ILO, Pakistan in partnership on textile labour law compliance

ISLAMABAD (NNI): The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Government of Pakistan represented by the Federal Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development and the Provincial Department of labour, Punjab have signed a Letter of Understanding to support the Public Private Partnership on Labour Law Compliance in the textile sector in Faisalabad. The PPP was signed between the ILO and the Pakistan Textiles Exporters Association earlier in February this year. The Letter of Understanding (LOU) includes a framework to support coordination between Federal and Provincial Governments with the Textile Industry on effective compliance with Labour Laws.

An inter-ministerial coordination mechanism which includes the Ministry of Textiles and the Ministry of Commerce is also in place to oversee the implementation of the intervention which will target 2010 industrial units in Faisalabad over the next three years. In 2015, ten industrial units will benefit from the initiative with a progressive roll out.

The intervention will also focus on bridging industry with international buyers to enhance compliance through advocacy and dissemination of good practices resulting from the intervention.

Sikandar Ismail Khan, Secretary, Federal Ministry of Overseas Pakistani and Human Resource Development (OPHRD) said that, “The Textile sector is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and the Government of Pakistan will support all interventions to ensure good industrial relations in this sector in light of the countries GSP Plus status”.

He appreciated the technical support of ILO for promoting decent work in Pakistan in general and at enterprise level. Sikander also acknowledged PTEA for their support and cooperation.

Pakistan, South Korea discuss ways to increase bilateral trade

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan held meeting with his South Korean counterpart Yoon Sang-Jick in Seoul on Thursday. Both sides exchanged views on different issues pertaining to Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and South Korea. They agreed that conditions for the agreement should be determined within one year. On the occasion, Khurram Dastgir said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif takes keen interest in promoting trade relations with South Korea. He said the South Korean traders should take benefit from the favourable investment policies of Pakistan. On his part, Yoon Sang-Jick said the South Korean companies are interested in investment in the energy sector of Pakistan.

Tariff liberalisation, SATIS discussed during SAFTA meetings

ISLAMABAD (Online): A series of South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) Committee of Experts meetings were held on Thursday at Islamabad, in which Rules of Origin, Tariff Liberalisation, Future Vision of SAFTA, and SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services (SATIS) were discussed. The meeting was originally scheduled to be held at Katmandu, Nepal; however, due to the devastating earthquake there, Pakistan offered to host these meetings, so that the negotiation process could continue uninterrupted. This initiative of Pakistan which made possible holding of these meetings after a break of many years shows its commitment to SAFTA process. Substantial progress was made on these issues.

The meetings concluded with a vote of thanks to Pakistan from all the member countries.

FBR collected Rs2580b revenue in fiscal year 2014-15

ISLAMABAD (APP) : The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has to collect Rs 2580 billion,which is 14 percent higher than the Rs.2255 billion tax collected in the last fiscal year 2013-14. “We have collected Rs. 2580 billion till June 30, compared to Rs.2255 billion collected in the same period of the last fiscal year which is 14 percent higher then previous year”, an official of FBR told APP here on Thursday. The official said that the revenue collection was mostly hit by the decline in oil and commodity prices on the international market. “The decline is also the outcome of no collection of sales tax on the two projected revenue spinners,”he added. He said that 75000 notices have been issued to the non filers of the tax.

He said the FBR will issue for the first time income tax returns form in urdu alongwith english form to facilitate the tax payers.

He said that the government is committed to broadening the tax net for strengthening of the national economy and to enhance tax to GDP ratio in the country.

He added that FBR was aiming to issue the notices to those non-compliant persons, who have not returned their tax files, he added.

Replying to a question, he said that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had announced the tax incentive package for non tax payers and they were given special relaxations in tax returns.

He expressed the hope that the business community would have benefitted from these facilities extended by the government and it should have filed tax returns for economic growth and stability of the country.

Oil prices rise but gains capped by China, Greece

LONDON (AFP): Oil prices rose Thursday, clawing back ground after recent sharp losses, while gains were capped by concerns surrounding the impact of China’s and Greece’s problems on crude demand, analysts said. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery won 72 cents to $52.37 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for August rose 41 cents to stand at $57.46 a barrel nearing midday in London. “Rising uncertainties from the Greek debt bailout and China’s stock market turmoil put global demand at risk,” said EY analyst Sanjeev Gupta. Commodity prices have fallen sharply this week with crude prices suffering their largest sell-off for a number of months.

Chinese share prices have meanwhile taken a severe beating despite some respite Thursday, after government measures failed to staunch the bloodletting that has wiped out around a third of China’s main share market in under a month.

China’s benchmark Shanghai stock index surged Thursday after the government issued more policies to halt a market slide, but analysts said it was unclear whether the rally would be sustained.

In Europe, Greece’s future in the eurozone is at risk after European leaders gave the debt-stricken nation a final deadline of Sunday to reach a bailout reform deal.

Traders were keeping a close eye also on intense negotiations in Vienna between the West and Iran on curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, said Gupta.

An agreement with Iran would see the West lift punishing economic sanctions that have restricted the country’s oil exports.

“An outflow of Iranian oil could put downside pressure on crude prices in a global market that is already oversaturated by a glut of oversupply,” Gupta said.

US oil prices dropped for the fifth straight trading session Wednesday as domestic crude stockpiles rose again.

Meanwhile US commercial crude stockpiles rose another 400,000 barrels to 465.8 million barrels in the week to July 3, even as refineries picked up activity. Gasoline inventories also jumped, with the summer holiday driving season in full swing.

US crude futures meanwhile sunk nearly eight percent Monday on worries about slowing global growth, as Greek voters rejected a bailout offer and China moved to calm financial market turbulence.