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Swiss Business Council completes 10 years in Pakistan!

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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.

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Economy

Railways asks fed,, provincial depts to pay dues

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Trains' punctuality improved by 90%

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Railways has written a letter to different departments of federal and provincial governments to pay Rs 2715.41 million on account of freight and level crossing maintenance charges.

While giving details, an official in Ministry of Railways told APP that Railways has an outstanding amount of Rs 945.009 million against departments of the federal government while Rs 1770.401 million against provincial government departments.
He said departments including Defence has to pay Rs 831.082 million on account of freight and level crossing maintenance charges, National Highway Rs 55.464 million of level crossing and maintenance authority charges, Postal Rs 19.994 million of land charges, Post Master General Rs 17.055 million of freight charges, State Bank of Pakistan Rs 12.799 million of freight charges and Controller General of Accounts, Islamabad Rs 8.615 million of pension share.
The provincial departments who have outstanding amounts include Food, Communication and Works, Irrigation, Police and Local Government and Community Development (Municipalities TMAs, TMOs etc, he added.
He said that Railways has to receive Rs 371.490 million from different departments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Rs 1228.872 from Punjab, Rs 146.208 million of Sindh and Rs 23.831 million from Balochistan government departments.
The official said that the provincial government departments have to pay outstanding amount on account of the level crossing and maintenance charges, passion share, and land charges.
To a question, he said Railway Reservation counter is provided in the Parliament House during Assembly Session. The counter becomes functional two days before commencement of Assembly Session.
This counter is functional since 1980. First, it was at the State Bank Auditorium in Islamabad which functioned as National Assembly of Pakistan. It has been shifted to the present Parliament House Building when it was inaugurated on May 1986, he added.

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Economy

Rearing chickens at Govt. farms

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MULTAN: About 30,000 desi poultry birds are being reared at a local government poultry farm and the poultry units, each comprising five hens and a cock, will be given to masses on subsided prices, in February 2019.
The livestock department has started seeking applications from citizens, said Poultry Development Officer Dr. Salma Naaz while talking to APP here.
She said the provision of poultry units would enable masses to have additional income. She remarked that citizens interest and queries related to Desi poultry birds, was on increase for a few days as she received a number of phone calls from citizens.
She informed that 11 government poultry farms were operating across the province. Among them, two poultry farms serve as breeding farms and issue poultry birds to citizens as well as other government poultry farms.
After every three months, a new flock of desi poultry bird is being prepared for the promotion of the poultry at the government farms. Every poultry bird of government farm is properly vaccinated and there is no chance of catching up any disease, she added.
She said that citizens would have to pay Rs 1200 for each poultry unit, comprising five hens and a cock. She maintained that market price of such poultry birds was over Rs 2400.
She stated that poor farmers should focus on desi poultry for gaining good economic returns. A desi hen used to lay at least 220 eggs in a year and price of each egg is almost double as compared to market eggs. However, eggs are sold with respect to grading 35 gram, 60 gram, and 70-gram eggs.
It is very easy for farmers to rear desi poultry birds, she said, adding that bits of bread, remains of cuisines, spinach, wheat, rice, maize etc should be given to birds. The commodities are easily available in every home. Children and women farmers can also nurture desi poultry without any labor, she said.
Dr. Salma Naaz further said that farmers could sell desi chicks, after breeding the eggs. The breeding process is also very easy as they could put eggs in an incubator or under a hen for a period of 21 days. The price of each chick is about Rs 50.
She remarked that desi poultry should be kept under lights for at least 16 hours/day in order to obtain maximum eggs. The eggs laying hormones stimulates in daylight or artificial lights. So, farmers should install electricity bulbs at poultry accommodation.
Dr. Salma suggested that students should adopt poultry keeping as a hobby. It would help them managing not only pocket money but also expenses on education, she said.
Minor level focus on poultry is sufficient for poultry rearing and it would not hurt their educational activities, she claimed.
She informed that she knew many citizens who started the business of desi poultry and earned huge amount in south Punjab.

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Govt working to bring reforms in FBR: Dawood

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RAWALPINDI: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, and Industries Abdul Razzak Dawood has said that the government had finalized the five-year national tariff policy to bring down tariffs on raw material and machinery imports for export-based industries.
“We are working to rationalize certain taxes, regulatory and custom duties. There are roughly 34 different taxes and we are planning to shrink them to 12 or eight in the next couple of years. This will help us to meet the challenge of one core impediment in ease of doing business and I know business community suffered a lot on multiple fronts with respect to tax slabs and tariff lines.”
Addressing the “Emerging Pakistan“ ceremony organized by the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) at Jinnah Convention Center Islamabad, Razzak Dawood said the government in its first 100 days had kicked off reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and done a major shift in its working. “We have decided to take policy matters from the FBR,” and now the Finance Ministry would formalize the policy in consultation with key stakeholders, including the business community and chamber of commerce, he emphasized.
He appreciated RCCI efforts in promoting business activities in the region through exhibitions and assured his cooperation in fulfilling their demands of converting the old airport building into a modern expo center and provision of grid station to RCCI’s Rawat Industrial Estate. He expressed the hope that in next 30 days the people would see a genuine change on the economy side as “we have done major shuffling in policy matters pertaining to taxation, exports, refunds, regulatory and custom duties and incentives to the business community with respect to ease of doing business.” World-renowned companies including Exxon Mobil, Pepsi, and Suzuki had pledged more investment in Pakistan, he added.

 

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