Lahore, October 30, 2020: As observed, the public sentiment of boycotting French products and brands has become a symbolic situation and an expression of solidarity for muslims around the world.
However, what many are not considering, is the fact that while the intended message may or may not reach the party to whom it is sent, the blind retaliation against multinationals, whether they truly are French or not, is drastically harming our national economy which was just reeling back from the effects of Covid-19 and pushing many to the verge of unemployment again.
A couple of such instances in the recent commotion are the cases of Carrefour Pakistan and LU biscuit manufacturers, where the said brands being boycotted have specified that they are not French companies, and hence the boycott does not justify the loss being caused to the companies or to Pakistan’s economy itself.
In this regard a company statement of Carrefour Pakistan has made it clear that Carrefour Pakistan is fully owned by UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim, which operates Carrefour stores in 16 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The team at Majid al Futtaim comes from 110 nationalities and it vows to stand the test of time by encouraging respect, tolerance and understanding of all personal and religious beliefs to promote solidarity across the community.
The statement also states that Carrefour Pakistan has created over 3500 direct and indirect jobs by serving millions of customers annually. The brand sources 99 percent of its products locally, while working with more than 700 suppliers and partners across Pakistan to support the local economy.
This holds true as Carrefour Pakistan has been expanding its investment footprint in Pakistan even when other MNCs showed reluctance amid the pandemic to create jobs and support the local businesses. The brand has enthusiastically been supporting its associated network of suppliers and allied industries during the recent difficult times our national economy went through.
Similarly, Continental Biscuits Limited which is the manufacturer, distributor and seller of LU biscuits in Pakistan, has unequivocally denied its connection with France and expressed its pride in operating in the country. The company has created livelihoods for over 4500 families and is further contributing to Pakistan’s economy by exporting its products around the globe.
Therefore, abrupt and unjustified actions to boycott companies create ripples within the foreign investors’ community operating in Pakistan and resonates negatively in the business chambers of other countries as well who are operating in Pakistan. By discouraging foreign investment, we will at the same time be harming our economy which will result in further unemployment. For that reason, we as a civil society should be mindful about the impact of our actions and the number of lives being affected by them in the process.