ICCI concerned over 38pc rise in trade deficit

ISLAMABAD (NNI): The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Wednesday showed great concerns over the rising trade deficit of the country which has gone up to an all-time high of over $23 billion during the first nine months of the current financial year showing an increase of over 38 percent compared to the same period of previous year. The chamber termed it a dangerous trend as it would create serous balance of payment problems, push the country towards heavy borrowing and plunge the economy into further difficulties. ICCI President Khalid Iqbal Malik said that the overall import bill of Pakistan has increased by more than 18 percent during July-March 2017 reaching to over $38 billion while the exports of the country during the period have come down to around $15 billion which showed that the economy was heading towards troubled waters. He was afraid that if the current trend of rising trade deficit continued, it could reach around $30 billion by the end of this fiscal year.

 TUSDEC focuses uplift of southern Punjab

 LAHORE (STAFF REPORTER): Technology Up-gradation and Skill Development Company CEO Alamgir Chaudhry visited Multan to conduct meetings with different local stakeholders with an aim to kick start number of development initiatives in South Punjab with a special focus on agricultural mechanisation. The meetings were held among TUSDEC team and representatives of Agricultural Mechanisation Research Institute Multan, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture Multan, Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), said a Press Release issued here on Wednesday. On his return from the visit, TUSDEC CEO Alamgir showed his resolve to mobilise all available resources to push the development in Southern Punjab. The CEO said that the visit was highly fruitful for TUSDEC to identify a number of areas where interventions can be planned to develop the poorly progressed Southern Punjab. He further stated that there is large scope to introduce reverse engineering in farm implements and farm mechanisation in southern Punjab.

 Call to withdraw FBR discretionary powers

 LAHORE (STAFF REPORTER):  FPCCI Regional Chairman Manzoorul Haq Malik has said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) officials’ discretionary powers should be amended or withdrawn immediately as the powers are being used to harass business community and industrialists. While addressing a press conference, he said that the government should made efforts to bring non-registered tax payers into tax net instead of squeezing already registered tax payers. He said that tax return system should be simplified, adding that help desk of Punjab Revenue Authority should be established at each Chamber of District. To enhance industrialisation and raise job opportunities in the country all new industries should be given tax exemption for next five year, he added. He said that separate accounts for Sales and Income tax return should be made. GST should be lower to 15 percent in this budget and efforts should be made to bring it to single digit in future. He also said that all revenue collection bodies should be merged into one ministry or body.

The federal and provincial tax system should be harmonised and double taxation should be discouraged, he demanded.

 TEVTA to initiate driving course under traffic police supervision

LAHORE(STAFF REPORTER): On direction of the Punjab CM, TEVTA Chairperson Irfan Qaiser Sheikh met Chief Traffic Officer Rai Ijaz to launch a driving course under supervision of traffic police Lahore within major training institutes of TEVTA. Earlier, TEVTA has been conducting such courses in collaboration with national highways and motorways police and has trained five thousands drivers. As an output trained drivers were accommodated by transport companies like Careem and Uber. The TEVTA chairperson wishes to launch state of the art driving course with the assistant of city traffic police Lahore. It was discussed in the meeting to start driving courses at five training institute of TEVTA. Two courses shall begin from May including and short courses of LTV and three to six month long course from HTV. The CTO briefed the chairperson that the incentive of such courses would be issuance of license right after induction in driving course.

“This would serve as an impetus for our untrained drivers and deliver to improve traffic problems and road safety concerns of the public,” he added.