Mexico interested to enhance trade relations with Pakistan: Envoy

ISLAMABAD (INP): Pakistan was an important country for Mexico and Mexico wanted to enhance bilateral trade relations for mutual benefit of the two countries. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has created lot of interest in Mexican investors and they intended to explore all areas of potential cooperation with Pakistan. These views were expressed by Ulesis Canchola, Ambassador of Mexico based in Tehran and accredited to Pakistan during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He was accompanied by Mexico’s Trade and Investment Officer for the Middle East Juan Antonio Cepeda Gutiérrez. He identified food processing, pharmaceutical, automobiles, textile and agriculture as promising sectors for mutual cooperation between the two countries.

He said both countries have the potential to complement each other in many areas and they should facilitate regular interactions between their private sectors and let them identify areas of business collaborations. He said Mexico was in the process of reopening its embassy in Islamabad to diversify and further strengthen trade and economic relations with Pakistan. He said Mexico also offered good investment opportunities to foreign investors and Pakistani business community should explore Mexico for investment to get better access to North American region.

Speaking at the occasion, Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that bilateral trade of less than $200 million was far below the available potential and both countries should accelerate efforts to improve two-way trade. He said enhanced cooperation will be highly beneficial for both countries as Pakistan was a gateway for Mexico to reach huge markets of South & Central Asia, Middle East and other regional countries. Similarly, Pakistan could get better access to North American market through Mexico.

SBP allows exchange firms to collect bills, install banks’ ATMs

KARACHI (Staff Reporter): State Bank of Pakistan, in order to enhance the scope of business of exchange companies, has decided to allow exchange companies of ‘A’ category to enter into agreements with utility companies like Wapda, KE, PTCL, SSGC etc. for collection of utility bills in PKR on their behalf. A copy of the final agreement between a utility company and an exchange company shall be submitted by the exchange company to the Director, Exchange Policy Department, State Bank of Pakistan, Karachi for information. Exchange companies are also allowed to install banks’ ATMs for PKR at their branches as per the terms and conditions agreed upon between the respective bank and the exchange company without getting prior approval of the State Bank of Pakistan.

PARC to cultivate soyabean crop

on 1000 acres

islamabad (APP): Soybean crop will be cultivated on 1000 acres of area during current season for seed multiplication at NARC and farmers fields through contract farming in Sargodha, Chakwal, Attock and Northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the collaboration of other national partners. In a meeting held here on Wednesday with Seerat Asghar in the chair, Dr Azeem Khan, Director General NARC said soybean had wider genetic diversity for different uses, therefore, new varieties with higher yield potential and other desired traits may be developed. Seerat Asghar on the occasion said all stakeholders should work together for the development of agriculture sector in Pakistan.

He said that ultimate goals of efforts are to increase income of farmers by giving new options (soybean crop) in our existing cropping system.

Soybean has tremendous scope in our farming system and there is need to develop new varieties of short duration and suitable for different ecologies of Pakistan, he added.

He also emphasized for strengthening of linkages between public and private sectors to promote agriculture in the country.

He also supported to send a delegation of scientists, extension workers and progressive farmers to visit soybean producing countries to get benefits of their success stories.

Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad, Chairman of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) emphasized that procurement of the soybean produce from farmers must be ensured.

For this purpose agreement should be signed between farmers, NRSP, Lok Sanjh, PATCO and Solvent industry because in past the reason of decline in soybean area was ineffective marketing system.

Dr. M. Shahid Masood, Member Plant Sciences of PARC put more emphasis on the acquisition of new soybean germplasm and select and develop varieties suitable for local climatic conditions.

Dr. Muhammad Amjad, National Coordinator (Oilseeds) PARC gave a detailed presentation on current situation of soybean crop, demand of soybean in Pakistan and PARC efforts in this regard.

Dr. Bashir Mahmood Bhatti, Secretary General of Pakistan Poultry Association appreciated the efforts of PARC for promotion of soybean in Pakistan.

He assured all type of support from poultry industry for the promotion of this crop. He also emphasized that the interest of farmer, feed industry and other stakeholders may be considered.

Keeping in view the lower prices of soybean in international market, minimum support price of soybean was recommended at Rs.1800 per 40 kg for farmers.

However, the benefit of increase of prices in international market will be transferred to farmers.

All the stakeholders reaffirm their commitments for promotion of this crop in the country and reduce dependent on imported of soybean and soyameal.

Sufficient funds for energy sector to bridge gap between demand, supply

lahore (Staff Reporter): The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has hoped that sufficient funds would be allocated for the energy sector in the Federal Budget 2015-16 to bridge the gap between energy demand and supply. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Nauman Kabir said that provision of energy to the trade and industry is the priority of the present regime and upcoming budget should reflect the government’s endeavors aimed at enhancement of power generation. Mian Nauman Kabir said that government has to plan for enhancement of power generation through hydel means as the country’s reliance on costly thermal power is jacking up the cost of production and the import bill as well.

The country needs an urgent transfer in its energy-mix in favor of hydel power and alternate energy resources.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that over 185 billion tons of Thar coal reserves are enough to provide 100,000 MW of electricity for 10 decades. Though government was doing a lot at this front but efforts should be accelerated as the uninterrupted and affordable power supplies can turn Pakistan into an economic powerhouse.

The LCCI President also hoped that maximum funds would also be made available for LNG terminals to keep the industrial wheel running especially in Punjab that has borne the brunt of recent suspension of gas supplies to industry in the country.

He said that rising risk perception about investing into Pakistan is hitting hard the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and it would affect the economic growth of the country. He said that this issue should be tackled through a comprehensive policy approach by involving Chambers of Commerce in the country.

The LCCI Senior Vice President said that a number of sectors in Pakistan including infrastructure development, coal, energy, agriculture, livestock, textiles and pharmaceutical offer lucrative investment opportunities to foreign investors but unfortunately due to absence of a proper and well tailored marketing strategy, these opportunities are unattended even today.

Delay in refund claims issuance hitting businesses hard

lahore (Staff Reporter): The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has demanded of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman to expedite stuck-up sales tax and income tax refund claims as businessmen are facing serious financial crunch because of delay in issuance of refund claims. In a statement issued here, LCCI Vice President Syed Mahmood Ghaznavi said delay in sales tax and income tax refunds was hitting businesses hard and affecting their cash flows very hardly. He said delay in release of huge funds that run into billions had triggered serious liquidity crunch for the exporters and manufacturers that might lead to closure of several industrial units.

He said delay in refunds had also increased the cost of doing business as businessmen were paying cost of their borrowing from banks. The LCCI vice president said the authorities concerned should take a realistic view of the matter and allow the refunds of sales tax and income tax to exporters and manufacturers at the earliest who were facing severe hardships.

He said the process to get refunds was so lengthy and cumbersome that sometimes it took months for a manufacturer or an exporter to get his own money refunded.

Syed Mahmood Ghaznavi said the businessmen were bearing huge financial cost on their own stuck-up money, therefore, the FBR chairman should look into the matter and ensure early release of sales tax and income tax refunds.

He said the businessmen had now started feeling the pinch as the businesses were already in deep troubles and experiencing toughest times because of multiple internal and external challenges including an acute shortage of electricity and gas. And now the delay in release of their own money was adding to their miseries.

He said in the present scenario, private sector was in dire need of handholding by the government to run their businesses.

He urged the chairman of Federal Board of Revenue to take notice of the situation and ensure early refunding of sales tax and income tax claims that would be a great favor to the business doing people.