FPCCI to fully support UN’s WIFI move

Lahore (Our Staff  Reporter): The FPCCI has said that it will fully support all the women empowerment initiatives by the United Nations. Government of Pakistan has taken a lot of steps to empower women but a lot is to be done for which international institutions should play their due role, it said. President FPCCI Abdul Rauf Alam said this while talking to delegates representing different countries during the launch of WIFI at a the convention arranged by the United Nations Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (UN-APCICT) in Korea. He said that the aim of WIFI to create socially and economically-empowered women through ICT-enabled entrepreneurship, supporting women entrepreneurs by enhancing their knowledge and skills in business management and ICT usage which is a noble cause. Abdul Rauf Alam said that this project is to be coordinated through COPAIR while FPCCI has already signed an agreement with the President of COPAIR to empower and facilitate all members of various women chambers and rural women.

The President FPCCI said that WIFI will have a transformative impact on the lives of women entrepreneurs, their families, and their communities which triggers growth and reduce negative tendencies in the society therefore it is a laudable move.

The success of women results in increased household savings and investment in children’s health and education which contribute to national socio-economic growth, he said adding that economically productive women imperative for a healthy society.

At the occasion, Amna Malik said that almost half of the world’s population comprises of women while lack of opportunities is keeping the whole world from developing on rapid pace.

Companies like Google, Microsoft and Intel presented their initiatives in the launch and emphasized how they can collaborate and support women entrepreneurship.

Hundreds of participants including high-level officials and representatives from government, academia, civil society, international organizations and the private sector from over fifty countries participated in the event.

 Call to review taxes on dairy sector

Lahore (Our Staff Reporter): Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders on Sunday asked the govt to review taxes slapped on the dairy sector as it will result in widespread malnutrition and discourage foreign investors. Government should not increase taxes on the dairy sector, rather it should get status of zero-rated industry, said Patron Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders Shahid Rasheed Butt. In a statement issued here today, he said that the new tax structure is complicated while additional taxes will hit infants the most as almost half of the child population in the country is already stunted.  He said that the officials who consider dry milk a luxury are doing great disservice to the people of Pakistan. Shahid Rasheed Butt said that seventeen percent tax in dairy inputs, and twenty five percent regulatory duty on import of dry milk is simply unacceptable as importers were already paying twenty percent customs duty on milk imports. He said that budgetary measures have already deterred a European multinational which had planned to invest 500 million dollars in Pakistan.

 in the initial stage and the company was planning to invest more in the later stage.

He said that government has already given too much relaxations to the agricultural sector in the budget therefore it shouldn’t compromise on the interest of masses to please the tax-exempted landed elite which has a clear majority in the National Assembly.

 Eroded rupee to hurt whole population

Lahore (Our Staff Reporter):  The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday criticised textile sector for demanding devaluation of local currency to boost exports. Eroded rupee to make imports costly which are double than exports and hut every person in Pakistan, it said. The government has accorded zero-rating status to the textile sector in the budget, reduced export refinance rate by 0.5 percent and promised to pay refunds but the textile millers are asking for more which is unjustified, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW. He said that devaluation of the currency to spur exports is an old-fashioned idea which is contrary to the national interests therefore government should refuse the demand. Exchange rate erosion provides little relief to exporters while it increases debt, payable interest and make imports costly he said, adding that exports should be increased by reforms. Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that dollar was worth Rs60 during Musharraf’s regime that has now depreciated to Rs 104.50 but the exports remain stagnant, rather dwindled.  

Dollar appreciated by Rs 5 recently but exports didn’t improved, rather nosedived which proves that the demand holds no water, he added.

Government should try to tackle weaknesses in manufacturing, energy crisis, taxation issues, policy hiccups, supply side constraints, non-existent R and D, value addition, brand development and diversification.

Export sector remain focused on low-value and commodity based products while officials concerned have always ignored to fix the structural flaws.

Interests of whole population cannot be sacrificed to provide temporary relief to some exporters through exchange rate adjustment as it will increase debt burden by billions of rupees.

 Economy suffers  $68b loss  due to terrorism

Lahore (Our Staff Reporter): Over the past decades, Pakistan’s economy has suffered direct and indirect losses of more than $67.9 billion due to its role as a frontline state in the operations against terrorists, militants and miscreants since the year 2001, besides causing loss of over 70,000 precious lives. It has been reported in the Pakistan Economic Survey, that the post 9/11 events and the war in Afghanistan has also put additional financial burden, worsening the security environment in the country. The All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) has expressed its concerns over the major negative impact of terrorism on the national economy. The President of APBF Ibrahim Qureshi stated that the war on terror has restrained the country’s exports, prevented the inflows of foreign investment, affected the pace of privatization Programme, lessened foreign remittances from Expatriate Pakistanis, reduced employment opportunities and hampered tourism, while slowing down the overall economic activity in the country.

The annual tax-collection and demand for imports has also been reduced, while the annual expenditure on additional security arrangements has been exceeding the allocated budgets. Over the years, Pakistan has consistently suffered with destruction of physical infrastructure.”

The Investment-to-GDP ratio in Pakistan has declined sharply with serious implications on the country’s industrial performance, productivity and growth. The bleak economic situation calls for urgent deliberations and robust efforts from the government and the industrial experts & leaders, to take concrete measures for overcoming these economic challenges, besides combating corruption to accelerate economic progress.