President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said that Pakistan is the second state after Madina which came into being in the name of Islam. Muslims of the sub-continent has found a track of efforts since the Resolution of Pakistan passed on March 23, 1940 and that lead to the creation of Pakistan on August 14, 1947. Armed forces, religious scholars, public institutions and business community have played vital role for strengthening defence and economy of the Country.
The Veteran Business Leader told the business community that Pakistan is going through a challenging phase of economy where everyone despite of their differences should collectively play their role for the betterment of trade, economy and industry in the country. The most challenging period has passed; now economic indicators are becoming positive, however the destination of economic stability is still away for which the government is need to take practical measures in consultation with experts of trade and economy. In comparison to simultaneous period of last fiscal year remittances have increased by 12 percent to $ 14 billion in the first eight months of current fiscal year, current account deficit has declined by 72 % to $ 356 million while trade deficit has decreased by 11 percent to $ 24 billion. Trade deficit has declined by reduction in imports instead of increased exports. Increasing exports is still a big challenge for the current government, for which effective measures are required. To boost exports, reduction in utility tariff, duties on imports of raw material and promissory bonds to compensate refunds of exporters are supportive measures while developing of livestock sector is vital to strengthen agriculture industry.
The Former Minister said that financial support from friendly countries has relieved the stress over foreign reserves and ended the economic uncertainty, however, foreign direct investment has decreased by 22 percent to $ 1.6 billion and FDI in export sector is minimal, which needs immediate attention. Investment from China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Malaysia and Turkey will help in reducing unemployment while several sectors including energy, renewable energy, hotel, tourism and other allied industry.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that bilateral ties between Pakistan and Malaysia will boost with visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad. During the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Malaysia, it was decided to modify the FTA between both countries in Pakistan’s favour while $ 1 billion investment in Pakistan is expected during this visit of Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad. The then Pakistani high commissioner Nafees Zakaria has played important role in building trade ties between both countries. Pakistan’s envoys should play their part in boosting international trade so that the dream of economically strengthen Islamic welfare state comes true.
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Gas Tariff Increase May hit investment, industrialization: Main Zahid
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said that Sui Northern Gas Company and Sui Southern Gas Company have filed a petition for increasing gas tariff. SNGL has proposed 144 percent while SSGC has proposed 106 percent tariff hike, which will severely increase the cost of doing business in the Country affecting public and industrialist equally.
The Veteran Business Leader told the business community that gas prices are reviewed bi-annually, but due to election in the previous, gas tariff was reviewed and increased effective from September 27, which result the maximum tariff hike for domestic consumers by 143 percent resultant in bill of Rs. 1710 who used to receive Rs. 600 bill previously. Constant increase in gas price has affected the consumers in a very adverse manner. In 2009 the consumers utilising 400 cubic meter gas used to receive bill of Rs. 5534 which has now increased to 24100 while consumers of 500 cubic meter gas who used to receive Rs. 8850 monthly bill has now reached Rs. 30100. OGRA has originally proposed 30 percent hike for domestic consumers while 186 percent hike for industrial, power and commercial sectors. The proposed hike will directly affect various sectors directly.
The Former Minister said that annual gas theft is estimated to Rs. 50 billion annually while line losses of SNGPL and SSGS have accumulated to around Rs. 25 – 30 billion. It is important to focus those areas and get the consumers relief in terms of saving them from transferring the burden of theft and lost gas due to mismanagement. The gas thieves should be punished in accordance to the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s instructions.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that further increase in gas tariff will burden the already suffering industries of the Country. It is required to reduce cost of doing business and provide ease in doing business to make the investment outlook of the Country better. If concrete measures in this regard are not taken, the industrial outlook will suffer more.
Government should take measures to improve the investment outlook in order to improve FDI as per directions of the Prime Minister Imran Khan. Increase in cost of doing business will adversely affect the investment and industrialisation. Facilitation should be extended to investors and industrialists so that they can achieve their targets with profitability.
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Delay implementation of SRO-237
Commerce ministry should order immediate clearance of edibles: Mian Zahid Hussain
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said that import policy order 2016 has been amended vide SRO-237 on February 19, 2019 wherein several amendments including Halal labelling, Halal certification, specification of ingredients & nutrition details in Urdu and English have become mandatory for edibles. These formalities are added to the import policy order 2016 under which edibles have been imported in the country. As the imported edibles do not fulfil the requirements of said SRO, therefore, its clearance has stopped.
The Veteran Business Leader told the business community that the advisor to Prime Minister for commerce Razak Dawood has promised that the SRO will come into effect from July 1, 2019, while there is no specified date, due to which the date of issuance of the SRO has been considered its implementation date and no addendum to this effect has so far issued. Delay in clearance of edibles is causing additional demurrage and detention charges which will be added to the cost of imported goods and will ultimately be shifted to consumers.
The Former Minister said that government should consider the crisis risen through instant implementation of this SRO and should delay its enforcement till July 2019. In addition, he was of the view that the demurrage and detention charges imposed due to delay in clearance of all such products should be waived off and orders for early clearance of stopped consignments should be issued in order to give relief to the importers.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that hundreds of containers are waiting for their clearance on various ports due to immediate implementation of this SRO which is also causing scarcity of edibles resulting in inflationary rates of such products. Pakistan already stands at 136 worldwide regarding ease of doing business and such legal difficulties create more trouble to the businessmen and importers.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that it is vital to give proper representation to the business community while amending existing trade related laws or forming new laws so that effective laws can be formed collectively which can draw better impact on trade and economic outlook of the Country. Government has ignored the business community while amending import policy 2016, which is regretful.