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Infrastructure development firms backbone of all major economies

  • July 14, 2021

ISLAMABAD – Born and bred in Lahore,  MM Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd Managing Director, Waseem Nazir, is a  graduate  from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore  before going on to complete his masters in Civil Engineering and an MBA from the UK.

Following is a brief of an interview with Waseem Nazir about his professional services, rendered in the field of civil engineering and development consultancy.  

1. Can you briefly provide an overview of your career and introduce MMP to our readers?

A: I graduated from UET, Lahore before going on to complete my masters in Civil Engineering and an MBA from the UK. I have spent the following almost 40 years of my life as a professional engineer and a development consultant. I have held the position of Country Manager Pakistan, and Regional Director of MoN MacDonald Group, a UK-based multinational consultancy, and established a local consultancy, MM Pakistan (MMP). 

PEC must work with govt and academia to ensure maintaining a balance of demand and supply in each engineering discipline

MMP has delivered around 500 projects in major economic sectors including energy, transport, and water resources, urban infrastructure and social development. I have also had the honour to represent my country after being elected as the Vice President of the premier global forum, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) between 2016 and 2019, Chairman of the Professional Excellence Group (PEG) – a body formed by Engineers for the promotion of excellence within engineering profession – and, an executive member of Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).

2. What are some of the major projects in which MMP has delivered its services?

A: Since its inception, MMP has been involved in projects directly related to Pakistan’s national and strategic interests. Pakistan’s energy shortages are well-documented and MMP has participated  in mega projects including the 4th and 5th phase expansion projects of the Tarbela Dam (T4 T5), Suki Kinari – one of the largest IPP (hydropower) CPEC projects in Pakistan, Jamshoro Thermal power plant project. We have also recently been awarded consultancy for the Kachhi Canal project (remaining works of Phase-I).

3. What are the prospects for growth for Pakistani engineering and development consultancy firms in the country and abroad?

A: The past few years have proved to be a difficult period for Pakistan’s private sector. However, with development projects being undertaken under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), our companies and consultancies have unprecedented opportunities to participate in the implementation of large-scale, strategic projects, increase business volume and encourage technology.

CPEC will attract more investment and development opportunities in the foreseeable future, allowing the private sector to grow their businesses and expand their portfolios. 

4. What are some of the biggest issues faced on mega assignments? Are regulatory bodies dealing with these issues?

A: The lack of institutional capacity development has resulted in an administrative, legal and accounting structure that either does not understand engineering and development or is not conducive for its success.

Since development projects are complex and multifaceted, a weak and unstable regulatory, policy and legal framework hinders rather than facilitates project development, management and operations.  Although the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) exists as the premier engineering regulatory body mandated to understand matters relating to infrastructure projects, it has failed to fulfill its responsibilities effectively. It is unfortunate that since the 80s, the Council has mostly been run by non-practicing engineers who are unaware of the issues faced by engineers and engineering firms in Pakistan.

Infrastructure development companies are the backbone of all major economies. Weak and inactive legal and regulatory frameworks hamper growth and potential investors, as does an absence of clear policies.  

5. What changes would be required to make these bodies more effective?

A: First and foremost, the PEC needs to remain an independent body free from any political interference. Ideally, the PEC should be represented by practicing engineers that have worked with the stakeholders and are aware of the challenges on ground.

There are approximately 100,000 unemployed young engineers in the market, which shows that we are producing more engineers than required. The PEC must also work with government institutions and the academia to ensure that Pakistan’s development objectives are being met while maintaining a balance of demand and supply in each engineering discipline. Our PEG group is cognisant of all these problems,  and our manifesto for the upcoming PEC elections is reflective of this. Insha’Allah, if elected to the Chairman’s position, I will do my utmost to ensure that these issues are addressed to benefit our future generations of engineers and for the development of our country.

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