FBR can play role for economic stability

LAHORE  (INP): Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq Thursday lauded appointment of Ms Rukhsana Yasmin as chairperson Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and said she would utilize all her skill to strengthen partnership between FBR and the business community for economic growth and development of the country through better interaction and confidence, instead of complaining of each other. In his statement issued here Thursday, Mian Kashif said FBR can play vital role for stabilisation of economy and this is only possible when FBR extends its interaction with the business community.  He said she would take sustainable and durable result oriented actions to broaden tax base in Pakistan and potential non-tax payers must be brought into tax net at all cost. He said that the outgoing government has taken stringent measures to control the inflation but the widening gap between imports and exports has nullified all economic achievements and now some experts are floating proposals to get assistance from IMF.

He said that in order to overcome the impact of devaluation, the country will require revenue from Rs4 trillion to Rs6 trillion. This situation may have negative impact on the economy, he added.

Mian Kashif underlined the importance of taxes but remarked that trust deficit between the tax payers and tax collectors is major hurdle in the promotion of healthy tax culture in the country.

He stressed transparency in government expenditures in addition to highlighting some burning issues of the business community. Appreciating FBR steps for expanding tax network in Pakistan, he said has taken two major steps, barring non-filers from purchasing plots and vehicles. "This step has been taken to bring them into the tax net which will certainly increase the number of tax payers and thus share the burden of existing tax payers. Furthermore, he also appreciated FBR amnesty scheme and said Tax Amnesty Scheme is a major step to stabilize national economy in the wake of dwindling foreign exchange reserves and declining exports.

He further said FBR will also establish close and warm coordination with furniture makers as this sector having great potential is neglected by the government in regard of its promotion. He said this furniture sector needs exemption from tax for a period of ten years at least so that it can establish itself. "I believe that the tax exempted furniture sector in Pakistan will enliven the economy in general. New jobs will be created and production levels will increase, making economy actors happy. We have already seen the signs of a rebound in the economy," he said.

He said Pakistan's furniture industry has a big potential to dominate global markets with innovative designs and can significantly contribute to exports; however, it direly needs a package of incentives and facilitation for boosting exports.

The PFC chief said the government should patronize the local industry by discouraging import of furniture items. Rather, he said, the government should announce a package of incentives to local manufacturers so that they could enhance the volume of their export items to gain their significant share in international market.

Growth in telephone lines witnessed

ISLAMABAD (APP): The core operations of landline telephone functions reflected a growth rate of five percent showing a consistent growth and development. This is additional growth and did not include 127,693 telephone lines that were generated by virtue of migration from Time-division multiplexing (TDM) to Next Generation Network (NGN), official report released by NTC revealed. It is nonetheless a phenomenal change due to substitution of comfort and portability that mobile phone claimed over the services of fixed-line. However, in 2013-14 number of connections was 118,277, the number of connection jumped to 121,674 in 2014-15 and number of connections reached 124,178 between 2015-17. Talking to APP, an official of NTC said, to increase ICT services the NTC has added total 41 new Districts/Cities/ sites in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan during 2013-2017. 18 sites in Sindh, 15 in Punjab, 2 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 6 in Balochistan have been added due to which growth of five percent in telephone lines was witnessed, he added.

He said the clear voice quality and smooth connectivity especially in case of emergency or in special days when the mobile phone services are suspended, the effectiveness of landline has no match.

While the Pakistan-Package and affordable internet packages at far flung areas connected people of every nook and corner of the country. The smooth connectivity without any interruption and clear voice quality are the major attractions of landline phone which has no match to cellular companies' services.

Rupee devaluation to please IMF flayed

ISLAMABAD (INP): Business leader Malik Sohail Hussain on Thursday said the appreciation of dollar is hurting the entire population of the country and the rupee should not be weakened more to please IMF. Exchange rate erosion is not only hurting the production but the whole economy and it must be stopped now, he said. Malik Sohail, who has also served as SVP of ICCI, said that there should be a limit to bringing down the value of rupee against the US dollar. It is making all the imports including that of oil and gas costlier for which masses will pay the price, he added. He said that the flight of dollar will increase poverty and jack up the cost of all projects including the economic corridor. The business leader said that energy is the largest import item and erosion in the exchange rate will boost its price which has been already increasing in the international market. It will damage industrial and agricultural production and almost every citizen of the country, as the local currency is being compromised to please IMF and some sectors.

The export sector should not seek aid from the government but improve its competitiveness while government should not compromise the interests of masses to please influential.

He said that economic problems necessitate attention and reforms as obtaining loans from and devaluation currency will give temporary relief while masses will see the loss of their savings and the cost of debt servicing will increase by trillions of rupees.

Pak participation in Saarc SDF conclave

LAHORE (INP): A high level delegation of Pakistan, under the leadership of SAARC CCI senior vice president (SVP) Iftikhar Ali Malik, will leave for India on June 30 to participate in three days SAARC Development Fund (SDF) Partnership Conclave 2018 commencing from July 01 aimed at strategic growth in the South Asia region through project collaboration and regional integration. Talking to a traders delegation from Islamabad jointly led by Zubair Ahmad Malik and Malik Sohail Hussain here Thursday , he said the conclave proposes to solicit cross-border project co-financing under the "social, economic and infrastructure windows of SDF" in SAARC member states. “The thematic concepts to be discussed during the conclave for funding would be energy, transportation, ICT, trade and commerce, agriculture and allied sectors, and poverty alleviation, among others,” he added. He further said SDF has also invited bankable project as it is exploring the possibility of forming a consortium of funding agencies for co-financing of projects in the SAARC countries.

 Shedding light on the aims of SDF, he said the main purpose of establishing SDF is to promote the welfare of the people of SAARC region, improve their quality of life and accelerate economic growth, social progress and poverty alleviation in the region. “SDF serves as the umbrella financial institution for SAARC projects and programs which are in fulfillment of the objectives of the SAARC Charter. SDF promotes Regional Integration and Economic Cooperation in the region and has three funding windows viz. Social, Economic and Infrastructure,” he added.