PEW demands immediate FTA with Iran

ISLAMABAD (INP): The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday demanded the government to immediately sign Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Iran to boost trade and confidence. “Both the countries have put in place a number of tariff and non-tariff barriers which has resulted in reduction in legal trade while triggering smuggling on the other hand,” it said. Dr Murtaza Mughal, President PEW, called for initiating serious efforts to boost trade with Iran, which he termed as highly unsatisfactory.  He said that Pakistan and Iran could become good trading partners for which serious efforts should be initiated while an FTA would be an achievement. “Pakistan should enhance electricity imports to 1000 megawatt while start importing petroleum products to bring diversity as depending on single source is not wise” he added. Mughal said that pipeline project was still under sanctions therefore every option should be explored to expedite it.

“The bilateral trade was once one billion dollars but now Pakistan’s exports have come down to 128 million dollars despite the agreement between both the countries to boost trade to five billion dollars in few years,” he added.


Progressive group starts drive for Lahore Chamber election

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Progressive Group, a representative platform of businessmen and traders of Lahore, has launched the ‘door to door-voters contact’ campaign for the upcoming annual elections of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). Polling for the LCCI elections for Corporate and Associate class will be held on September 26 and 27, 2017 respectively. Progressive Group Secretary Information and Deputy Secretary Ijaz Tanveer said in a statement here on Friday that the Group chairman Khalid Usman while presiding over a meeting constituted committees for this voters contact campaign which would visit different markets and industrial areas to convince the voters to vote for Progressive Group backed candidates. Corporate class’ voters contact campaign in charge will be Syed Hassan Raza while Abdul Wadood Alvi will look after the committees contacting Associate class voters.


ICST asks govt to review transit trade agreement with Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD (INP): Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders on Sunday said Afghanistan was trying its best to harm Pakistan’s economy by forwarding unreasonable demands which were not improving relations between the two countries. “Pakistan should also review the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) if Kabul does not allow Pakistani cargo through its land to Central Asia,” it said.  “Afghanistan cannot survive without Pakistan’s help but the country has started dancing to the tunes of the powers that want to damage Pakistan,” said Patron Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders Shahid Rasheed Butt. He said Islamabad should ditch plan to import gas and electricity from Central Asia, saying the region would be highly undependable and opt for import of energy from Iran. Butt said that TAPI gas pipeline and transmission line of KASA 1000 project would pass through pro-India Afghanistan which will be a great risk for our energy security.

Pakistan’s energy security cannot be left on the mercy of Afghan politicians therefore Government should expand LNG import project and try to import gas from Iran as soon as possible, he added.

He said that economic corridor is a fate changing project but it is not acceptable to some countries that have ganged up to destroy this project.

A weak and pro-India government in Afghanistan will be in a position to interrupt or discontinue supply of gas and electricity to blackmail Pakistan to provide land route to India which will increase terrorism in Pakistan, he observed.

Butt demanded that no country should be given an opportunity to damage our economy on the behest of foreign masters.


UBG lauds govt’s efforts to tame energy crisis

ISLAMABAD(INP): The United Business Group (UBG) of FPCCI on Sunday lauded the initiatives of the government to tame energy crisis. It said that many new projects are in the pipeline but existing projects should also be upgraded and substantial investments should be made to make transmission and distribution dependable.  Theft and line losses should be controlled otherwise it can double the size of circular debt as thirteen thousand megawatt of electricity will be pumped in the system in two years, said Zubair Tufail, Secretary General UBG.  In a statement issued here today, he said that transmission and distribution system cannot stand the load of additional electricity which can deprive the economy from gaining the full benefit of new power projects.  Average electricity shortfall is at four thousand megawatt which jumps to seven thousand megawatt in summer while gas shortfall is at two billion cubic feet, he said.

Zubair Tufail said that demand for electricity is increasing by ten percent annually while supply is not keeping with pace with it which has resulted in use of UPS and invertors which damage electric appliances and cost thirty billion annually which can be saved.

He said that line losses and theft should be contained and Discos should recover bills otherwise new power projects will result in increased losses as present outstanding arrears amount to almost seven hundred billion.

Current installed capacity is twenty four thousand megawatt and increased electricity supply will mean more losses which will also double the size of circular debt, said Tufail.