Pak–US Business Council demands restoration of US aid

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Pakistan-US Business Council on Tuesday demanded immediate restoration of $300 million US military aid to Pakistan besides urging both Pakistan and America to enhance mutual engagement under the leadership of US President Donald Trump and a few irritants should not be allowed to undermine 70 years long bilateral relations. Pakistan-US Business Council founder chairman and United Business Group chairman Iftikhar Ali Malik stated this while taking to media here on his return from Bhutan. Meanwhile, Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw has condemned the brutal bomb attack on Ferozepure Road that killed more than 26 innocent citizens including police officials. He said, “I would like to offer my sympathies to the unfortunate victims of this ruthless terrorist attack, and assure them that the Church will stand hand-in-hand with the affected families in this darkest hour.” He expressed these remarks while speaking at a condolence meeting held at St Anthony’s High School to offer prayers for the bomb victims.

The meeting was attended by school principal Shahid Ambrose Moghul. “We are dismayed and put in God’s hands this injustice along with the lives of all the innocent dead of Monday’s bomb blast. As Christians, today we held a solemn vigil in the Cathedral and in silence we prayed for the victims, entrusting them to the Lord,” he said.

On this occasion, Shahid asked the government to take a strict stand to eliminate terrorism, as loss of precious innocent lives is intolerable. He termed the terrorist attack as an ugly attempt to destabilise country aimed at creating an impression of unsafe place in the eyes of international community.

Exporters must follow process

to benefit from GSP Plus facility

MULTAN (APP): Chairman All Pakistan Bed-Sheets and Upholestry Manufacturers Association (APBUMA) Khawaja Muhammad Younis said on Tuesday that exporters would not be able to avail zero rating under GSP plus unless they get themselves registered by Dec 31, 2017 with a new system of EU called REX, the Registered Exporters System. While speaking at an awareness seminar for exporters, organised by APBUMA and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), he said that EU has introduced REX system for exporters exporting products to EU countries. He appealed to the government to release export refund claims to help exporters overcome funds shortage problem. He said that by virtue of the package announced by the  federal government, country's bed-wear exports surged by 5.65 per cent, readymade garments by 5.55 per cent and made-ups by 2.62 per cent in 2016-17.

TDAP advisor Kamal Shaheryar gave a detailed briefing to exporters on the REX system and the procedure for registration.

Allocation of huge funds for development to attract investors: FPCCI

ISLAMABAD (APP): Vice President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Ishtiaq Baig on Tuesday said allocation of billions of rupees for completing road, energy, health and education projects would attract foreign investors to Pakistan. Peaceful environment and better infrastructure would help boost business activities, he said while talking to PTV. The credit goes to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for taking keen interest in the development of the country, he said. CDWP had approved more than 90 billion rupees development projects which would be completed within the stipulated time frame. The present government had set priority to complete all the development projects before the next general elections, he said. Vice President FPCCI said investors always seek peaceful environment and better infrastructure for investment. He hoped that all the energy projects would be completed by 2018 which would bring prosperity for the people of this country.

Saudi Arabia raises $4.53b in oversubscribed bond issue

RIYADH (AFP): Saudi Arabia has raised $4.53 billion from a local Islamic bond issue that was three times oversubscribed, it said Tuesday as it battles a budget deficit caused by low oil revenues.  The finance ministry said orders exceeded 52 billion riyals ($13.6 billion) for its first issue of domestic sukuk bonds worth 17 billion riyals. It said the new bonds would be divided into three tranches, with maturities ranging from five to ten years.  "The strong demand for local bonds reflects the confidence of investors in the kingdom's issuings and confirms the strength of the Saudi economy's foundations," the ministry said in a statement. In April Saudi Arabia raised $9 billion in its first global Islamic bond issue, a move analysts said could ease pressure on its foreign reserves. But the largest Arab economy is suffering from a sharp slide in oil revenues since crude prices plummeted in mid-2014, forcing Riyadh to cut subsidies and delay projects.

The kingdom forecast a budget deficit of $53 billion this financial year, down slightly from last year's shortfall.

Economic growth in Saudi Arabia is expected to hit just 0.1 percent this year, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, down from the 0.3 percent it projected in April.

That would be the country's worst growth since 2009, when its economy contracted by 2.0 percent as oil revenues slumped following the global financial crisis.