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New dams, reservoirs indispensable: LCCI

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LAHORE:  Chamber of Commerce and Industry here  (LCCI) today termed deadlevel of water in dams alarming and said that the country would be facing irreparable loss if new water reservoirs/dams were not built.

LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said here that water storage capacity had gone down horribly and all those were responsible, who were opposing the important water and power projects. Pakistan is an agrarian economy and it cannot afford water dearth at any cost. But unfortunately, no strategy has been evolved to resolve the issue, he added. Malik said that country dependent on only two big dams including Tarbela and Mangla and it was a matter of concern that water storage capacity of the two dams had been reduced significantly and the situation would be more concerning with the passage of time. “Lack of reservoirs and water wastage are the biggest reasons of terrible water shortage in the country. Ongoing water crisis was a result of putting Kalabagh Dam into a dispute while previous year, around 12 million acre feet water wasted to sea that is equal to the capacity of two big-dams,” he maintained.

Malik Tahir Javaid said that Pakistan could hardly escape from becoming a desert, unless drastic measures were taken instantly. He said that sufficient availability of water was must for sustainable development but in Pakistan, the per capita availability of water was decreasing because we have water but not enough reservoirs for storage. With every passing year, Pakistan was getting close to the brink of mass starvation because of a drastic cut in water availability from 5,000 cubic meters per capita in the 1950s to 1000 cubic meters today, he said and mentioned, “As per World Bank analysis, our storage capacity has gone down to 150 acre feet. India has improved its per capita storage up to 200 acre feet which will get further better once under-construction dams start operating,” he maintained. Lahore Chamber’s President said that these facts called for establishing water reservoirs in the whole country which would enhance the capacity of water storage and the same reservoirs would come handy in case of low and medium floods.

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Imran assures KCCI members of making business-friendly policies!

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KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan today assured the business community that he would formulate short and long-term business-friendly policies with institutional reforms, if voted to power on July 25.
He said he was there to convey a message that after the success of PTI in the election, he and his team would make serious efforts to strengthen the economy and extend maximum support to the private sector. Addressing members of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry here, Imran claimed that the PTI government would work on the national agenda of social and economic uplift of the country, not like the other parties, whose leadership pursued their personal agenda and interests.
He referred to the success stories of Dr. Mahatir Muhammad of Malaysia, Erdogan of Turkey and Nelson Mandela of Africa. He alleged that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples’ Party leadership used their party governments for promoting their businesses and increasing their wealth. On the other hand, after forming the government he and his cabinet members would not be involved in any business or other activity which was aimed at earning money, he claimed. He said Pakistan was rich in resources and only their exploitation and better management was required. The PTI government would transform the country into a progressive, modern and welfare state, he added.
The PTI chief said unemployment was the number one issue of the country, which could be resolved through better economic planning and policies with a focus on rapid growth of the industry by the private sector. He said it was dire need to bring reforms in national institutions, especially in the Federal Board of Revenue which had failed to deliver. It had generated revenue by squeezing the business community instead of providing incentives to trade and industry for economic prosperity in the country.
Imran said the country would not forward unless there was a good governance and merit prevailed. He said the PTI government would construct five million low-cost houses in the country with the help of private sector. It would also give a boost to 50 other industries. ” We will encourage setting up of small construction companies to accomplish this task,” he said.
He recounted his party’s achievements in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa especially in education, health sectors and reforming the police. Imran Khan said he was aware of Karachi’s social and economic issues. The city lacked ownership from major political parties in Sindh. However, his party would not only provide it ownership but would turn it into the best international city on the pattern of main cities of advanced countries. Like London, Karachi should have a directly elected mayor, he added. Karachi, he said, had big potential and had been contributing a lot towards the country’s prosperity.
The PTI chief urged the business community to be vocal against wrong policies or actions harming the country’s economy and interests. He assured full support to them on their genuine issues. The KCCI leadership apprised the PTI chief of the issues confronting the trade and industry.

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Food exports surge 29.28pc to over $4.797 billion

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ISLAMABAD: The food exports from the country surged by 29.28 percent during the outgoing fiscal year 2017-18 against the exports of the same period of last year.
The food exports from the country were recorded at $4797.936 million during July-June (2017-18) against the exports of $3711.159 million during July-June (2016-17), showing growth of 29.28 percent, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics(PBS).
Among the food products, the exports of rice increased by 26.78 percent by growing from $1606.834 million last year to $2037.075 million. Among the rice varieties, exports of basmati rice increased by 19.14 percent while the exports of other rice commodities increased by 29.78 percent.
Meanwhile, the exports of fish and fish preparations from the country increased by 14.57 percent by growing from $393.662 million to $451.026 million while the exports of fruits increased by 5.08 percent by going up from $184.016 million to $241.426 million.
Likewise, the exports of vegetables increased by 30.56 percent, from $184.916 million to $241.426 million whereas the exports of tobacco increased by 76.01 percent, from $14.813 million to $26.073 million.
Sugar exports from the country increased by 215 percent, from $161.039 million to $508.333 million while the wheat exports went up from $1.038 million to $236.339 million, showing growth of 22668 percent.
Exports of meat and meat preparation increased by 2.26 percent by growing from $220.662 million last year to $225.646 million during July-June (2017-18), the PBS data revealed.
The food products that witnessed negative growth in exports included leguminous vegetables, exports of which declined by cent percent. The exports of oilseeds, nuts, and kernels also decreased by 21.35 percent.
It is pertinent to mention here that the overall merchandise exports from the country surged by 13.74 percent during the fiscal year 2017-18 as compared to the previous fiscal year (2016-17).
The exports from the country during July-June (2017-18) were recorded at $23.228 billion against the exports of $20.422 billion in July-June (2016-17), showing growth of 13.74 percent, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
Imports into the country during the period also increased by 15.10 percent by going up from $52.910 billion in FY 2016-17 to $60.898 billion during FY 2017-18.
Based on the figures, the external trade deficit during the outgoing fiscal year 2017-18 increased by 15.95 compared to last year.
The trade deficit during FY 2017-18 was recorded at $ 37.670 billion against the deficit of $32.488 billion in FY 2016-17.

 

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Pakistan Business Council delegation meets Finance Minister

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ISLAMABAD: A delegation of the Pakistan Business Council (PBC) led by Ehsan Malik and Bashir Ali Mohammad met Finance Minister, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar here on Thursday.
The meeting was attended by Secretaries of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning, Development, and Reform, Ministry of Energy and Chairperson Federal Board of Revenue and additional secretary of the Ministry of Commerce.PBC made a comprehensive presentation of the issues facing the corporate sector and shared proposals for strengthening the overall business environment and steps that could help boost different sectors of the economy.
Concern was expressed regarding the trend towards de-industrialization in the country as Pakistan industry lacked competitiveness given the high cost of power and gas and faces difficult business environment because of distortions in incentive framework and inconsistencies of policy regime.
The PBC delegation advocated for the provision of energy at competitive costs and addressing in a more holistic manner, the inefficiencies of DISCOs including their eventual privatization that has resulted in high cost of power to industry.
At the same time, PBC emphasized broadening of tax base, reduction in indirect taxes and cascading duty structure.
The delegates called for reduction and simplification and reduction in the number of taxes through the unification of multiple taxes and reduction in tax rates to strengthen tax compliance.
The delegation also laid emphasis on the provision of the level playing field with the informal sector, with focus on steps for ease of doing business that would ultimately revitalize growth of industry and thus generate jobs, exports, and revenues for the national exchequer to invest in social development.
The delegation observed that there was a need to effectively tap the potential in the country’s housing sector as it could help generate a large number of job opportunities annually.
PBC called for the establishment of a High-level Council including political leadership as well as independent and corporate experts tasked to develop deeper structural reforms and achieve broader acceptability and consensus from various quarters concerned.
Finance Minister appreciated the proposals put forth by the delegation, saying these would be valuable for the future elected government and PBC should send their detail tax and other proposals to the government so work can be launched by relevant ministries for consideration of the new government.
The Minister also stressed on lifting the quality standards of local products at par with international standards, saying this was necessary to discourage imports.
The minister agreed on the need for a more effective stakeholder consultation mechanism as it is critical that effective proposals offered to get adopted and implemented by the government.
Pakistan industry needs to examine all options of managing their competitiveness and she agreed on the need for dealing with root causes of the energy liabilities such as transmission and distribution losses that have aggravated the circular debt problem.
The Minister underscored private sector explores options for boosting exports and availing of the opportunity offered by the establishment of Special Economic Zones.
There was an agreement that in few areas PBC will send more detailed proposals, meanwhile, the Secretaries will work towards taking up the suggested reforms with new Government.

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