FIEDMC becomes top business zone development company: Mian M Kashif Ashfaq
By M Jahangir Hayat
The Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development & Management Company (FIEDMC) has become the top business zone development company in the country. FIEDMC is one the fine projects started by the Punjab government initially on 300 acres in 2004. After taking over FIEDMC, I have launched two new projects Including Alama Iqbal Industrial City which comes under CPEC and a state-of-the- art FIEDMC Business Zone on 300 acres. The zone would contain all the facilities including universities, golf clubs, hospitals and everything necessary for living and conducting business. Now, I am looking after the four zones under FIEDMC management. There have been so many groups that have deep roots in textile but the ChenOne brand was the first of its kind that we initiated in the country. ChenOne has played an important role in promoting store culture and branding in the country.
Mian M Kashif Ashfaq FIEDMC Chairman and CEO of ChenOne Stores Limited shared these lines while exclusively talking to Daily The Business here the other day. Mian Muhammad Kashif Ashfaq is the chairman Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development & Management Company (FIEDMC) Chairman and CEO of ChenOne Stores Limited. ChenOne is a subsidiary of Chenab Limited, formerly Chenab Fabrics and Processing Mills Ltd. Chenab Group is one of the largest exporters of home textiles, apparel, and value added products from Pakistan. Chenab has won the Best Export Award of the Pakistan Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) for seven consecutive years. Following are some of the excerpts from the interview:
Daily The Business: What is ChenOne?
Mian M Kashif Ashfaq: We belong to Chenab Group and under the banner we started the first branch of ChenOne in Islamabad in 1997 while the Chenab Textile Mill was set up in 1975. We used to make everything including stitching, weaving and spinning, ginning etc in house and exporting them. We made goods for the famous international brands. When I came back to Pakistan from England after finishing with my studies, we moved towards diversification. The idea was that we export our products for the renowned international brands and now we should go for an indigenous brand and work for it to make Pakistan proud.
This is how we started. We opened the first store in Islamabad, and then moved to Lahore in 1998 and Karachi. Now with the grace of God over 43 ChenOne stores are working across the country.
In addition to that we are also running ChenOne stores in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. We have also planned to move to Europe and the US in future.
You have been educated in Europe. You came back to Pakistan after completing your studies. What did you want to do in life?
Basically, I am from a business family and from the very beginning my training in business was natural. We were not even allowed to go anywhere during summer holidays outside. Instead we were made to spend most of our time on business matters in our factories. I have already been trained in an environment where business was the rule of the day. So when I came back to Pakistan after finishing my studies I was able to introduce the concept of chain stores. There have been so many groups that have deep roots in textile but the ChenOne brand was the first of its kind that we initiated in the country. It was a great success for us that we established Pakistani brand with Pakistani products. In the border prospects, a new culture of stores was introduced leaving behind the shop culture. Gradually, the other textile millers also started following us and set up their display stores, thus promoting store culture in the country. This very move generated employment in the country on a large scale. A new industry came into existence that promoted branding, image of Pakistan, valuation addition, product management, warehouse management etc. On the other hand, consumers have also been introduced to varieties of products, designers, prices and choices. So we can say that ChenOne has played an important role in promoting store culture and branding in the country.
What hardships and impediments you have to face in the course of making ChenOne a successful venture?
Well, initially, it was really very difficult to launch such a project and there were no specific institutions of training school for handling the system based retailing while it was equally difficult to make the customers understand that they were purchasing value for money which was long lasting and durable.
You are currently running 43 branches of international standard ChenOne stores all across the country. What is the level of tax money that you contribute to the national exchequer much every year?
Roughly, we are paying over Rs 100 million on account of taxes every year. We fall in the organised sector and are integrated with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and on a daily basis the taxes on sales which is 12 percent is deposited in the national kitty. And there are also many other taxes including income tax which we are paying to the government.
With how much capital money and staff did you start your first ChenOne store and what is the number count of the total strength of staff within the chain today?
Well, I ventured into the ChenOne Store Project with 25 to 30 staff members and now the total number of staff has touched over 1500 with the increasing number of branches. The staff has been doing their best to cater the needs of our large customer base.
You have been in the forefront in national services besides well managing your business. Presently you are Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development & Management Company (FIEDMC) Chairman. How do you execute everything simultaneously?
Yes, every one of us should be taking part in the national services. The FIEDMC has become the top business zone development company in the country. FIEDMC is one the fine projects started by the Punjab government initially on 300 acres in 2004. After that the present government increased its land area to 4300 acres and Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar gave me the responsibility to look after the project.
After taking over FIEDMC, I have launched two new projects Including Alama Iqbal Industrial City which comes under CPEC and a state-of-the- art FIEDMC Business Zone on 300 acres. The zone would contain all the facilities including universities, golf clubs, hospitals and everything necessary for living and conducting business. Now, I am looking after the four zones under FIEDMC management.
What is the response from the trades and industrial?
Well, we are receiving an overwhelming response from home and abroad. Industries are bringing their set up; 35 Chinese companies, three Korean and three Turkish companies have established their setups. We have planned a number of road shows in various countries especially in China and we expect that over 200 more industries will install their setup after the COVID-19 situation improves. The major benefits of industrialization will create jobs, reduce our import bill and increase exports besides our forex reserves will boost up.
What is about taxation? Is there any tax holiday like concessions for the industrialists in the FIEDMC industrialist zones?
Yes, for a period of ten years no tax will be paid by the industrialists of the estate. They will be able to import duty free plans and machinery, infrastructure, security and water treatment plants are other important facilities. The FIDMIC can be compared to any other zones and parks around the globe.
What is your massage especially for our youth?
It is the foremost important that the youth should be imparted technical education. We have an abundance of general education degree holders but we have a very big gap to cover in the area of technical education. Successful entrepreneurs always worked hard and did never lose their focus. If our youth works on these lines they will definitely succeed in their endeavors.