32 percent corporate tax highest in region

Lahore  (Staff Reporter): The corporate tax of 32 percent in Pakistan is the highest in the region. The average price of a cement bag of Rs. 475 contains government levies worth approximately Rs. 135. In addition to this, 5pc Workers Profit Participation Fund and 2pc Workers Welfare Fund, which are unheard of in the corporate sector makes the total tax incidence of around 39pc. These views were expressed by the APCMA spokesperson, while giving a regional comparison of cement prices. He added that there is no possible comparison of Pakistan with China and Iran which has electricity rates as low as 2 cents per unit against 10 cents per unit in Pakistan. Likewise in Iran, the Furnace Oil costs $50 a ton whereas in Pakistan, Furnace Oil is priced at $280 a ton.

Since energy is the major part in overall cement cost, the price per bag cannot be compared fairly between Pakistan and Iran. The spokesman further mentioned that in India, the wholesale prices of cement are around USD 5.13 per bag contrary to ABAD’s claim of Rs. 292/- (i.e. USD 2.79) per bag.

He said it’s only a matter of common sense that if cement was cheaper in the region than Pakistan, the Pakistani companies could not have been able to export their products in the region and other global destinations.

 Gas, electricity import from Iran to boost economic activities

Lahore  (Staff Reporter): Chairman of the United International Group Mian Shahid on Sunday said a FTA with Iran is in the interest of Pakistan.  Electricity and gas import from Iran will boost economic activities in Pakistan therefore govt should consider importing five thousand megawatt electricity from Tehran and launch diplomatic offensive to get sanctions on pipeline lifted, he said. Mian Shahid lauded the govt initiating serious efforts to boost trade with Iran terming them satisfactory as the two countries can become important trading partners for which a trade deal is imperative. He said that Pakistan should look into the option to enhance electricity imports to 5000 megawatts.

 while start importing petroleum products to diversify it as depending on single source.

He said that pipeline project is still under sanctions therefore every option should be explored.

 Empowerment of Gilgit-Baltistan to enrich Pakistan

Lahore  (Staff Reporter):  Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders on Sunday asked the government to give status of province to resource-rich Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) to enrich Pakistan and accelerate Chinese investment in Pakistan. Undefined status of GB has resulted in dears among some Chinese investors which must be allayed immediately in the national interest, said Patron of the chamber Shahid Rasheed Butt. GB must be empowered without delay which can also change the fate of Pakistan as it has matchless hydel power potential estimated to be fifty thousand megawatt, he added. Pakistan can get fifty thousand megawatt of electricity from GB resulting in increased economic activity, revenue, production and exports. 

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that people of GB should no more remained deprived of their full rights as citizens of Pakistan which can have a negative impact on fate-changing China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The people GB got their region liberated and opted to become part of Pakistan in a bid to get their rights which couldn’t become a reality after almost seven decades.

A legislative assembly was formed in GB in 2009 and the area was given status of a province but deprived of full membership of the federation which is injustice.

The legislative assembly has passed resolutions for full acknowledgement of the region’s membership in the federation but to no avail.

FBR should not surpass its legal limits to slap federal taxes on people GB when it’s not full member of the federation, said Butt.

Muzaffer Khawaja joins PBIT as  new chairman

Lahore  (Staff Reporter): Muzaffer Miraj Khawaja assumed the charge of Chairman, PBIT on April 29 2016. Mr. Khawaja, who previously served in PBIT as an Advisor for a short period, has had a long career in international banking and management consulting. Mr. Khawaja, on assuming his new charge said “Pakistan has attracted over 15 billion US dollars in FDI since 2008. The incentives under the present business climate as well as the results of CPEC initiative are well poised to generate new businesses alliances, investment opportunities and lucrative trade deals. Punjab has witnessed a remarkable growth potential in the past few years and we at PBIT are determined to transform Punjab into a leading investment hub”.

He further stated, “PBIT is playing an instrumental role in promoting economic and investment opportunities in Punjab. The efforts of the team of PBIT in this respect are highly appreciated. I would like to assure all foreign and domestic investors full support of PBIT.” In order to achieve this, he said, “We have to convert PBIT into a High Performance Organization and a place where the employees are motivated and proud to work”.

Thaver appointed chairman of SME committee

Lahore  (Staff Reporter): The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) appreciated the efforts of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to revise and redefine the SMEs and to give it a uniform definition and requested all stakeholders to accept the definition for the benefit of the majority sector. President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said the parameters of the definition are annual sales and turnover of up to 150 millions and employment size up to 50 employees for categorization as small  enterprise. An enterprise has to fulfill both the criteria for categorization as small enterprise.  Likewise the parameters for medium enterprise are annual turnover of up to Rs 800 millions and employment size up to 250 employees.

The maximum financing limit per party for small enterprise will be Rs 25 millions and for medium enterprise it will be Rs 200 millions. This will go a long way in the promotion and development of the SME units and will enable them to modernize and meet the global challenges.