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.
Chinese industrialists to invest $400 m in Sindh
HYDERABAD: The industrialists belonging to China’s Chongqing Federation of Industry and Commerce will invest $400 million in several trade and industrial projects in Hyderabad and other parts of Sindh.
The federation’s representative Zhang Yang informed a press conference at the office of Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) here Sunday that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has already been signed in this regard. Yang informed that the MoU, which would last for 5 years, was signed between the Federation and HCCI in China in May this year.
He said under the MoU the investments would be made in steel, textile, and clothing, real estate, agriculture, tourism, education and training, municipal and solid waste disposal sectors. “We have declared Chongqing and Hyderabad as the friendly cities,” he told, adding that up to 34 industries and investors from Chongqing would make their investments in the joint ventures in Hyderabad and other cities of Sindh.
He told that the industrialists from the 2 cities had already maintained a promising cooperation in the industry. “We now want to further bolster the business ties in the steel, textile, real estate, and other sectors,” Yang said. He said Chongqing was a beautiful city in China and that it was home to the automobile and motorbike industry.
The Chinese businessmen said Hyderabad was a favorite place for investment where the Chinese industrialists intended to introduce advanced technology. He informed that Hyderabad was selected for the investment after HCCI submitted investment proposals to the federation. “This MoU is part of the CPEC as 34 Chinese companies will be making investments in various sectors,” former HCCI president Seth Goharullah said.
The HCCI’s vice president Ziauddin, who signed the MoU with his Chinese counterparts earlier in China, apprised that a formal agreement between the mayors of Chongqing and Hyderabad would be signed in October in Pakistan. He told that the Chinese delegations would visit Hyderabad and sign agreements with the local companies. According to him, a sub-office of the federation was also established in Hyderabad’s SITE area and it would also be inaugurated in October. The office bearers and members of HCCI were present on the occasion.
PR to charge dam fund surcharge from 25th Sept
RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Railways (PR) will charge dam fund surcharge, Re 1, Rs 2 and Rs 10 on the tickets of an economy and business class from September 25.
PR on the directive of Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has decided to increase fares for all classes for contribution to Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand dam fund.
According to a PR spokesman, ticket prices will be increased in order to play a vital role in dam fund contribution. He informed that Re 1 will be charged on the purchase of Economy Class ticket worth Rs 100 and Rs 2 for tickets worth more than Rs 100.
An additional amount of Rs 10 will be charged on A/C class ticket. The collected amount will be transferred to Dam Fund on monthly basis, he added. No category would be exempted from the surcharge, be it the privilege ticket order issued to railway staff according to their pay scale, free privilege passes,
military vouchers, E-Ticketing, computerized tickets, paper card or general tickets, blank tickets which are issued in case of non-availability of card tickets besides current reservations.
Mobile broadband: More investment after 5G!
ISLAMABAD: A new technological era has prevailed across the globe and every country is trying best to keep enhancing technological advancements and capture Information Technology market share which has a value of worth $12 trillion.
Advanced nations are now engaged in a technological trade tussle and trying to become a world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. The advanced countries had invested and are spending billions of Dollars in technology including next-generation 5G which ensures to download a large size of data within minutes or even seconds. It will give a boost to driver-less car technology and will help to fulfill a dream of shifting scattered cities into smart cities.
China has been investing a great number of dollars in Pakistan under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
On the initiative of land-based connectivity, optical fiber cable is linked between two countries.
A Chinese company may lead Pakistan to its first ever 5G technology. However, 5G is more expensive than 4G. Therefore, the future government may have to work hard to introduce it in its full spirit as next evolution comes in form of 5G that will offer attractive data rates and more than that the fastest speed ever.
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is going to launch 5G standards in 2019 and on the whole, a vast number of trials and experiments already being held in different parts of the world including Pakistan.
Zong and Telenor might be the first companies to introduce 5G. Up to a point, Zong also introduced 4G service in Pakistan before any other company. The company also requested Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to take permission for the testing.
The question arises how 5G will be different from its preceding generations and when what of 5G for Pakistan is still unclear. The most publicized aspect of 5G is the introduction of new frequency spectrums, broadly categorized into frequency range 1 (FR-1) and range 2 (FR-2).
Recent 5G trails conducted abroad have already demonstrated the speed of 9.3 Gbps over 24 GHz spectrum, nearly 10 times faster than the theoretical maximum data rate for 4G.
When contacted, official sources said policy directives for test and development of technologies for fifth generation (5G) wireless networks in Pakistan has been issued last year which would be implemented by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
The next generation mobile services (3G/4G) are continuously gaining momentum in Pakistan since their launch in mid-2014 while the demand for data services is growing along with the subscriber base which has crossed 58.56 million with a teledensity of 28.08 during last five years. The Basic Telephony subscriber reached three million with 1.30 percent teledensity while on another hand the number of cellular subscribers crossed 151 million by end of August this year.
The official said 4G network roll-outs continued across the country. Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui has also hinted introduction of 5th Generation (5G) service from next year to attract foreign investment.
“We need to introduce more innovative services in a mobile broadband arena not only to facilitate the consumers but also attract precious foreign investment and meet modern requirements,” said the Minister.
The Minister had said, “The world is changing very swiftly and to compete with other nations we need to adopt new technologies.” He hoped that keeping in view of the importance IT sector in Pakistan foreign companies would approach themselves to launch the modern 5G service.
As per operator-wise data issued by PTA regarding the number of 3G and 4G subscribers, Mobilink Jazz’s total count for 3G users stood at 15.04 million by August 2018, as compared to 14.54 million by January 2018. Jazz 4G user numbers jumped from 2.23 by January 2018 to 5.07 million by Aug 2018.
Zong 3G subscribers decreased to 9.03 million by August 2018, from 9.08 million in January 2018, while the number of 4G users jumped from 5.07 million by January end to 8.13 million by Aug 2018.
The number of 3G users of Telenor decreased from 10.75 million in January 2018 to 10.21 million by August 2018. The number of 4G users jumped from 1.88 million in January 2018 to 3.59 million by August 2018.
Ufone’s total 3G subscribers reached 7.47 million by end of August 2018 as they were 6.630 million in January 2018.
It is imperative that we should remain proactive in ensuring market readiness for the next wave of mobile communications i.e. 5G which would open a new arena for smart devices and ensure employment and investment opportunities in Pakistan during coming years.