‘GST reduction on 11 sectors by Punjab ‘a move in right direction’
ISLAMABAD (INP): The United Business Group (UBG) of FPCCI on Tuesday termed reducing General Sales Tax (GST) on 11 sectors by 14 percent by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif a move in the right direction. “The chief minister has taken the revolutionary step after consultation with the trade concerned associations which must be lauded and followed by other provinces,” said UBG Chairman Iftikhar Ali Malik, Patron-in-Chief SM Muneer, Central Spokesman Zubair Tufail and Chief Coordinator Malik Sohail in a joint statement issued here. They said the decision would not reduce the revenue projected to be Rs72 billion rather increase it due to voluntary compliance.
The provincial government had imposed 16 percent GST on 11 undocumented service sectors one and a half years back which had now been reduced.
These sectors include laundries, drycleaners, fitness clubs, beauty salons, hair cutting saloons, beauty shops, hotels, motels, guest houses, shopping plazas, travel agents, accountants, auditors, tax consultants, workshops, showrooms, car dealers, property dealers and developers etc.
The UBG leaders asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to waive 19.5 percent tax on broadband services and mobile internet as it was discouraging the spread of Internet which was essential for development.
“KP has 10.5 percent share in national gross domestic product while share of Internet subscribers is 12 percent of the national average which must not be discouraged.”
They said Internet penetration could benefit sectors like education, e-commerce,-e-learning, e-health and small businesses.
Telecom industry, they noted, had already been paying 40 percent taxes and additional tax on broadband and mobile internet could hit the pace of development of the province affected by militancy.

‘Stock exchanges merger to improve transparency, discourage mafia’
ISLAMABAD (INP): The PEW on Tuesday expressed the hope that the merger of three stock exchanges of the country would improve transparency and discourage broker mafia. The integration of three exchanges would result in some stability, however, more needed to be done to restore confidence of local and international investors in the Pakistan’s stock market, PEW President Dr. Murtaza Mughal. Talking to Patron of Chamber of Small Traders Shahid Rasheed Butt and Chairperson Trade and Commerce Committee of Quetta Chamber Tabassum Anwar here, he said that stock market had remained on the mercy of broker mafia who would orchestrate a crisis for plunder or deter government agencies probing their wrongdoing.
Dr Mughal said that not a single inquiry had proved fruitful against the influential mafia nor the money of small investors had been returned.
The broker mafia was behind the crises of May 2000, March 2005 and 2008 which resulted in windfall for them and many of them even managed to establish banks with the help of ill-gotten money, he alleged.
He regretted the stock market crises had shattered confidence of investors, took toll on the economy, weakened currency and pushed the country (finance managers) to carry begging bowl for averting default but those responsible were never brought to the book.
Dr Mughal said that Pakistanis were operating over four million bank accounts but less than 100,000 invested in the stock market which spoke volumes about their trust in the system.
The Pakistan Stock Exchange would not be able to attract local and foreign investors unless broker mafia was eliminated, he warned.

Smeda initiative to promote
industry-academia linkage
LAHORE (APP): SMEDA Tuesday initiated a move to promote industry-academia linkages to accelerate SME growth through entrepreneurship development among youth. In this regard, an exclusive briefing session was arranged here at SMEDA head office with a group of 25 students from Shaheed Benzair Bhutto University (SBBU), Upper Dir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. During the session, a brief presentation on SMEDA activities and its role in promoting entrepreneurship development in Pakistan was shared. At the occasion, GM P&P, Mairaj Anees Ariff highlighted the role of SMEs in economic development and said that universities play an important role in promoting entrepreneurship culture.

He said that only two percent of management students opt entrepreneurship as a carrier option, which is lowest as compared with developed nations. SMEDA in this regard provides services and facilitation to develop entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country.

PTDC employees asked to work for promotion of tourism
ISLAMABAD (APP): Managing Director of PTDC Ch Kabir Ahmed Khan Tuesday urged officers and staff to continue their efforts for promoting tourism in the country. Chaudhry Kabir Ahmad Khan expressed these views while administering oath to newly elected office bearers of PTDC’s Progressive Officers Association. The MD congratulated the elected members on their success in the elections and stressed the need for collective efforts to promote tourism in the country. He also asked them to devise strategies to address problems being faced by the tourism sector. Under the vision of Prime Minister of Pakistan, PTDC is striving to promote tourism within the country and abroad to create a tourist friendly image of the country, he said.

In this context, he said that PTDC will be organizing Gandhara Week, Tourism Convention and many other events in near future.

Minister participates in UAE
Energy Forum 2016
ABU DHABI (NNI): On the invitation of the organizers “The Gulf Intelligence”, the Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources Jam Kamal Khan and Chairman OGDCL Zahid Muzaffar participated in the UAE Energy Forum 2016 in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. The Forum is held every year under the patronage of the UAE Minister of Energy Eng. Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei. The meeting was attended among others by the UAE Minister for Energy Eng. Suhail Mazrouei and Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu. The forum brought together key policy makers and CEOs to deliberate on the direction of energy market in the region in the coming year.
The Minister of State and Chairman OGDCL participated in various sessions.
During discussions on new energy corridors in Asia, the Minister of State Jam Kamal Khan highlighted the high priority the Government of Pakistan attached to establishing energy corridors. In this regard, he informed the gathering about the inauguration of TAPI project in December in Ashgabat. In addition, Pakistan was also working to import electricity from Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. With a view to diversify the energy sources, a fresh LNG terminal was being constructed at Gwadar.
Chairman, OGDCL Mr. Zahid Muzaffar underscored the recent initiatives to develop Pakistan’s energy infrastructure including laying of new pipelines in the country. He highlighted the demand for oil and gas in Pakistan and underscored various opportunities for win-win collaboration in the field.
At the conclusion of the discussions, high level delegates had a working luncheon with the UAE Energy Minister. Minister Mazrouei also had a brief bilateral interaction with the Pakistani dignitaries separately on the sidelines of the event.