pointed out that Faisalabad is lucky two have motorways. “One is passing from its eastern and the other is situated on its western side”, he said and told that the link between these two motorways is missing and he will try to construct link roads between M3 and M4 to divert vehicular traffic from one to another motorway. Quoting the triple “E” strategy of former President Syed Zia Alumdar Hussain, he said that its last “E” indicates “Education” and he will focus on the construction of the first IT university of Faisalabad. He also appreciated the efforts of retiring President Rana Sikandar Azam Khan and told that he has strengthened democratic values in this trade body which has also made it one of the most popular organizations in this area. Retiring President Rana Sikandar Azam Khan in his emotional speech explained his achievements and efforts to take this organization at the grass-root level. He claimed that he worked “above himself” and paid full respect to every individual in addition to resolving their problems. This cemented National Group and because of these efforts, candidates nominated by National Group made a sweeping victory in the FCCI election for 2020-21. He said that the 15 years old problem of sick units has also been resolved with a series of meetings with the Governor State Bank of Pakistan. “A commercial plot of five acres of land has also been purchased for a new FCCI complex in M3 Industrial Estate”, he said and disclosed that the long outstanding dispute of rent with FIEDMC has also been resolved. The retiring President Rana Sikandar Azam also highlighted his effort to weed out corruption from FCCI and said that due to this effort, he had to face unnecessary criticism but despite this confrontation, he never tried to humiliate anyone. Earlier Mian Aftab Ahmad, Mr. Muzammil Sultan, and Mr. Atif Munir officially announced the final and official result of the FCCI for the year 2020-21. They said that Engr. Hafiz Ihtasham Javed was elected President while Chaudhary Talat Mahmood and Rana Ayub Aslam Manj won the offices of Senior Vice President and Vice President respectively. Group leader Mian Javed Iqbal said that the national group has been promoting unity among the business community and in this connection 23 former Presidents served FCCI in their own ways and in accordance with their best capabilities. “This journey is still going on and the business community is getting stronger with each passing year”, he added. Mian Muhammad Adrees requested the audience to pay a standing ovation to recognize and acknowledge the unmatched services of Rana Sikandar Azam. The house warmly clapped which moved Rana Sikandar Azam to burst into tears. Later, the routine agenda was transacted in addition to the appointment of Internal and External Auditors and legal advisors. Later shields were also presented to the best performers of the year.