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Shahbaz urges collective efforts for country’s progress

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif says the people cannot be deceived by the elements making false claims of change and revolution.Talking to overseas party workers in London on Saturday, he said the change only comes through development and...

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India and Pakistan should have future different from past: Indian High Commissioner

Lahore, March 30, 2018 (PPI-OT): Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria has said that India and Pakistan should have future different from the past and must not carry the burden of history. Mutual relations should be built on the basis of trade and economy and must be away from violence and war. We should not talk about negative and positive lists rather we should work on the windows of opportunities.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid, Vice President Zeeshan Khalil and Executive Committee Members also spoke on the occasion. Indian High Commissioner said that there is no better way of improving bilateral relations than mutually beneficial economic ties. He said that both Pakistan and India needed to take more steps to remove Non-Tariff Barriers that were a major impediment to bilateral trade relations. He said that at present over $5 billion trade is being done through third country.

He said that removal of non-tariff barriers, liberalization of visa and normalization of mutual relation can bring the two-way trade to the height of $30 billion. He said that two-third population of India is below the age of 35 and same is in Pakistan as 65% people of Pakistan are under the age of 35. He said that both countries have a lot of potential to cater to each other.

“Chambers of Commerce and Industry of both countries are the most important lobby as not only they can play an instrumental role in strengthening mutual trade and economic ties but they can also influence the policy makers”, Indian High Commissioner concluded. The LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that at present, an unfavourable scenario has developed both at political and diplomatic fronts.

We have been witnessing these cycles time and again that first there is a trust deficit and some joint efforts are made for trust building then a bad incident happens and we end up yet again at trust deficit. One such incident must not halt the process of relation building. He said that both countries should give the peace another chance to prevail in the region for our youth and coming generations.

“In this context, we – the representatives of private sector – think that both Pakistan and India have to show a lot of maturity and act very sensibly. We believe that people to people contacts can play effective role in dispelling the wrong perception about each other”, the LCCI President added.

Malik Tahir Javaid said that there are a number of issues prevailing at both the sides in the way of normalization of trade links between two key members of SAARC region. He said that regional trade is significant which cannot promise any good results until Pakistan and India join hands with futuristic approach. It is high time that greater trade between two countries should be given a fair chance to contribute in the prospects of region for peace and prosperity.

The LCCI President said that trade in the region constitutes only 1.4% of the total world imports and 1.2% of exports, whereas merchandise trade is only 27.9% of GDP, the lowest in the world. South Asia is the least integrated region in the world. One reason is trust deficit amongst the neighbouring countries but the other important factor is poor connectivity.

He said that for India it would be 20% cheaper to trade with Brazil than with Pakistan. For better trade relations countries have to invest in confidence building measures as well as on connectivity. He said that from the last couple of years, the bilateral trade is averaging around dollar 2 billion whereas it is estimated that India and Pakistan have a potential for trade of something between dollar 10-20 billion. Unless we pave the way for commercial importers and exporters, the businessmen from both sides with continue to opt trading via Dubai and Singapore etc. This only adds to cost and time factor.

Malik Tahir Javaid said that chambers of commerce from Pakistani and Indian sides have to play a sensible role to facilitate their members with regard to developing networking amongst each other. He said that India is an established brand for offering world class healthcare facility. These facilities are using the same technology delivered by competent specialists attaining similar success rates as in developed world at much lower costs. India has emerged as a leader in medical tourism.

These services should always be available for the Pakistani patients on humanitarian grounds and LCCI offers its services for this noble cause. The LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeeshan Khalil also called for joint efforts for trade normalization and for removing of non-trade barriers. They suggested establishment of a common area at border where businessmen of the both countries can meet each other for business deals.

For more information, contact:
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +92-42-111-222-499
Fax: +92-42-36368854
Website: www.lcci.org.pk

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ICCI for finalizing Federal Budget 18-19 in consultation with private sector

Islamabad, March 30, 2018 (PPI-OT): Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called upon the government to finalize Federal Budget 2018-19 in consultation with private sector to make it inclusive financial bill. He said this while addressing a session organized by Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) in collaboration with ICCI to hold discussion on improving the parliamentary hearing process for formulating inclusive economic and other policies. He said major chambers of commerce and industry of the country were sending budget proposals every year to the government, but most of them were not included in the final budget that was unfortunate.

He said the role of national assembly’s standing committees on commerce and textile, finance revenue and economic affairs, industry and production, energy and others was vital to make inclusive laws and policies and stressed that representative of business community should be called to the meetings of these standing committees so that they could present the voice of private sector in the law-making process. He said for inclusive economic policies and laws, government must ensure maximum participation of private sector in parliamentary hearing process and system.

Muhammad Naveed Senior Vice President and Nisar Mirza Vice President ICCI thanked the representatives of CRSS for organizing session on improving parliamentary hearing system and hoped that the suggestions given by the business community would be made part of final recommendations for the government. Baser Daud, Mehmood Ahmed Warraich, Khalid Chaudhry, Nasir Chaudhry, Ms. Nasira Ali, Dildar Abbasi, Abbas Hashmi and others also spoke at the occasion and provided useful feedback to bring improvements in the parliamentary hearing process.

Speaking at the occasion, Imtiaz Gul, Executive Director, Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) said that the foundational flaws and lacunas in the parliamentary hearing processes discouraged dialogue between the parliamentarians and the private sector representatives. Resultantly the inclusive policy making suffered as the private sector’s feedback for the potential economic reforms was not conveyed to policymakers which was contrary to the idea of inclusive democratic process.

He said CRSS has completed the preliminary research and received comprehensive feedback from the several legal experts to understand the concept of public hearing, the existing systems of public hearing in Pakistan, international best practices and the way forward.He said the CRSS would present its findings and collect more feedback to formulate the policy proposals for the government.

He assured that the proposals given by the business community would be made part of CRSS final recommend actions for the government. Tahir Hanif Parliamentary Consultant, Malik Mustafa Program Manager/Research Fellow and Saddam Hussain Research Fellow of CRSS also accompanied him at the occasion.

For more information, contact:
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI)
Chamber House, Aiwan-e-Sanat-o-Tijarat Road,
Mauve Area, G-8/1,
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +9251 225 0526, 2253145, 8432676
Fax: +9251 225 2950
Email: icci@brain.net.pk
Website: www.icci.com.pk

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Supreme Court of Pakistan plants a sapling in Supreme Court Garden

Islamabad, March 30, 2018 (PPI-OT): The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar alongwith other Hon’ble Judges ofSupreme Court planted a sapling of Chinar in Supreme Court garden Islamabad today i.e. 30.03.2018 on occasion of Spring plantation season.

For more information, contact:
Public Relations Officer
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Tel: +92 51 9204184, 9220581
Fax: +92 51 9213452
Email: mail@supremecourt.gov.pk

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Seminar on Web Based One Customs System held

Karachi, March 30, 2018 (PPI-OT): Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), sub-regional office, Hyderabad organised a seminar on WeBOC (Web Based One Customs developed by Pakistan Revenue Automation Ltd in 2011) on 29th March, 2018. Regional exporters and the representatives of trade bodies participated. The seminar aimed at enlightening the exporters about WeBOC system that is for filing Goods Declaration (GD) for import and export cargo. Mr. Fazl e Rabi, User Support Officer, PRAL gave an elaborate presentation covering WeBOC System, its salient features and future roadmap.

Since, this system, being online process, features paperless method. It improves ‘doing business’, reduces customs clearance and port dwell time, maximises revenue collection and shares WeBOC information with regulatory authorities concerned. WeBOC Coverage is currently extended to 54 locations. 80% import clearance and 83% export clearance are being processed through this system.

78213 users have been registered in WeBOC. It is also integrated with stakeholders, traders, terminal operators, freight forwarder and federal and provincial governments. It facilitates in examination and assessment process. Future roadmap includes 100% WeBOC coverage, up-gradation of WeBOC and National Single Window. Presentation was followed by question and answer session.

The exporters, Mr. Jaffar Abbasi, M/s Haji Ayoub Abbasi and Sons and Mr. Ahmed Hussain, M/s Saba Traders shared that the WeBOC registration is very simple, provided the required documents are complete. Mr. Khalid Malik, M/s Al-Hamd Apparel appreciated the automated system.Mr. Ziauddin, Vice-President, Chamber of Commerce, Hyderabad briefed that Dry Port Hyderabad is currently dormant. Goods Declaration is filed in Karachi; whereas, exporters of this region should have this facility here.

Mr. Kareem Adil, Deputy Collector, Customs, asked the exporters and traders to visit Customs office so as to discuss and resolve such issues. Mr. Imtiaz Qureshi, President, Dadu Chamber of Commerce, showed concern over having no banking channel with some countries, which hampers the trade. Mr. Ashiq Hussain Khoso, deputy director, TDAP, Hyderabad ensured to address the due concerns of the regional exporters and traders to the higher authorities and further added that Mr. Inamullah Khan Dharejo, secretary TDAP is immensely dedicated to facilitate the small traders to enter international market and to enhance exports to stabilise national economy.

For more information, contact:
Information and Communication Division
Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP)
3rd Floor, Block A, Finance and Trade Centre,
P. O. Box No. 1293, Shahrah-e-Faisal,
Karachi 75200, Pakistan
UAN: +92-21-111-444-111
Tel: +92-21-99206487-90, +92-21-99201526
Fax: +92-21-99206461, +92-21-99201526
Email: tdap@tdap.gov.pk, farooque.memon@tdap.gov.pk
Website: www.tdap.gov.pk

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