Dar reviews preparations for 3rd Pak-US Business moot

ISLAMABAD (OUR STAFF REPORTER): Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting on Monday to review the preparations of the 3rd Pak-US Business Opportunities Conference by the taskforce specially formed for the purpose.

Chairman Board of Investment (BoI) Miftah Ismail briefed the Minister that the purpose of this upcoming conference was to promote B2B ( business to business) interaction between the businessmen of the two countries. It also aimed to present Pakistan to the international community as a reliable business and investment destination.

He said the Conference which will be held on 9th and 10th of March 2015 shall cover areas like textiles with focus on home textiles, agriculture with focus on finished food products, fruits, vegetables and rice, leather with focus on accessories, footwear, surgical instruments, information technology, energy and infrastructure.

Plenary session of the conference would discuss trade and Investment opportunities available in US and Pakistan, Chairman BoI informed the meeting.

Finance Minister directed the concerned officials to make their presentations highlighting the positive features of Pakistan as a reliable trading partner. The Minister said, “We want the world to know that they are dealing with a reliable business partner. Pakistan has become a country which has built its portfolio as an emerging economy of the world in the last 2 years.”

Engineer Khurram Dastigir, the Federal Minister for Commerce said that there are suggestions from the business community to form a” US-Pakistan Joint Business Forum” and we should positively think about the suggestion. Dastigir Khan also invited the Finance Minister to grace Expo Launch Dinner on 25th of February at Karachi.

Japan investors reluctant to invest due to poor law and order

RAWALPINDI (INP): Japan ambassador to Pakistan H.E Hiroshi Inomata has said that Japanese business community is reluctant to invest in Pakistan owing to deteriorating law & order situation. Japan is the world largest importer of textile but due to high rate of import duty in Pakistan Japan is not prioritising Pakistan for textile imports to Japan as neighbouring countries of Pakistan like Sri Lanka and India have low ratio of taxes. Japan is keen to enhance bilateral trade relations with Pakistan and will support every activity which will be initiated in this regard. He was exchanging these views with the President RCCI Syed Asad Mashadi during his visit to Chamber on Monday.

 Vice President Saboor Malik, former presidents Sohail Altaf, Shimail Daud, members executive committee and other members of the Chamber were also there.

The ambassador said that Japan will assist Pakistan in technical support and interaction between the business communities will be enhanced to boost the bilateral trade.  He said that Japanese companies are already working in health, education and energy sector of Pakistan and mutual cooperation will be enhanced in future.

Speaking on the occasion President RCCI Syed Asad Mashadi said that Japan must transfer technology to Pakistan and increase its investment in the country. He said that trade volume between the two countries is around $2 billion and it is need of the hour to take solid steps to boost the business activities between Pakistan and Japan. He said that RCCI trade delegations will participate in two expos which are being held in Tokyo this year to promote direct interaction between business communities of both sides.

132 locomotives made operational to improve PR

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan Railways has made operational around 132 D.E locomotives during last seven months to improve its performance by enhancing number of freight and passenger trains. As per details, of the total five locomotives were rehabilitated, 22 specially repaired, 30 new locomotives were inducted while 75 locomotives were overhauled during the period. Sources at Pakistan Railways on Monday said at present the total number of operational DE locomotives is 253 while around 189 number of DE Locomotives are non-operational.

The sources said the Gross Earning of the department has been increased by 32.76pc and Working Expenses increased by 13.89 pc during 2014.

The deficit/ shortfall has witnessed increase by 2.71pc as compared to figures of corresponding period of 2012-13.

The main reasons for deficit are non-availability of locomotives, passenger coaches and rolling stock resulting in decrease of freight and passenger trains.

The other reasons are increase in salary and pension of employees as per government orders, increase in prices of fuel in the past i.e. HSD Oil, electricity and general inflation in previous years and increase in over head charges due to Idle Labour and non-availability of material in Railway Workshops due to financial crunch.

With regard to steps being taken for making Pakistan Railways a profitable organisation, the sources said the department has involved private parties in commercial management of four passenger carrying trains and cargo express train.

Right mix of passenger and freight trains, the sources said and added a Freight Transport Company is being established to give top priority to freight transportation for generating revenues.

The other measures being adopted are control over expenditure through computerized payments and pension to eliminate ghost pensioners and rule out possibility of over payments, procurement of new Bogie Oil Tank Wagons and procurement of new state of the art locomotives.

The terminal facilities are also being augmented to curtail loading/ un-loading time by introducing modern facilities while Pakistan Railways is in process of up-gradation of its existing tracks on main corridor with collaboration of China.

Existing speed of trains from Karachi to Lahore would be increased upto 160 kms per hour and from Lahore to Peshawar upto 120 km per hour.

Another step is doubling of track from Shahdara Bagh to Lalamusa and improvement of Signaling System on Lodhran - Khanpur - Kotri section and provision of Centralized Traffic Control on Shahdara Bagh -Lodhran section.

Efforts are also on to connect Gwadar port with Railway network and establishment of a new Dry Port at Havelian.

Pakistan Railways is also trying to introduce E-Governance in Pakistan Railways while Vigilance Cell has been re-activated to curb pilferages.

NBP signs MoU with Gestetner

LAHORE (Our staff reporter): The National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Gestetner Pakistan. Under this arrangement Gestetner Pakistan will provide their machines at discounted prices, a mini shop set-up and training to the interested youth for setting up a Mini Shop with Gestetner machines. This facility will be offered to the prospective applicants seeking loans under the  PMYBL scheme. Speaking to media NBP’s Senior Executive Vice President Mudassir Khan said that the bank was making persistent efforts and forming various corporate alliances with companies from different business sectors to make the Prime Minister Youth Business Loan a success.

He further said that by reaching the eligible candidates and micro/small businesses at grass root levels will help foster economic activity and improving quality of life for the people. He said that National Bank of Pakistan would continue to lead and support the PMYBL program to boost economic activity in the country.

NBP and the Government of Pakistan are working to further improve and shorten the process of tranche disbursal and facilitate borrowers through an expedited process.

Answering a question, Mudassir said that the PM Youth Business Loan program will furnish various possibilities to the youth for starting a business or for expansion of the existing business.

He said that the formation of alliance with Gestetner Pakistan – Hascombe Business Solutions (Private) Limited would lead to the availability of hi quality photocopier and printing equipment at affordable discounted costs to the borrowers of the scheme.

Call to enter into electronic trade

Lahore(Staff reporter): Shah Faisal Afridi, President Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) has urged the business community of Pakistan to take all possible measures for entering into the Era of electronic trade through E-Commerce. In a statement issued here today he said that currently the over-all volume of e-commerce in Pakistan was more than $4 billion per anum. It is estimated that in near future, almost 25 per cent of the traditional business will be converted into internet business, he added.

He elaborated that establishing business through e-commerce is effective due to low cost, and billions of the buyers and sellers can be connected simultaneously across the world.

E-commerce, if handled well can greatly reduce the costs of a company and achieve better results than the traditional form of business he said adding that according to an authentic estimate, E-commerce is going to change the whole world in future, therefore Government of Pakistan should take better initiative to improve the required infrastructure to promote the E-Business in Pakistan, because Pakistan is still far behind in chasing the west in this field, asserted Afridi.