ED: M. M. ALAM
KARACHI: To mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Swiss Business Council (SBC) in Pakistan, the Consulate General of Switzerland here in collaboration with the SBC hosted an exclusive event at the Swiss Consul General’s residence.
Consul General and Patron of the SBC – Philippe Crevoisier addressing the ladies and gentlemen in the audience (consisting of diplomats, senior management of Swiss/other multinational companies, and leading businessmen) said that only if Pakistan was able to present to the international community the country’s on-ground realities and business potential, many more foreign investors would consider investing in Pakistani market.
Mentioning that Swiss-Pak bilateral trade (CHF 518.5 Million in 2017) was promisingly increasing for the past three years, the Consul General also commended SBC’s efforts to further improve commercial ties between the two friendly countries.
SBC President Farhat Ali, (who is also the Council’s founding President and Chairman of the Board and Executive Managing Director of Polygal N.V. in Pakistan) gave an overview of the Council’s achievements over the past decade most prominent of which is the Council’s partnership with Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE); equivalent of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and Board of Investment.
Farhat Ali further added that SBC with support from S-GE is committed to link Swiss and Pakistani companies. “Thanks to our business network at home and in Switzerland, in the past two years six small and medium-sized enterprises from Switzerland have successfully entered the local market”, he further added.
The highlight of the event was keynote address by the Dean and Director of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi – Dr. Farrukh Iqbal who presented his views on Pakistan’s macroeconomic matters in perspective of the challenges and opportunities for foreign investors.
Dr. Iqbal held: “Pakistan has performed below its growth potential for many years now. In particular, the private investment rate has been stuck at a low level of 10% of GDP for almost a quarter century now.
“This reflects a pessimism on the part of domestic investors that go beyond energy shortages and security conditions.
“Among factors to consider more deeply are the quantity and quality of education and health services available to the population to enable them to play a more productive role in the economy of the future.”
Swiss companies in the past ten years have invested CHF 1.5 Billion in Pakistan making Switzerland stand among top ten foreign director investors.
Major exports from Switzerland to Pakistan are pharmaceuticals, textile machines, and watches. Main Pakistani exports to Switzerland are textiles and agro-foods.
On the occasion, recognition certificates were also awarded to member companies who have completed 10 years with the Council.
Pak-Iran train service restores in Chaghi
CHAGHI: The Pakistan and Iran train services have been restored after completing the rescue activities here today.
According to the Railway sources, three days back the cargo train was de-tracked due to failing an engine resulting around 100 feet railway track was damaged in this incident.
After a hectic effort of the Railway department with several labor workers, the service of Railway reopened and track reconstructed in a short time period.
PRs Rwp Division earns Rs 1587m
RAWALPINDI: With continuous efforts and hard work of railways management, officers and workers, Pakistan Railways’ Rawalpindi Division earned over Rs 1587.960 million during last six months, 57.99 percent of total Rs 2738.285 million targets set for 2018-19.
Talking to APP Division Commercial Officer (DCO) Rawalpindi Hamid Farooq Qureshi informed that so many initiatives were taken by the management to improve the revenue of the Railways.
To a question he said, Pakistan Railways, Rawalpindi Division earned Rs 180.654 million through E-Ticketing facility during six months while during the 2017-18 financial year Rs 173.787 million revenue was generated.
The DCO informed that nearly three-year back the facility was re-launched in an effort to facilitate the passengers in booking their seats from anywhere in the country. Initially, the online system was introduced for the railways flagship train ‘Green Line Express’, besides five rail cars.
The E-ticketing facility is now available here for all passenger trains, he said adding, the online booking system has not only ended black marketing of tickets but also improved PR’s accounting system.
The PRs re-launched the E-ticketing system in collaboration with United Bank Limited. The passengers can pay for their tickets online via credit or debit cards, online bank transfers or microtransactions like UBL Omni, Easypaisa or Mobicash, he added.
With the digital ticketing system, the passengers can book and pay for tickets from the comfort of their home by using computers or mobile phones, he said. Moreover, the digital system has increased the seat capitalization for the railways and decrease chances of corruption.
Everything is being handled electronically so tickets can be booked quickly and efficiently with no human interaction, he replied to a question.
The division also completed a number of projects to improve security, upgrade its system and facilitate the passengers.
The DCO said the renovation projects of ladies and gents waiting rooms, toilets, booking office at Platform No. 1 & 2 of Rawalpindi Railway Station for Kohat Railcar passengers was completed during last financial year.
A construction project of Tarnol Railway Station with erecting new boundary wall and watch towers at Rawalpindi Railway Station, boundary wall with barbed wire fencing at Rawalpindi Railway Station approach road to ensure the security of the Railway Station was completed a few months ago.
Under a project, solar panels were installed at gate signals/lamps and station signals of the entire division, he said adding, no more procurement of Kerosene oil since last two years.
Rawalpindi Reservation office was completely renovated while major stations of the division were also upgraded. Seven un-manned Railway level crossings in the division were upgraded to Class-II manned level crossings on the main line.
He further informed that latest LED lights were installed to improve the lighting system in yards, stations, and Railway colonies. Security gadgets were provided to the Railway police and CCTV cameras were also installed at Rawalpindi Railway station to improve security arrangements.
State-of-the-art car parking and security system adopted with best arrangements made to facilitate the passengers and visitors at Rawalpindi Railway station, he informed.
Arab economic summit opens in Beirut
BEIRUT: An economic development summit kicked off in the Lebanese capital Beirut today.
Organized by the Arab League, the summit is attended by only three Arab leaders; Lebanon’s Michel Aoun, Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania.
Most Arab states are represented at the summit by delegations at the ambassadorial level. Syria, whose Arab League membership has been suspended since 2011, and Libya are not taking part in the meeting. The last Arab economic summit was held in the Saudi capital Riyadh in 2013.