Economic Challenges and developing Entrepreneurial Mindset Out of the box solution is the need of the time

Engr. M. Saeed Shamsi, Chairman, Potential Group talks to Engineering Post

In the dynamic landscape of economics, challenges often emerge with startling rapidity. Engineering Post had an exclusive conversation with Engr. Saeed Shamsi, Chairman of the Potential Group, where he sheds light on critical issues facing the industry, offering valuable insights into the evolving economic outlook.

Engr. Saeed Shamsi is a renowned figure as far as engineering and contracting is concerned. He has an experience of almost 6 decades in engineering sector. He is among the very few professionals who started career from the scratch and reached the top through hard work and technical skills.

“The economic outlook in terms of inflation and dollar-rupee parity was so rapidly changing that the contractors were forced to stop work. After lot of efforts, finally got the escalation clauses inserted in the contracts. Even that is not enough, as the price rise is so rapid that different inputs like steel, cement and bitumen etc have crossed the weightages given in the Escalation Formulae ending in unworkable situations,” remarks Engr. Saeed Shamsi. This highlights the necessity of adaptability in contractual agreements to counter the volatility of markets.

Another aspect of contracts which is a hindrance for many companies is the provision of Performance Guarantees from the Banks. Normally these are issued by the Banks against cash deposits. While our cash is stuck with the bank, and payments for work done, invariably delayed we have to borrow at 25% interest from the bank (Kibor plus 3%). Eventually the profitability goes into the negative,” he adds, underlining the financial constraints that can severely impact businesses. Presentations have been made to accept Insurance Bonds against Advance Payments, hopefully something positive comes out. The KPK has issued a notification allowing Guarantees from Insurance Companies. We hope others would follow

While emphasizing the need for efficient bureaucratic processes he said “Government institutions are not working properly. Timely action should be taken even if it is in a positive or negative direction. Files are delayed in departments which results in further problems,” observes Engr. Saeed Shamsi,

On the topic of employment, Engr. Saeed Shamsi highlights the potential of engineering graduates in entrepreneurship. “A lot of engineers being produced should go towards entrepreneurship. Government jobs are limited,” he asserts, stressing the value of fostering a culture of innovation.

However, he cautions against complacency, noting, “Pakistan Engineering Council has provision that engineers should be given paid internships which is good but it has a downside that the young engineers consider it as their stipend and do not focus on learning.” Engr. Saeed Shamsi suggests a balanced approach to ensure that internships serve to update their knowledge and capabilities effectively.

A fundamental shift in mindset is another point of emphasis for Engr. Saeed Shamsi. “We cannot blame everything on the state. We have to do things on an individual level as well. Mindset needs to be changed to work on positivity,” he advocates, highlighting the power of personal integrity  in the face of challenges.

“People need to move away from conventional ways of thinking and think out-of-the-box solutions for businesses,” Engr. Saeed Shamsi advised. He cited the example of an innovative farming coming up demonstrating how unconventional approaches can lead to substantial success. Lastly, Engr. Saeed Shamsi addressed the issue of population growth. “We need to understand that we are a country of limited resources, while our birth rate is unchecked. With such a high population growth rate, even if we start growing gold in the fields it would still not be enough,” he warned, urging active efforts in birth control.