Secretary Commerce Inaugurates PHDEC Head Office in Capital

Secretary Commerce Mr. Younus Dagha inaugurated the new Head Office of the Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC) today at the FPCCI’s Capital Office in Islamabad. The President FPCCI, Mr. Ghazanfar Bilour, Chairman PHDEC Mr. Fuad Ishaq, Acting CEO PHDEC Mr. Muhammad Ashraf, the senior officers of the Ministry of Commerce and members of Board of Directors of the Company were present on the occasion.
PHDEC is a public sector organisation established by the Ministry of Commerce as Pakistan Horticulture Development Board in 2003, later converted into a Section-42 Company in 2009. Due to several administrative and financial constraints, the Company’s performance gradually deteriorated and there was serious consideration of its closure in 2015. In 2017, when Mr. Dagha took over as Secretary Commerce, he instructed to conduct a need analysis of PHDEC as an organisation before taking the final decision on the future of the organisation. It emerged that there was nothing wrong with the Company’s institutional rationale; the cause of its poor performance was gross mismanagement and lack of financial sustainability. The Ministry, therefore, decided to revitalize and restructure the organization by correcting its administrative malaise and providing a viable financial stream rather than closing it.

Since then, the Company has been reformed and restructured drastically. The administrative malaise was addressed by removing the politically appointed CEO, reconstituting the Board of Directors and purging the organisation of non-performing politically appointed personnel. The financial sustainability has been assured by creation of an Endowment Fund.

The Ministry, on the request of Board of Directors, appointed Mr. Muhammad Ashraf, Director General Trade Policy, as the Acting CEO. The Company’s licence, which was cancelled by the SECP in 2015 due to non-compliance, has been restored; the external audit of accounts for the last many years has been conducted, the Memorandum of Association of the Company has been up-dated, the human resource has been right-sized, a stock taking of Company’s projects has been completed, the Human Resource policies and procedures have been developed and the office of the Company has been shifted from a residential building in Lahore to a corporate environment in the Capital.

Secretary Commerce held a detailed meeting with the Board of Directors of the PHDEC and discussed the Company’s work plan for the coming year. Addressing the Board he said that since the Company’s major administrative issues have been addressed, the Company should now focus on a comprehensive work plan for its operations related to export development and promotion, for which the administrative restructuring is only a means. “I would like to underline that Ministry’s vision for the PHDEC is to make it a model sector-specific business support organisation in the public sector, which can be replicated for other sectors also”, he said.

The CEO made a detailed presentation to the Secretary and the Board on the work plan of the Company for the coming year. He said that the Company plans to organisation participation of horticulture exporters in the international trade fairs, arrange visits of delegations to the target markets, invite foreign buyers to visit Pakistan and commission a market study of potential of horticulture under CPEC. For supply chain development the Company will be focusing on eradication of canker from citrus fields in collaboration with the provincial governments, certification of farms and processing facilities and development of a Farmers’ Market on M2 Motorway as a pilot project. The pre-feasibility studies of the value-added products of horticulture will be conducted and made available to the potential investors, along with a bankable feasibility of a capital intensive industry. The Secretary Commerce appreciated the work plan and advised the Company to develop a National Horticulture Export Strategy which, inter alia, included an added emphasis on development of floriculture sub-sector besides the fruits & vegetables.