Govt Institutions should focus on realistic goals and measurable progress

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

Engr. M. Saeed Shamsi Chief Executive and Chairman of the Potential Engineers Pvt. Ltd. had an exclusive conversation with Engineering Post. Mr. Shamsi has been an essential part of the engineering community of Pakistan since 1976 when he founded the Potential Engineers (Pvt.) Ltd. Under his leadership the Potential group has completed a number of high end projects for the installation of 500 KV, 220 KV and 132 KV Transmission Lines and Substations for WAPDA and Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC). The Installation of first 500kV Transmission Line, from Tarbela Power Station to Faisalabad was also undertaken and completed by the Potential group as sub contractors.

With more than 50 years of experience in the field Mr.Shamsi has a very clear understanding of how matters should be handled on national level. During the interview he shared his insights regarding the problems being faced by the local companies under the current scenario and also suggested potential solutions for the issues.

While discussing the issues he said that the government is not supporting the local setups which should be their number one priority right now. What to talk of incentives, not even a level playing field is being provided and the government machinery refuses to cooperate. “Under the current scenario the local companies are so bound up by red tape and new regulation given by the government that it is getting difficult to even qualify on the basis of conditions laid down, particularly the financial turnover per annum. Consequently foreign companies are engaged for local projects,” he said. This is leading to massive reduction of business activity on local level as well as the deterioration of quality.

During the conversation Mr.Saeed Shamsi shared some suggestions for the government to improve the conditions which are already quite bad due to COVID-19.

“First of all the regulations for qualifications need to be looked into thoroughly and modified keeping in view the size of our economy and the share of the power sector,  in such a way maximum number of local companies can be involved” he said. The regulations defined for the qualification of the companies are sometimes so exceptionally high that the local manufacturers and companies cannot even come close to qualifying for the bid. 

The government should set up clearly defined goals for all the future projects that they are undertaking. But at the same time the goals should be realistic and achievable. “Over exaggerating the capacity and scope of a plan might work well, politically, but it is very damaging for the institutions involved. The government should make plans while considering the situations on ground with achievable and well defined goals”

Another very important aspect which needs to be looked at is the implementation of regulations. Every few weeks the governing bodies add a new regulatory requirement conforming to which is mandatory. But the implementation on ground is neither monitored nor properly executed. Pakistan Engineering Council, the regulatory body, should also look into this matter to ensure the fair chance to the local industry and contractors.

Mr Shamsi said that there is a big scope in the export of Software. We are currently doing around 3 Billion USD which can easily be improved to 5 Billion USD. The Public Sector which is the biggest employer in this sector also should encourage local participation. We should increase the home base both in volume and acceptability to convince others about our capabilities. 

“Everything is complete on paper according to the regulations but on ground regulations are rarely adhered to.”

Mr.Shamsi said that he still believed to the core of his heart that the government can still solve all the problems if these problems are addressed properly once and for all. “They are good people working for the right causes but they have a tendency to leave things half way through.  They should understand that if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” I have been given the opportunity to work abroad and leave the country multiple times but I have chosen to stay and serve Pakistan because this is my country if I work I want to work for its betterment” he added.