PR to establish modern call centres

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan Railways will establish Modern Call Centers by replacing old inquiry system to provide maximum facilities to the passengers. “In this regard, bids have been opened and the services of multi-national companies will have to be hired to set-up latest Call Centers,” an official in the Ministry of Railways told APP. To a question, the official said the government has taken several steps to meet the international standard in passenger sector of Pakistan Railways since June 2013. “A new passenger reservation system has been introduced including E-ticketing and now passengers can book their ticket online. It will be a new culture of reservation and passenger facilitation,” he added. He said that introduction of value added trains has been started and the department has completed value addition of Karachi Express, Karakurum Express, Green Line and Business Express. “Modern facilities like Wi-fi, complimentary newspaper, drinking water, tea and lunch /dinner and public address system have been introduced in these trains,” he added.
He said Pakistan Railways has introduced hand held digital devices for computerized reservation in trains and ticketless checking etc. Train managers in order to address issues of passengers on the spot have been introduced.
“SMS alert service for passengers has been launched for green line train and in future the facility will be extended to passengers of all trains,” the official added.
He said that Pakistan Railways is installing Computer Based Interlocking System (CBIS) on its track in order to enhance capacity and improve safety of the train operations.
In the freight sector, the official said Pakistan Railways has inducted modern Hoper Trucks to deal with bulk transportation of coal and 4000-4500 Horse Power freight specific locomotives have been added in the existing fleet.
To a question, he said that no discount in tickets is being granted by Pakistan Railways to in service or retired employees of armed forces and given no discount to other government employees as well.

Making Pakistan prime destination for foreign, local investors priority of BoI

ISLAMABAD (APP): Newly appointed chainman of Board of Investment (BOI) Naeem Y Zamindar said on Wednesday said that the top priority of his organization was to make Pakistan as prime destination for foreign and local investors by providing them level playing fields, besides making pro-investments policies. "Pakistan offers tremendous opportunities for investors in making investments in various sectors of economy including Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under the game changer project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), textile, energy, agriculture, health, education and other sectors due to conducive business environment being offered in the country,” said Chairman BOI in an exclusive interview after assuming charge of his office here. Chairman BOI said, “I will work towards catalyzing investments into priority areas that will fundamentally enable a happier life for its citizens, especially sectors where technology can play a disruptive role, like in education, healthcare, energy and agriculture.
“We want to brand Pakistan as entrepreneur future country by introducing innovations and modern industrial concepts on SEZs and Priories Economic Zones (PEZs), Chairman BOI said.
Replying to a question, he said that BOI wanted to introduce aggressive marketing plan for providing facilities offered in SEZs in shape one stop shop in order to ease of doing business in the country.

Tremendous potential exists for increasing Pak-Portugal trade volume

RAWALPINDI (APP): Portugal and Pakistan, which enjoy excellent trade relations, have tremendous potential to further increase their bilateral trade, Dr Joao Paulo Marques Sabido Costa, Chargé D’affaires of Portugal, said on Wednesday. The envoy was speaking to RCCI President Zahid Latif Khan during his visit to the RCCI. He said the Pakistani business community should ensure maximum exports to Portugal and other European Union and African countries through Portugal by taking full advantage of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status. He said Portugal has offered a golden visa programme to attract investment in real estate sector and Pakistani investors should take benefit of this program. He said Portugal has Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) with many countries and by investing in Portugal. Pakistani investors can promote exports to Europe, Africa, Canada and other regions, adding RCCI should form a delegation for Portugal to explore new business opportunities, he added.
Dr Joao Paulo said being a hi-tech country, Portugal was ready to assist and provide technology and machinery to Pakistan in many sectors including agriculture, textile, marble, water resources, building and constructions.
On the occasion, RCCI President said Portugal should enhance the import of Pakistani products including pharmaceutical, marble, gems and stones, textiles, garments, surgical instruments, sports goods, leather products, fruits & vegetables and other products to extend full benefits of GSP Plus to Pakistan.

Rs2767m non-development, Rs1261 development budget approved for PARC

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Board of Governors Wednesday approved budget of the council for the financial year 2017-18. The 41th BoG meeting was presided over by the Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research and Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan. The budget approved by BoG included Rs2767.360 million for non-development with additional supplementary grant of Rs. 855.582 already under process with Administrative Ministry. As many as Rs1261.919 million have been approved for development side for public sector projects. In addition, the Board also approved Rs206.700 million for MoUs and Rs214.709 million for Agriculture Linkage Program (ALP) of PARC. The BoG also approved adoption of revision of Basic Pay Scales-2017 and Grant of Adhoc Relief Allowance-2017 @ Rs. 10% as notified by the federal government with effect from July 1st, 2017 including other allowances and facilities to the PARC employees.
Speaking on the occasion, the federal minister expressed the hope that all new members would utilize their vision and experience in revitalizing agricultural research in the country. He said that PARC had played a vital role towards improving the agriculture sector in various ways over the past
He lauded the efforts of Prime of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, members of Senate and National Assembly Standing Committees on NFS&R to protect NARC from its displacement.
He also acknowledged the role of judiciary on restoration of NARC land and appreciated the role of electronic and print media to highlight the NARC land issue.