Vegetable imports demanded to protect consumers

LAHORE (APP): The Pakistan India Business Council (PIBC) and Pakistan Vegetable Importers Association (PVIA) on Sunday demanded for enhancing import of vegetables in order to ensure interests of consumers. PIBC Chairman Noor Muhammad Kasuri and PVIA spokesman Shehbaz Bhatti said this while talking to APP. Kasuri said that the there had been no vegetable import in the country for the last more than six months which was eventually affecting the consumers. To a question, he said there was no benefit of this import restriction to vegetable growers. Only the stockiest could get benefits of it, he added. He said the government of Pakistan had planned to increase its regional trade at least to 25 percent of total trade volume of the country as per its policy. He said that the restrictions on vegetable imports could damage objects of the import policy. The PVIA spokesman said prices of tomatoes, onion, potatoes and other vegetables were increasing due to restrictions on their import.

PIAF for early implementation of export package

LAHORE (APP): The Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) on Sunday called for early implementation of the PM’s export package. PIAF Chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice Chairman Tanveer Sufi and Vice Chairman Shahzeb Akram, in a statement, said early implementation of the much-awaited export package approved recently by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet would help steer the exporting industry out of crisis. They demanded the quarters concerned for initiating steps such as provision of uninterrupted energy supply to the industry to make Pakistani exports competitive in the international market, besides evolving an export-led policy and availability of energy at regionally competitive prices for economic turnaround. The PIAF office-bearers mentioned that Pakistan's share in global market was shrinking and going to other countries and unit price of its products was decreasing thus resulting in reduced profitability for Pakistani exporters. They urged the government to rescue this vital sector of economy and get the relief package implemented in its true spirit to sustainability of country's exports. Capacity of the industry was mostly unutilised while overhead costs had increased which compelled the export sectors to think of alternatives, they maintained. Sheikh stated that textiles in general and the value-added apparel sector in particular were becoming uncompetitive in international market. That was why export of Pakistani textile was on the decline for the last few years while its competitors - Bangladesh, India, China and Vietnam were recording upward move in their exports, he cited. The PIAF office-bearers also stressed that the supply of power and gas should not be interrupted during winter as the export orders in hand had to be honoured.

Traders ready to cooperate to expand tax base: ICST

ISLAMABAD (INP): The Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST) on Sunday said they are ready to cooperate with the government to expand tax base which is necessary for the survival of the country. The government should establish offices of chambers of small traders in every district and all the taxpaying traders should be considered its members, it said. These chambers will not only resolve the issues of the traders but also convince the trading community to pay taxes, said Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders Patron Shahid Rasheed Butt. He said that leaders of the trading community can convince shopkeepers to pay taxes as the government functionaries have failed to do it. Around 1.2 million people pay taxes in Pakistan while the number of traders paying tax on electricity bills surpass seven million. This gas can be bridged through sincere efforts backed by the government, he observed. The business leader said that different chambers of commerce and industry and the FPCCI does not represent the trading community. These institutions are in the hands of some influential groups who are just concerned about their own welfare, he added. Shahid said that the chambers of commerce have frustrated the trading community as these are not representing them. Elections are never held in these chambers and office bearers and selected in advance. The commerce ministry is aware of the situation but nothing has been done to improve the situation, he said, adding that he fully supports the recommendation of veteran business leader Jahangir Akhtar to enhance the role of chambers of small traders for the collective good.

JCC to meet this month to undertake new projects under CPEC

ISLAMABAD (INP): Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC), highest decision-making body of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), will meet here later this month to launch some new development projects, said acting Chinese Ambassador Zhao Lijian. Top officials of federal and provincial governments will attend the meeting that is likely to review the plan for setting up eight industrial zones, one each in four provinces and Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Gwadar free zone. Assisting Pakistan in the development of industrial sector is the next phase of CPEC, besides further uplift of road and rail’s infrastructure network, he said while briefing the newsmen on the historical achievements of recently concluded 19th National Congress of Communist Party of China and their impact on growing Sino-Pak socio-economic partnership. Zhao said the coal-fired power generation plants being set up in the country were environment friendly. saying “Such reports are just rumors and have no reality as the Chinese technology is ecological.” Latest state-of-the-art technology is being used in these plants. The technology is well-tested and proved environment friendly, he added. Most of the energy being produced in China is coal-based. Besides this, many developed countries of the world are taking benefit of it. The envoy said the CPEC had great significance for Pakistan, China and the whole region, adding that all political parties in Pakistan were unanimous and wanted to see successful completion and execution of the game-changer project. It is a matter of great satisfaction that the implementation work on CPEC is going on smoothly and some of the energy's related projects were completed before the scheduled time, he added.