ED: M. M. ALAM
KARACHI: To mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Swiss Business Council (SBC) in Pakistan, the Consulate General of Switzerland here in collaboration with the SBC hosted an exclusive event at the Swiss Consul General’s residence.
Consul General and Patron of the SBC – Philippe Crevoisier addressing the ladies and gentlemen in the audience (consisting of diplomats, senior management of Swiss/other multinational companies, and leading businessmen) said that only if Pakistan was able to present to the international community the country’s on-ground realities and business potential, many more foreign investors would consider investing in Pakistani market.
Mentioning that Swiss-Pak bilateral trade (CHF 518.5 Million in 2017) was promisingly increasing for the past three years, the Consul General also commended SBC’s efforts to further improve commercial ties between the two friendly countries.
SBC President Farhat Ali, (who is also the Council’s founding President and Chairman of the Board and Executive Managing Director of Polygal N.V. in Pakistan) gave an overview of the Council’s achievements over the past decade most prominent of which is the Council’s partnership with Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE); equivalent of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and Board of Investment.
Farhat Ali further added that SBC with support from S-GE is committed to link Swiss and Pakistani companies. “Thanks to our business network at home and in Switzerland, in the past two years six small and medium-sized enterprises from Switzerland have successfully entered the local market”, he further added.
The highlight of the event was keynote address by the Dean and Director of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi – Dr. Farrukh Iqbal who presented his views on Pakistan’s macroeconomic matters in perspective of the challenges and opportunities for foreign investors.
Dr. Iqbal held: “Pakistan has performed below its growth potential for many years now. In particular, the private investment rate has been stuck at a low level of 10% of GDP for almost a quarter century now.
“This reflects a pessimism on the part of domestic investors that go beyond energy shortages and security conditions.
“Among factors to consider more deeply are the quantity and quality of education and health services available to the population to enable them to play a more productive role in the economy of the future.”
Swiss companies in the past ten years have invested CHF 1.5 Billion in Pakistan making Switzerland stand among top ten foreign director investors.
Major exports from Switzerland to Pakistan are pharmaceuticals, textile machines, and watches. Main Pakistani exports to Switzerland are textiles and agro-foods.
On the occasion, recognition certificates were also awarded to member companies who have completed 10 years with the Council.
Fin. Minister briefs PM about talks with IMF
ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar, who is accompanying the Prime Minister Imran Khan during his official visit to Malaysia, on Tuesday briefed the prime minister about the visit, meetings, and progress till now with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation in Pakistan.
The finance minister informed the prime minister that efforts were being made to settle bilateral affairs with the IMF in such a way which would have positive results on the economy and which could not put a burden on the people, a press release issued by the PM Media wing here said.
He said that progress on meetings held so far with the Fund was encouraging, however, the final decision regarding the bailout package would be made keeping in view people’s interests and vision of the government.
Asad Umar told the prime minister that the IMF programme had no immediate pressure on Pakistan’s economy, adding that understanding Pakistan’s priorities by the IMF delegation was an encouraging step.
Dams: CJP pinning hopes on Overseas Pakistanis
ISLAMABAD: CJP on Tuesday said that Overseas Pakistanis should play a role in the construction of dams in Pakistan.
Expatriates should come forward for resolution of problems of Pakistan besides provision of funds for construction of water reservoirs, he stated while talking to a private news channel.
Construction of dams was imperative for addressing future demands of water in the country, he said. CJP Saqib Nisar said that Mohmand Dam could have been started earlier than the other dams.
Commenting on the justice system, he said that we have a single system in Pakistan for the dispensation of justice.
“While dealing with the cases, we don’t have two systems of justice here, ” he added. He said that Overseas Pakistanis had great attachment and love for their country.
Pinning the hopes of Pakistanis living abroad, he said that they could play a vital role in steering the country out of the present challenges. We are fully capable to resolve the national issues, he stated.
To another question, he said, “We don’t have a selected system of justice in Pakistan.” Giving a message to the people, he said that everyone should have love and respect for Pakistan.
1m Pakistanis benefitted from US grants: CG
PESHAWAR: More than one million Pakistanis in remote and underserved areas have already benefitted from over 200 US government grants designed to improve the economic and social conditions in those communities.
Representatives from Pakistani organizations working in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province gathered in Peshawar to hear about new funding opportunities through a video message by the US Consul General in Peshawar Jonathan Shrier.
In the video message, US Consul General in Peshawar Jonathan Shrier said “This program helps the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa address local problems by implementing community-based solutions that will have both immediate and long-lasting impact. ”These grants were given through the Ambassador’s Fund Grant Program, a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) initiative.
The Ambassador’s Fund focuses on high-impact, quickly-implemented community programs. The grants specifically seek to promote culture & arts, improve disaster preparedness, develop small-scale energy solutions, encourage social entrepreneurship, and empower vulnerable populations.
Private sector organizations, non-governmental organizations, and non-government academic research and training institutions – including those led by women are encouraged to apply, he added.