ISLAMABAD, (Parliament Times) : The Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production in its meeting on Thursday at Parliament Lodges was given a detailed performance review of the Pakistan Ordinance Factories (POF). The National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) gave a detailed briefing on business development, growth and challenges of the organization.
Chaired by Senator Lt. General Abdul Qayyum HI (M) Retd, the meeting was attended by Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak, Senator Anwar Lal Dean, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Senator Muhammad Akram and senior officers of the Ministry of Defence Production along with all concerned.
The Committee was appraised of the seven decades of excellence that POF held and the many accolades it has to its credit. It was asserted that POF in order to meet war and peace needs of the Armed Forces of Pakistan manages and administers the affairs of the factories and run them on sound commercial lines. Surplus capacity of the factories would meet the needs of civilian population and exports. The status of plant and machinery was discussed. The Committee was provided with details of 14 factories and defence production units that include weapons, propellants, explosives, heavy artillery and clothing. The Committee asserted that upgrading technology was imperative for survival in international markets. It saw great potential in commercialization of production units especially that for clothing.
Discussing commercial subsidiaries of POF, the Committee lauded the product range that was being manufactured and exported. Egypt, the Committee was told, was the main international artillery and ammunition buyer. POF subsidiaries that included Wah Industries Limited (WIL) were exporting to 39 countries worldwide. Through import substitution, POF has been providing arms and ammunition at very low cost i.e. half the rate of the International Market, thereby conserving foreign exchange which is essential for the strengthening of the national economy. Chairman Committee, Senator Lt. General Abdul Qayyum HI (M) Retd was of the view the general idea about such organizations are white elephants that feed off the country’s resources. It is essential that the sustainability factor that has enhanced earnings of these organizations be accentuated. The Committee asserted that Human Resource Development is an important growth factor and must be emphasized. The importance of international exposure was asserted. Members of the Committee stressed the need to accommodate women workforce in the Organization and subsidiaries. The Committee was informed that 5 percent of its workforce was women.
Deliberating over the COVID19 impact on exports the Committee was informed that this period saw a dip in exports the impact of which will be fully grasped in the next one year. While discussing Research and Development initiatives Committee members asserted the need to focus on Reverse Engineering. It asserted that POF has the potential to earn USD 500 billion annually. Importance of evolving into an autonomous body for program profitability was emphasized.
The Committee greatly commended the efforts and achievements of the National Radio and Telecommunications Corporation (NRTC) in terms of growth and sustainability. The Organization designs, develops and manufactures military as well as commercial telecom, security equipment, electronic systems and IT solutions for local and international clients. Business development vision included diversification such as developing modern and cutting edge technologies through Public Private Partnerships. In addition it seeks to acquire maximum share in the domestic defence telecom and IT sectors and enhance exports positioning it in international markets. Currently the Organization has exports worth USD 28 million. It pays taxes worth 3 billion and has procured local contracts worth ___ million. The Committee asserted that sales and marketing human resource must be enhanced. Collaboration with Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) was stressed.