PBIF urges govt to support

export sector

ISLAMABAD (NNI): President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday asked the government to support the textile sector as its weakness has pushed trade deficit to the dangerous proportions. The current trade deficit of over thirty billion dollars is enough to sink the economy which has started showing signs of weakness, he said. Mian Zahid Hussain said that slogans will not help improve the situation, therefore, meaningful steps should be taken to revive the export sector with special focus on textile which is the largest foreign exchange earning sector providing jobs to millions of people. Imports will touch the figure of 52 billion dollars while exports will remain below 20 billion dollars, pushing trade deficit to 32 billion dollars in the current fiscal which is unsustainable, he said. The business leader said that such a large deficit is enough to bankrupt the country without International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.

He said that government should promote the export sector through enabling policies to end dependence on the foreign lenders otherwise the situation will continue to deteriorate.

Textile sector stakeholders have blamed that government policies are damaging the export industry while pro-India policies have inflicted a severe blow upon them.

Textile sector has been ignored in the budget while the export package of Rs 180 billion announced last year is yet to be implemented.

Mian Zahid Hussain asked the government to reduce the price of inputs like gas and electricity, provide facilities matching that of competing countries and provide enabling environment otherwise the cost of falling textile sector will become unbearable for the economy.



Mobile internet subscribers

reach record high

ISLAMABAD (APP): The number of mobile internet subscribers reached a record 40.56 million by the end of April 2017, according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). Pakistan is also one of many developing countries where the usage of internet is rising day by day. People across the country use mobile internet to connect to their family and friends via big social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Mobile internet users in the country have grown significantly in the numbers and reached a record 40.56 million active mobile internet users by the end of April 2017, an official told APP. He said, "29% of mobile phone users are now internet users as well. They were standing at 22% by the end of the previous fiscal year in June 2016". On an average, the number of mobile internet subscriptions stood at 976,600 per month compared to mobile subscriptions at 703,617 per month in the past 10 months, according to PTA.

Moreover, Ministry of Information and Technology has recently sought approval from the Federal cabinet to roll out 5G services in the country. The step is taken in a bid to promote and improve 5G services in Pakistan.

This approval will allow the Ministry of Information and Technology to test the latest technology in mobile communications in Pakistan.

Keeping in view the increase in mobile internet users, the government has reduced custom duty on smartphones to promote the usage of the smartphones and internet which could ensure a new era of evolution in the country.







Number of tax filers increases

to 1.4m from 0.7m: FBR chief

MULTAN (Staff Reporter): Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Dr Muhammad Irshad disclosed on Monday the number of tax filers had jumped to 1.4 million from 0.7 million while tax rate was being reduced 1% annually since this government came into power. Addressing the members of Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) at an Iftar dinner, he added that the filers were the backbone of the economy and nobody would be allowed to tease or harass them. Referring to tax refunds, he declared that all income and sales tax refunds up to Rs 1 million would be paid till July 15 while other refunds exceeding this amount would be cleared by August 14-15. “Refunds worth Rs.57 billion have already been given while issue of remaining will be resolved very soon too,” he added. He said that the government was fully aware of the problems faced by the manufacturers, exporters due to financial crunch and their grievances would be redressed on priority.

He declared that the Universal Self Assessment scheme would not be restored because traders concealed the facts to cheat the tax system. He further announced that no surprise visits of businesses would be conducted as he wanted to establish friendly relations with business community. He suggested formation of an Advisory Committee having

representatives from public and private sectors.



Volunteer organisations to get grants

on basis of bank statements

PESHAWAR (Staff Reporter): Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Irrigation and Social Welfare Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao has directed the authorities concerned to provide grants to volunteer organisations on the basis of yearly bank statements, regular monitoring, and performance. He issued the directive while chairing a high-level meeting of the Social Welfare Department here on Monday. Social Welfare Secretary Syed Abdul Jabbar Shah, Social Welfare Director Naeem Khan and representatives of Home, Finance and Revenue departments attended the meeting. During the meeting, matters pertaining to the provision of grant in aid from the provincial government to volunteer social welfare organisations were discussed. Minister also directed the concerned high-ups not to include those organisations for the provision of grant having not completed their audit reports, and directed that the provision of the said grant should be made on the basis of volunteer organisations’ yearly bank statements, regular monitoring, and performance.

He said that the department’s district officers should keep vigilance eyes on the social welfare organisations who get financial benefits from the government exchequer as to ensure more facilities to the masses, adding that the performa for grant in aid should be made more favourable and a transparent policy for this purpose should be evolved by which every action could go forward through different verification processes.

During the meeting, 26 applications for a grant in aid were approved while some applications were differed due to documents deficiencies. The minister said that after completion of all deficiencies, the remaining applications would be viewed for consideration as to provide it the available funds for the welfare of the public through legal ways.