Asad Umar - The Man Steering Pakistan's Economy Isn't Afraid to Take Risks

Bilal Raza

Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
#1





http://e.dunya.com.pk/detail.php?date=2018-09-15&edition=LHR&id=4171939_92508535

Asad Umar’s expertise in hazardous materials should come in handy for his new job: managing Pakistan’s economy.
When the nation’s new finance minister was told two decades ago he couldn’t import chemicals through a Karachi port because of its storage terminal’s weak safety standards, he just went and built a new unit himself. Back then, he was a senior official at Engro Corp., where he eventually worked his way up the ranks to chief executive officer and turned the company from largely a fertilizer maker into one of the nation’s biggest conglomerates.

Shamsuddin Shaikh, who heads up Engro’s energy arm and worked for Umar for almost 18 years, says the storage unit shows how his former boss was willing to find unconventional approaches to meet challenges. He “reaches to the bottom of the problem” and has an attention to detail, skills that make the 57 year-old right for the job, Shaikh said.
In his new role, Umar has no shortage of problems to fix. A borrowing binge has left the South Asian nation in need of a bailout of more than $12 billion, he said in an interview last month. Most analysts expect new Prime Minister Imran Khan, the former cricket legend, will soon be knocking on the door of the International Monetary Fund once again.

Asad Umar’s expertise in hazardous materials should come in handy for his new job: managing Pakistan’s economy.

When the nation’s new finance minister was told two decades ago he couldn’t import chemicals through a Karachi port because of its storage terminal’s weak safety standards, he just went and built a new unit himself. Back then, he was a senior official at Engro Corp., where he eventually worked his way up the ranks to chief executive officer and turned the company from largely a fertilizer maker into one of the nation’s biggest conglomerates.

Asad Umar

Shamsuddin Shaikh, who heads up Engro’s energy arm and worked for Umar for almost 18 years, says the storage unit shows how his former boss was willing to find unconventional approaches to meet challenges. He “reaches to the bottom of the problem” and has an attention to detail, skills that make the 57 year-old right for the job, Shaikh said.

In his new role, Umar has no shortage of problems to fix. A borrowing binge has left the South Asian nation in need of a bailout of more than $12 billion, he said in an interview last month. Most analysts expect new Prime Minister Imran Khan, the former cricket legend, will soon be knocking on the door of the International Monetary Fund once again.

Foreign-currency reserves have plunged by a third to $9.9 billion in the past year, while the nation is running twin deficits of more than 5 percent of gross domestic product on both its current account and budget. Authorities have devalued the rupee four times since December.

Read More: Why Pakistan Is on the Road to Another IMF Bailout

“What needs to be done should be done in the next few weeks,” Umar said in an interview in Islamabad just before his official appointment in August. “They should have been done six months back.”

Beyond the immediate crisis, Umar must also try to fix decades of economic boom-and-bust cycles, an over-reliance on debt-funding and income tax avoidance in a country where less than 1 percent of its more than 200 million people file returns. At the same time, he has to deliver on the prime minister’s pledge to boost welfare spending.

Umar wants to quickly get the business and investment community on side. One of his first steps since taking office was to set up advisory councils reporting directly to the prime minister where firms and economists can provide their input on policies. But that’s already run into controversy after pressure from religious conservatives forced a prominent economist from a Muslim minority sect to resign from one of the councils last week. Umar has faced criticism for staying silent on the issue.

Asad Umar’s expertise in hazardous materials should come in handy for his new job: managing Pakistan’s economy.

When the nation’s new finance minister was told two decades ago he couldn’t import chemicals through a Karachi port because of its storage terminal’s weak safety standards, he just went and built a new unit himself. Back then, he was a senior official at Engro Corp., where he eventually worked his way up the ranks to chief executive officer and turned the company from largely a fertilizer maker into one of the nation’s biggest conglomerates.

Asad Umar

Shamsuddin Shaikh, who heads up Engro’s energy arm and worked for Umar for almost 18 years, says the storage unit shows how his former boss was willing to find unconventional approaches to meet challenges. He “reaches to the bottom of the problem” and has an attention to detail, skills that make the 57 year-old right for the job, Shaikh said.

In his new role, Umar has no shortage of problems to fix. A borrowing binge has left the South Asian nation in need of a bailout of more than $12 billion, he said in an interview last month. Most analysts expect new Prime Minister Imran Khan, the former cricket legend, will soon be knocking on the door of the International Monetary Fund once again.

Foreign-currency reserves have plunged by a third to $9.9 billion in the past year, while the nation is running twin deficits of more than 5 percent of gross domestic product on both its current account and budget. Authorities have devalued the rupee four times since December.

Read More: Why Pakistan Is on the Road to Another IMF Bailout

“What needs to be done should be done in the next few weeks,” Umar said in an interview in Islamabad just before his official appointment in August. “They should have been done six months back.”
Beyond the immediate crisis, Umar must also try to fix decades of economic boom-and-bust cycles, an over-reliance on debt-funding and income tax avoidance in a country where less than 1 percent of its more than 200 million people file returns. At the same time, he has to deliver on the prime minister’s pledge to boost welfare spending.

Umar wants to quickly get the business and investment community on side. One of his first steps since taking office was to set up advisory councils reporting directly to the prime minister where firms and economists can provide their input on policies. But that’s already run into controversy after pressure from religious conservatives forced a prominent economist from a Muslim minority sect to resign from one of the councils last week. Umar has faced criticism for staying silent on the issue.
Read More: Pakistan Mixes Fragile State With Modernizing Society
The “government will have to walk a tightrope as it plans to increase development and social spending,” said Asif Khan, the Dubai-based chief financial officer of consultancy Delta Partners and no relation to Imran Khan. “All of this will clash with the need to further tighten monetary and fiscal policies to reduce economic vulnerabilities.”

Umar isn’t scared of taking risks. After becoming head of Engro in 2004, he diversified the company into the dairy business, an industry that was until then dominated by global giant Nestle SA. The move helped turn Engro into one of the nation’s biggest companies with a market value that’s now more than eight times larger.

His leadership wasn’t without fault: Engro was fined by Pakistan’s antitrust agency five years ago for excessively jacking up fertilizer prices. Umar also faced pressure from investors in 2011 when a newly-built fertilizer plant experienced gas shortages despite government supply guarantees.

The finance minister comes from a military family, his father having been a general during Bangladesh’s independence war with Pakistan in 1971. After an early forced retirement, the family moved from the garrison city of Rawalpindi to Karachi, where Umar was educated at public schools.

Political Rivalry
The youngest of seven siblings, he shared a room with his brothers Muneer Kamal, who went on to become chairman of the state-owned National Bank of Pakistan, and Mohammad Zubair, a former International Business Machines Corp. executive and governor of Sindh province.

Mohammad Zubair

Zubair, 62, recalls his younger brother was more interested in playing cricket and badminton than studying for exams, yet still managed to get the same good grades as his more studious siblings.

Today, the two brothers are split along political lines. Umar left Engro and joined Khan’s Movement for Justice in 2012 after the former cricket star tried multiple times to get him to join. Zubair joined the party led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif the same year and was a minister in his government. The brothers have clashed in public often, but remain on speaking terms.

The new government will likely have a short honeymoon before difficult economic reforms need to be taken.
“It’s going to be tough,’’ said Omer Yusuf, managing director of Lyra Pvt Ltd., a body armor factory in northern Karachi, who knew Umar during his corporate days. “But they’ve got a good team, Asad Umar is probably one of the most brilliant people I know -- I’m hopeful.’’

Source
 
Advertisement
Featured Thumbs
https://i.imgur.com/OMJAPEE.jpg
Last edited by a moderator:

Atif_Ali

Councller (250+ posts)
#2
Copy and paste bhi theek say nahi hota ... Stop writing about this man, ask him to come and share the roadmap.. as he used to share with us before election...
HE was the one who always demanded from care taker govt to come on media and share the economic state so people get to know the facts.

NOW WE EXPECT THE SAME FROM HIM... all ministers after taking oath come on media talk to nation.
HE IS HIDING ... WHYYYYY
 

shafali

Senator (1k+ posts)
#3
Given the state of Pakistan's economy, it'll take time to fix it and Asad Umar is the man who'll do this. Some misinformed journalists are spreading misinformation about him, and he should ignore them which I'm sure he's already doing.
 

hawkinthesky111

Senator (1k+ posts)
#4
Copy and paste bhi theek say nahi hota ... Stop writing about this man, ask him to come and share the roadmap.. as he used to share with us before election...
HE was the one who always demanded from care taker govt to come on media and share the economic state so people get to know the facts.

NOW WE EXPECT THE SAME FROM HIM... all ministers after taking oath come on media talk to nation.
HE IS HIDING ... WHYYYYY
aapki ijazat lay ker nahin aani usnay.. he will come on media when he wants,,
aisay hi ziyada tawalayy ho rehay hooo,,,
 

LovePK-or-LeavePK

Senator (1k+ posts)
#5
What a garbage article. Faseeh Mangi is same tout who use to tell us that all is well during last 5years and how PMLN is best party for Pakistan.

Now he is kissing up to Asad Umar and portraying him as some messiah that nation has been missing.

Importing chemical is not a rocket science that he accomplished. Asad is clueless on economy and tax collection so far. He always lied to us that he has a plan when never had one!
 
Last edited:

Atif_Ali

Councller (250+ posts)
#6
What a garbage article. Faseeh Mangi is same tout of who use to tell us that all is well during last 5years and how PMLN is best party for Pakistan.

Now he is kissing up to Asad Umar and portraying him as some messiah that nation has been missing.

Importing chemical is not a rocket science that he accomplished. Asad is clueless on economy and tax collection so far. He always lied to us that he has a plan when never had one!
This is the reason i want him to come and share his roadmap, else people can draw wrong perceptions.
 

hawkinthesky111

Senator (1k+ posts)
#9
This is the reason i want him to come and share his roadmap, else people can draw wrong perceptions.
He doesn't have one!!!!

Probably still waiting on dictation from the people who has this plan.
lol

do aflatoooonnn discussing the economics and persistent that Asad is having no plan..
bus ker do yaaar....
whatever plan he has he does not have to come before the people and reveal it....
 

PappuChikna

Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
#10
Copy and paste bhi theek say nahi hota ... Stop writing about this man, ask him to come and share the roadmap.. as he used to share with us before election...
HE was the one who always demanded from care taker govt to come on media and share the economic state so people get to know the facts.

NOW WE EXPECT THE SAME FROM HIM... all ministers after taking oath come on media talk to nation.
HE IS HIDING ... WHYYYYY
HE is not sheikh rasheed who claims about working 18 hours a day in his ministry and yet you find him on TV channels giving interviews about this jinn bhoot encounters in laal haveli.
Asad Umar is probably the most important person in Pakistan and most busy as well. HE has to make the most important decision and he has just become the minister. I'd rather see him once every 6-8 months and work hard and smart in his ministry than show up on talk shows every night.

Secondly, every word he says impact the markets. So he needs to be very very careful and its b est he is not showing up on TV/
 

LovePK-or-LeavePK

Senator (1k+ posts)
#15
lol

do aflatoooonnn discussing the economics and persistent that Asad is having no plan..
bus ker do yaaar....
whatever plan he has he does not have to come before the people and reveal it....

If his plan is so private, then perhaps he needs to get the fuck away from the public business as in public service there is nothing private.

He is nothing more than a liar who lied to us and told us on daily basis that he has a plan to turn this ship around.
 

LovePK-or-LeavePK

Senator (1k+ posts)
#16
FInance bill is releasing soon. HE will present it in the assemblies and answer question. This is the best forum...not our stupid TV shows and dumb anchors.

He is presenting in front of assembly so it gets stalled by the opposition and then he will not take blame for it.

If he really had a plan, he would reveal to Pakistani people first and then ask PM and President to issue executive orders to implement it.

Sad to say this but Asad Umar has turned in to a joker.
 

thinking

Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
#18
I believe on Asad..He can do that..He already did a lots of work silently without hinting any idea to medias.He just waiting for the right time to hit..No doubt.challenges are high..thats why he is not going in sudden miricles..
 

PIND-WALA

Minister (2k+ posts)
#19
lol

do aflatoooonnn discussing the economics and persistent that Asad is having no plan..
bus ker do yaaar....
whatever plan he has he does not have to come before the people and reveal it....
No, people need to know , it's a democratic set up and he was voted because they promised to be open about govt business.
 

PappuChikna

Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
#20
He is presenting in front of assembly so it gets stalled by the opposition and then he will not take blame for it.

If he really had a plan, he would reveal to Pakistani people first and then ask PM and President to issue executive orders to implement it.

Sad to say this but Asad Umar has turned in to a joker.
presenting before assembly is presenting before awam.
those members represent the awam and directly elected by them.

kia bhati chowk mein jalsa karr kay finance bill pesh karay..then ppl in karachi quetta peshawar can say hamein kion nahi bataya..

bas jalsa jaloos hee karta rahay.