PIA to launch flight to Guangzhou

 BEIJING (APP): Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)'s Country Manager to China, Hong Kong, and Macau, Nasir Jamal Malik Sunday said the feasibility report for the launch of a new flight of the national flag carrier to the Chinese city of Guangzhou has been completed and submitted for the approval."According to the feasibility report, the proposed direct flight is economically viable and it is expected to cater needs of the business community of both Pakistan and China," he said. He pointed out that Guangzhou is one of the most important cities of China which has a huge trade, investment and joint venture opportunities for the Pakistani businessmen and added that the direct air links between more cities of Pakistan and China will also help promote trade and people to people contact. The country manager informed the business community has also been demanding to the airline's top administration to draw a plan for launching a direct flight to Guangzhou. Although, a private airline is operating twice a week for Guangzhou but it is not enough to cater to the needs of businessmen.

The direct air links between Pakistan and Guangzhou by the national flag carrier will provide immense benefits to people of both Pakistan and China.

About the operation of PIA's Islamabad-Beijing-Tokyo flight, he said currently two flights are operating in a week and added, each flight is transporting around 12-13 tons of cargo alongside the passengers.

Nasir Jamal disclosed the national flag carrier is providing 17 percent discount on airfare to Pakistani students studying in China, adding, even students up to 40 years of age are availing this facility.

The PIA is the only airline which is providing 40-kg baggage facility to its customers, he added.

To a question about the delays in departure of Beijing-Islamabad flight, he said the management is helpless in this regard, adding, the PIA flight originate from Tokyo and often gets delayed departure clearance due to traffic congestions. This flight also faces further delays at the Beijing airport due to heavy air traffic.

Industrial units ordered to plant trees

LAHORE (APP): The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) Sunday directed 337 steel-melting furnaces and industrial units to plant trees to overcome pollution and smog in the city. The EPD sources told APP that the directives were issued to all furnaces and smoke-emitting factories in various industrial zones of the city. The sources said that beautification of major inter-city roads had already been launched, adding that trees and flower planting, in and outside the industries was also being carried out. They said that all industrial zones have been directed that heavy fine would be imposed in case of presence of solid waste or effluent outside the industrial units. The department has also constituted a special `Vigilance Cell' to address the environmental pollution issues caused by the steel melting furnaces and smoke-emitting factories, sources added. "These teams will carry out raids on factories, violating the law. The vigilance teams will determine the causes of industrial pollution and environmental status of the area," they added.

PIAF welcomes refunding to exporters

LAHORE (APP): Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) has appreciated the government for its commitment to disburse outstanding refunds of exporting industry. PIAF Chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice Chairman Tanveer Ahmed Sufi and Vice Chairman Khawaja Shahzeb Akram said in a media statement here Sunday that finance minister had assured business leaders to disburse Rs 100 billion under sales tax refund claims till completion of the incumbent government's five-year term. They hailed the government for fulfilling its commitment regarding the payment of stuck refunds of exporters, asserting that it was a good omen that Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had prepared refund cheques for the disbursement and documentations was in process. According to reports, the FBR was going to disburse sales tax refunds against those cases that had been verified up to March, however, the total outstanding refunds, including sales tax, income tax and duty drawback, were estimated at over Rs 200 billion, they mentioned.

The PIAF chairman said the refunds had been accumulating after eliminating zero-rating of sales tax for the export and textile sectors, asserting that PIAF had for the last two years been urging the quarters concerned to re-introduce zero-rating for the export sector, as the industry was facing serious liquidity crunch.

Irfan Sheikh said delay in release of multi-billion rupees funds caused serious fund shortages for the exporters and manufacturers that might lead to closure of several industrial units.

Traders for developing city markets

ISLAMABAD(APP): The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) Sunday called upon the Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI) and Capital Development Authority (CDA) to focus on development of capital's markets as it would help business activities flourish. Talking to a delegation of local traders that called on him, ICCI Senior Vice President Muhammad Naveed Malik said ever since the election of MCI, the CDA had been ignoring development works in markets, due to which they were giving a dilapidated look.  Naveed Malik said the business community was playing a leading role in the country's economic development as they were promoting business activities, creating new jobs and generating revenue.  He said the MCI, CDA and all other relevant departments should pay urgent attention to resolve the key issues of business community and facilitate the private sector in every possible way so that business activities could boost in the city and local economy could further grow.