EU Holds Business Forum to Enhance Pakistani SMEs Access to European Markets

The European Union (EU) organized the EU Pakistan Business Forum for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) on Wednesday as a part of its efforts to support Pakistani SMEs to access opportunities in the European Single Market and maximize the benefit of GS…

The European Union (EU) organized the EU Pakistan Business Forum for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) on Wednesday as a part of its efforts to support Pakistani SMEs to access opportunities in the European Single Market and maximize the benefit of GSP+ scheme.

The event was attended by representatives of the government of Pakistan, EU member states, and local SMEs from four broad sectors – fans, auto parts, light engineering, rice, fruits, and dairy, sports, and surgical goods, hosiery, garments, value-added textile, and leather. The government representatives included CEO Small and Medium Enterprise Authority (SMEDA), Hashim Raza, and CEO Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT), Erfa Iqbal.

Speakers focused on the importance of SMEs and their role in value addition. The participants were informed how SMEs could benefit from the EU’s GSP+ scheme, providing two-thirds of tariff lines duty-free access to the EU market with the rest on preferential duties.

The EU-Pakistan Business Forum aimed to provide opportunities for both EU and Pakistani businesses to work together to become engines of development and partnership and contribute to enhancing bilateral trade.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Pakistani economy consists of almost 3.3 million SMEs. These consist of service providers, manufacturing units, and start-ups. SMEs make up over 30% of Pakistan’s GDP, account for approximately 25% of export generation, and provide over 70% industrial employment. While in the EU, Europe’s 25 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the EU economy. SMEs provide two out of three industrial jobs in the EU.

The Business Forum aimed to play a key role in bringing together SME’s from the EU and Pakistan to enhance their export orientation, collaboration in technology transfer, and promotion of businesses.

EU Ambassador to Pakistan, Androulla Kaminara, said,

In Lahore, we have managed to bring together SMEs working in diverse sectors from across Punjab. This diverse range of products, which are covered under GSP+, represent a huge opportunity for Pakistani SMEs to allow them to fully benefit from GSP+ boost trade and strengthen bilateraltrade for a prosperous Pakistan. Through this forum, we are trying to help create linkages between EU and Pakistani SMEs to understand their challenges and help overcome them – with a particular focus on technology transfer. With the strong involvement of the business community today and continued engagement with the Government, through the EU-Pakistan Business Forum we hope to develop initiatives, build capacity and provide technical assistance to support the SME development process in Pakistan. I remain confident that together we can expand the benefit of GSP+ boost trade and ultimately allow Pakistan to take full advantage of GSP+.

The final event of the First EU Pakistan Business Forum will be held in Karachi next month.

Source: Pro Pakistani

PSX Market Capitalization Plummets Below $50 Billion

Getting down unabatedly, the market capitalization of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) stands below $50 billion these days due to various macroeconomic factors that have been affected by domestic and international indicators.This was stated by Managin…

Getting down unabatedly, the market capitalization of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) stands below $50 billion these days due to various macroeconomic factors that have been affected by domestic and international indicators.

This was stated by Managing Director, Farrukh H. Khan, while talking to a delegation of business journalists who met him from the platform of the Council of Economic and Energy Journalists (CEEJ).

He noted that the uncertain situation of neighboring Afghanistan, depreciation of Rupee against Dollar, and hike in international petroleum and commodities prices had badly shaken the confidence of local and foreign investors and had negatively impacted the trading of the equity market in the last few weeks.

The market capitalization of the PSX dropped to below $100 billion in recent times and unfortunately declined its listing in the emerging market index — a major blow to its standing among the global equity markets, he said. However, he added, PSX maintains its potential in terms of profitability when it is compared to the returns of the regional stock markets.

Farrukh mentioned that PSX’s average returns remained at 19 percent per annum in the last 20 years which was considered a good performance benchmark.

MD PSX suggested the equity traders should shift their investment pattern from short-term to long-term for the stability of the PSX and its trading scenario. The government should continue the exemption of tax credit for listed companies which will encourage private companies to be part of the equity market leading towards the speedy documentation of the country’s economy, he underlined. He said that newly listed companies of PSX could avail of the 25% tax exemption for the first two years and 10% for the next two years.

Farrukh said that the masses should be given awareness about equity trading in Pakistan, and the role of CEEJ and the media was vital in this regard.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Over 2.2 Million People Have Submitted Tax Returns Until Now

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has collected income tax of Rs 41.895 billion up till October 12, 2021, while a total of 2.213 million income tax returns have been filed for the tax year 2021 so far.Official sources told ProPakistani that the FBR h…

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has collected income tax of Rs 41.895 billion up till October 12, 2021, while a total of 2.213 million income tax returns have been filed for the tax year 2021 so far.

Official sources told ProPakistani that the FBR has collected Rs. 41.397 billion through 2.190 million income tax returns filed till October 11.

Data released a couple of weeks ago showed that the FBR has already surpassed its tax collection target of Rs. 1.21 trillion set for the first quarter of the fiscal year (FY) 2021-2022. It collected a total of Rs. 1391 billion worth of taxes in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, which shows a growth of 38 percent year-over-year.

The FBR extended the deadline for filing of returns from 30 September to 15 October due to technical difficulties.

Pakistan and the International Monetary Funds are currently holding in-person discussions on the country’s financial and revenue collection performance. The IMF has proposed raising the FBR’s annual tax target for the current fiscal year to $6.3 trillion from $5.8 trillion.

The FBR recently announced that it could now freeze taxpayers’ bank accounts without any prior approval of the chairman of the board and without informing the account owners before.

A few days ago, the board also announced that it was developing a sales tax portal that would allow individuals to file unified goods and services tax returns.

In addition, the board said that it would initiate disciplinary proceedings against inquiry officers who failed to submit reports against corrupt tax officials within the given deadline.

Source: Pro Pakistani

IMF Raises GDP Growth Rate Projection for Pakistan

International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected the GDP growth rate for Pakistan at 4 percent for 2022 against 3.9 percent in 2021.The IMF World Economic Outlook (WEO) report “Recovery during pandemic health concerns, supply disruptions, and price pres…

International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected the GDP growth rate for Pakistan at 4 percent for 2022 against 3.9 percent in 2021.

The IMF World Economic Outlook (WEO) report “Recovery during pandemic health concerns, supply disruptions, and price pressures”, projected the unemployment ratio for Pakistan at 4.8 percent for 2021 compared to 5 percent in 2021.

The Fund has projected an inflation rate at 8.5 percent for 2022 against 8.9 percent in 2021. However, the report has projected consumer prices for the end of the period of 2022 at 9.2 percent against 9.7 percent in 2021. The current account balance is projected at a negative 3.1 percent for 2022 compared to a negative 0.6 percent for 2021.

The global economy is projected to grow 5.9 percent in 2021 and 4.9 percent in 2022, 0.1 percentage points lower for 2021 than in the July forecast. The downward revision for 2021 reflects a downgrade for advanced economies —in part due to supply disruptions — and for low-income developing countries, largely due to worsening pandemic dynamics. This is partially offset by stronger near-term prospects among some commodity-exporting emerging markets and developing economies.

The rapid spread of Delta and the threat of new variants have increased uncertainty about how quickly the pandemic can be overcome. Policy choices have become more difficult, with limited room to maneuver, the report noted.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Suzuki’s Sales Decline as PAMA Members Report Increase in Car Sales for September

The Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) has revealed that the car industry has observed a slight increase in its monthly sales with an aggregate of 22,235 vehicles sold in September.According to the PAMA sales data for September 2021, …

The Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) has revealed that the car industry has observed a slight increase in its monthly sales with an aggregate of 22,235 vehicles sold in September.

According to the PAMA sales data for September 2021, the PAMA member manufacturers namely, Pak Suzuki Motor Company (PSMC), Toyota Indus Motor Company (IMC), Honda Atlas Cars Limited (HACL), and Hyundai Nishat Motors sold a total of 22,235 vehicles in September, taking a month-on-month (MoM) increase of two percent and a year-on-year (YoY) increase of 59 percent in sales.

Last month, Toyota IMC sold 6,292 units, recording an MoM increase of 12 percent and a YoY increase of 44 percent in car sales. PSMC sold 11,188 units, observing an MoM decrease of seven percent and a YoY increase of 72 percent in vehicle sales.

Honda Atlas and Hyundai Nishat both witnessed an increase in their sales. Honda, having sold 3,635 vehicles in September, has observed an MoM increase of 13 percent and a YoY increase of 34 percent. Hyundai Nishat, on the other hand, sold 964 vehicles, witnessing an MoM increase of 35 percent and a YoY increase of 205 percent in sales.

Other automakers such as Kia Lucky Motors, MG JW SEZ, Master Changan Motors, Regal Motors, Al-Haj Proton, United Motors, Haval, etc. are not yet members of PAMA. Hence, their sales data is not available for public review.

The sales figures of some of the popular cars in Pakistan during September are as follows:

The global chip shortage is pummeling the automotive industry around the globe with Pakistan no longer being an exception. Several carmakers including PSMC, Kia Lucky Motors, and Hyundai Nishat, among others, had to suspend the bookings of their vehicles on account of chip shortage and other supply chain issues.

Car prices are expected to go up in the near future due to these issues. It will be interesting to see if the ongoing issues impact car sales and demand in coming days and months.

Source: Pro Pakistani

FGEHA Shelves Thallian Housing Scheme as Contractor Withdraws

The members of the Thallian Housing Scheme, Islamabad, will be accommodated in other projects, as the scheme has been shelved because the project contractor has withdrawn from the joint venture agreement.This was revealed during the 16th meeting of the…

The members of the Thallian Housing Scheme, Islamabad, will be accommodated in other projects, as the scheme has been shelved because the project contractor has withdrawn from the joint venture agreement.

This was revealed during the 16th meeting of the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Housing and Works held under the Chairmanship of Engr. Muhammad Najeeb Haroon at the Parliament House on Tuesday.

The committee was informed by Director General Federal Government Employees Housing Authority (FGEHA) that the housing scheme planned for Thallian, Islamabad, was disbanded, as the contractor, M/s K.S. Developers and Builders (Pvt.) Ltd. had stepped back from the project agreement. He, however, assured the members of the said project would be accommodated in the ensuing schemes.

The committee expressed concerns over the disbandment of the scheme by FGEHA, commenting that the members might “get a heart attack” on this disclosure.

Subsequently, the committee directed the DG FGEHA to provide to it the details of the bank accounts, along with the volume of funds generated on account of the fee charged from the members of different projects and the volume of interest accrued thereupon.

The DG FGEHA informed the NA panel that the physical progress of the projects inaugurated by the Prime Minister in Islamabad and Rawalpindi was up to the mark. “Hopefully, the apartments will be handed over to the allottees within the stipulated period of time,” he asserted. He said these projects were likely to face escalation in the expenditure due to the unprecedented hike in the rates of steel and cement in the country. To this, the committee urged the Authority to evolve a policy to not transfer the escalation charges to the allottees.

The CEO Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) apprised the committee of the project being undertaken by PHA in Quetta under the umbrella of the Naya Pakistan Housing Program and said the project would be completed within the due course of time. The committee directed the CEO to ensure smooth handing over of apartments to their real allottees.

The committee expressed dismay over the bad state of affairs at Qasr-e-Naz Karachi, Chamba House Lahore, and other federal government hostels in Quetta and Peshawar. It constituted a sub-committee comprising four MNAs with a mandate to look into this issue and suggest remedial measures for making improvements in such precious government properties.

Besides the Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Works, the meeting was attended by MNAs Mehboob Shah, Malik Anwar Taj, Malik Karamat Ali Khokhar, Ch. Javed Iqbal Warraich, Zille Huma, Wajiha Qamar, Salahuddin, Muhammad Junaid Anwar Chaudhary, Tahira Aurangzeb, Seema Mohiuddin Jameeli, Abid Hussain Bhayo, Syed Agha Rafiullah, and Syed Mehmood Shah. Senior officers of the Ministry of Housing and Works, FGEHA, and Estate Office were also present in the meeting.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Prime Minister Stresses Coordinated Efforts to Develop Pakistan’s Mineral Sector

Prime Minister Imran Khan stated on Monday that the mineral sector of Pakistan held a huge potential, as it offered a good return on investment and could contribute to the overall economic growth of the country.Chairing a high-level meeting on the mine…

Prime Minister Imran Khan stated on Monday that the mineral sector of Pakistan held a huge potential, as it offered a good return on investment and could contribute to the overall economic growth of the country.

Chairing a high-level meeting on the mineral development framework, the Prime Minister emphasized that a coordinated effort by the federal and provincial governments was required to beef up the steps being taken for the development of minerals.

A focal person, he directed, must be appointed at the earliest to play a bridge between the federal and provincial governments and supervise the implementation of the mineral development framework. He underlined that the models, adopted at the international level, should be studied to learn lessons and enhance the capacity of indigenous human resources to be employed for mineral development. The goals and targets of the mineral development framework be completed within their allocated timelines, he stressed.

Earlier, Federal Secretary Petroleum briefed the meeting on the strategic plan for mineral development. The meeting participants were informed that the mineral sector, at present, contributed less than 1% to the GDP, and the implementation of the strategic plan, categorized into short, medium, and long-term targets, would enhance the share of minerals to 10% over the next 15 years.

The Secretary Petroleum explained that the plan consisted of harmonizing the federal and provincial efforts, enhancing the technical outreach, helping database development, providing fiscal incentives, training indigenous human resources, and developing a legal framework.

The meeting was attended by Federal Ministers, Shaukat Fayaz Tarin, Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Asad Umar, Advisor on Commerce, Abdul Razaq Dawood, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication, Dr. Shehbaz Gill, Director General Frontier Works Organization, and senior federal and provincial officers.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia Agree to Further Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation

H.E. Nawaf Bin Said Al-Malki, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, at the Finance Division today.Both sides discussed matters pertaining to mutual interest and agreed to further strengthen e…

H.E. Nawaf Bin Said Al-Malki, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, at the Finance Division today.

Both sides discussed matters pertaining to mutual interest and agreed to further strengthen economic and business ties between the two countries.

While extending a warm welcome, the Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin, highlighted that Saudi Arabia has always supported Pakistan, and the bilateral ties are rooted in centuries-old religious, cultural, and commercial links between the people of both countries.

Moreover, a large number of Pakistani expatriates are working in different fields and are a great asset to the country. The overseas Pakistanis play a pivotal role in our economy through remittances, the minister added.

The Finance Minister further apprised the Ambassador about the potential for increased collaboration between the two countries in the areas of agriculture and food security.

The Saudi Ambassador stated that Saudi Arabia is opening up to foreign investments and stressed the need for an increase in mutual investments in different fields.

Source: Pro Pakistani