UNDP holds seminar on ‘productivity in garment sector’

LAHORE ( Staff Reporter): Availability of skilled workforce, simplification of freight shipment procedures, uplifting of import tax, fixing of cotton price, reformation of import and export regulations, synergy among stakeholders, setting up of integrated transport infrastructure, compliance to regulations and competitive reduction in mark-up rates can enable Pakistan to gain maximum benefits of GSP Plus status.  These were the key challenges and recommendations shared by the participants during stakeholders’ consultation on ‘Gains of GSP Plus Status, Challenges of Garment Industry in Pakistan’, organized by UNDP – Promoting Employment and Productivity in Garment Industry (PEPGI) Project. 

Expected one million jobs in garment sector and envisioned development during GSP Plus status can only be created by developing a pool of skilled workforce through integrated skill development initiatives. There is need is to develop linkages among academia and industry for providing skilled workforce according to needs and demands.


‘IMF-imposed’ privatisation of PIA rejected

LAHORE ( Staff Reporter):  Joint Action committee of PIA employees representing all unions and associations of PIA has convened an emergency meeting and decided to resist the privatization plan of PIA. JACPIA has urged the Government of Pakistan to review its decision of privatization and warned about a nationwide protest otherwise.  Spokesman of JACPIA said that all participants have unanimously showed concerns over the IMF imposed privatization of PIA and other national assets. The participants further agreed that administrative reforms, impartial decisions making and implementing the employees suggestions for the betterment of the national flag carrier can take out airline from current disorder.



PM loan scheme for youth to  boost economy: Smeda chief

ISLAMABAD (APP): Chief of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), Raja Husnain Javed on Saturday said that Prime Minister’s Youth Loan Scheme would help increase business activity besides boosting country’s economy. He said that application forms for getting loan through Prime Minister’s Youth Loan Programme can be obtained from the National Bank of Pakistan, First Women Bank and SMEDA without any charges. He said that women can also get the loan facility on easy terms and conditions. He said that the people can visit SMEDA website to download feasibility plans for initiating business in the country.

He said that some 25 locations were available where the people can get the feasibility plans for opening new business after the loan facility of the Prime Minister.



Tarbela 4th extension project to be completed in over three years

ISLAMABAD (APP): Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project will be constructed in three and half years with an estimated cost of $928 million.

Officail sources told APP that Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project will increase the hydropower generation capacity of Tarbela Hydel Power Station to 4888 MW, after installation of three units of 1410 MW on Tunnel No. 4. On completion, Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project will add about 3.84 billion units low-cost electricity to the National Grid per annum. Annual benefits of the project have been estimated at about Rs.30.7 billion. They said the project will pay back its cost in just three years.

­The project will also be instrumental in saving foreign exchange on import of almost one million tonnes of furnace oil annually, required for the equivalent generation of electricity from thermal sources, they said.

The project will also provide a cushion to undertake rehabilitation and up-gradation of the existing Tarbela Power House during the lean period.

Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) had already signed contract worth Rs 26.05 billion for civil works with Chinese firm Sinohydro to materialize this important project.

Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project is a part of least-cost power generation strategy of the Federal Government being implemented by WAPDA on priority.

This strategy not only aims at adding a sizeable quantum of electricity to the national grid but also improving the share of low-cost hydel electricity in the overall system for reducing the power tariff.



CDA, ICCI vow to work together

ISLAMABAD (INP): The business community is playing a significant role in the development of local economy and CDA will take stakeholders on board on all important matters to facilitate them, said Amer Ahmed Ali, Member Administration CDA while addressing business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry. He said the issue of levying parking fee in markets is still under consideration and CDA will settle this issue in consultation with businessmen to arrive at a consensus decision. He explained that CDA should be able to provide services in lieu of fee structure which shall remain rationalized. He said many measures are being taken to bring further improvements in CDA’s internal systems to make them efficient and transparent.

These initiatives will take some time and hopefully people will see positive change in CDA in coming days. He said that CDA has planned to launch an Urban Transport System in the federal capital to provide a decent transport facility to the commuters and the bus service would hopefully be on roads within 3-4 months. CDA is also considering outsourcing the maintenance and repairs works of footpaths, pavements, roads etc. improve the look of Islamabad. Building byelaws would also be reviewed to improve them in order to cater to the current needs of industry. He assured that his doors will remain opened for individuals and businessmen to listen to their problems and explore optimum solutions of their problems.

In his welcome address, Shaban Khalid, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that CDA has a critical role in the development of local infrastructure to facilitate the smooth growth of business activities and we look forward that the new blood would make a difference in the performance of CDA. He said Chief Commissioner ICT has agreed to hold once in a month meeting involving the representatives of ICCI, local administration, police and CDA to resolve problems proactively and hoped that CDA would cooperate in this effort to settle maters before they become problems.

He said that the approach of consultation with stakeholders and taking consensus decisions will help in developing Islamabad on modern lines with joint efforts. He said that Islamabad Highway from airport to Islamabad needs further improvements to bring it at par with international standards. Appreciating the encouraging approach of Member Administration CDA, he assured that ICCI would cooperate in every step taken for the betterment and facilitation of stakeholders.

Representatives of various markets also highlighted their issues. They said that CDA’s building byelaws have become outdated and are required to be revised to meet the current day needs. They said CDA should consider allowing multiple storey buildings on industrial plots; improve infrastructure including roads, water, sewerage system, footpaths, pavements, street lights and open all traders except for negative list that will help in boosting business activities and generating more revenue for the CDA as well.