OTTAWA: Canada’s Conservative leader and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s main rival in upcoming elections pledged Friday to balance the government’s budget within five years, backtracking on a previous target.
An average of several recent polls gives the Tories a six percentage point lead over the Liberals ahead of the October ballot.
Andrew Scheer previously vowed that balancing the budget could be done within two years, but now claims “Trudeau has made an even bigger mess of the budget than I thought possible.
“And he has made the job of cleaning it up that much more difficult,” he said in a speech to the Canadian Club in Vancouver.
Canada’s economy surged after the Liberals took office in 2015 and unleashed a massive stimulus. But growth is forecast to slow this year.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau in his March budget pointed to 900,000 new jobs created since 2015 and the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years.
The government’s fiscal deficit, however, is projected to balloon to Can$19.8 billion (US$14.7 billion) — after Trudeau abandoned his 2015 pledge to run a few small deficits and return to balance this year.
Still, Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio is lower than its G7 counterparts and is expected to fall over the coming years from the current 30.7 percent.
Scheer said, “even the most optimistic projections don’t have the Liberals balancing the budget for 20 more years.”
“But if Canadians elect a Conservative government this fall, we will balance the budget in about a quarter of that time,” he said.
Pakistan eyes trade opportunities at China expo
KUNMING (China): Pakistani business community is highlighting the country’s trade potential by showcasing its products at an ongoing week-long expo in Chinese Yunnan province for availing future opportunities under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Being held at Dianchi International Convention and Exhibition Center in capital city of Kunming, from June 12 to 18, the South and Southeast Asia Commodity Expo and Investment Fair (SSACEIF) is attracting the trade and business community from across and beyond the region, wherein various government and private entities have displayed their products to enhance their customer base.
Around 200 stalls set up by Pakistani business community were attracting thousands of the visitors taking interest in Pakistani products including textiles, jewelry, leather products, cultural and traditional handicrafts.
The objective of the expo was to highlight Yunnan’s key role in the President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative under which Pakistan was also undertaking a flagship project of CPEC. Yunnan is the gateway to Southeast and South Asia.
The inaugural ceremony was attended among others by President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Engineer Daroo Khan Achakzai, Deputy Mayor of Islamabad Syed Zeeshan Naqvi and renowned businessmen and media representatives.
The expo featured six major exhibition areas with 17 pavilions and around 74,000 booths set up by the business entities and international organizations from 74 countries.
The expo has attracted more than 3,300 entrepreneurs from home and abroad. Among the participating enterprises, nearly half were overseas.
Talking to APP’s Special Correspondent A J Zekria at the venue of the expo, Islamabad Deputy Mayor Zeeshan Naqvi said the expo would not only help highlight the trade and investment potential of Pakistan but also strengthen economic ties with the regional countries particularly China.
He said as Pakistan was fast executing CPEC, it was high time the country introduced its products in international markets to attract investment besides learning from success stories of other countries.
The seven-day event also marked the holding of the 2nd China-South Asia Cooperation Forum and China-South Asia Media Forum at Yuxi resort city, the 14th China-South Asia Business Forum and 7th China South Asia Southeast Asia Think Tank Forum.
President of FPCCI Engineer Daroo Khan Achakzai while addressing the 14th China-South Asia Business Forum and the 2nd China South Asia Cooperation Forum organized by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Yunnan Council in Kunming, said Pakistan’s business community perceived China as a time-tested friend and a very important partner in its economic development.
The involvement of Chinese enterprises, both in terms of technical and financial assistance in several projects of Pakistan is reflective of the cordial relations based on mutual interest, unstinting confidence, and sincerity.
Engr Daroo Khan Achakzai while addressing the forum said Pakistan was a viable and most favorable nation for foreign investment and the foreign investors could enjoy the benefits of Pakistan’s business-friendly policies.
He said China-South Asia Business Forum provided an opportunity to South Asian countries to cooperate and collaborate for joint ventures and market their products as the event was being attended by around 4,000 companies from 74 countries.
He told the audience that industrial zones being established adjacent to CPEC route would provide an opportunity to all the participating countries to improve their competitiveness and export their products to Africa and Middle East Region at a lower cost.
Addressing the media forum at Yuxi, Consul General of Pakistan at Chengdu Muhammad Mudassir Tipu said in economic development, media could become a key partner of the state, government, civil society, and private sector.
Highlighting CPEC projects, he said the Chinese government had invested nearly $62 billion for infrastructure development of Pakistan.
He said through enhanced participation of senior Pakistani journalists in the forum, millions of people in Pakistan would know about the fast development of Yunnan and the opportunities being created there to deepen its relations with Pakistan, Southeast, and South Asia.
He said business and tourism prospects of Yunnan province possessed greater attraction for Pakistanis which needed to be highlighted through media.
Vice President of China Federation of Internet Societies and President of Xinhuanet Tian Shubin noted that South Asia and China were home to 40 percent of the world’s total population which required robust representation at the international media fora through close cooperation and innovations in the media sector.
Through use of social media and modern technology gadgets, modern-day challenges could be countered, he opined.
Speaking on ‘integrating innovation and creating new prospects of connectivity,’ Hassan Shahzad, a senior journalist from Pakistan, said the power of media laid in its capability to adapt to the system of governance in which it worked. China and Pakistan had different systems of governance but one of their commonalities was their vibrant media mechanism.
He said infrastructure connectivity was going to enhance innovation. The BRI could prove to be an inclusive club of nations by keeping their individual cultural and ideological uniqueness. Being open and trustworthy could remove barriers to innovations and sharing of ideas, he added.
Yasir Rehman, an anchorperson from Pakistan Television, while highlighting the significance of the media forum said instead of indulging into the differences, media should create a harmonious environment through highlighting the commonalities among the nations.
ADB to conduct feasibilities for AMI, ABC cables in PESCO, HESCO, SEPCO
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Energy (Power Division) has said that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreed to conduct feasibilities in the different electricity distribution companies of the country for installation of smart (AMI) meters and Aerial Bundle Cables (ABC) to reduce losses of the companies.
This was decided during a meeting between Federal Minister for Power and Petroleum Omar Ayub Khan and ABD Director General for Central and West Asia Werner Liepach, a statement issued by the ministry here said on Friday.
The feasibilities for installation of smart AMI meters and ABC cables would be conducted in Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO), Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) and Sukkur Electric Power Company (SEPCO).
The ADB was also ready to negotiate to introduce smart metering infrastructure in the gas sector to make it more efficient and reduce its losses, the statement added.
Mr.Werner Liepach appreciated the recent development in the Power sector and expressed the commitment of ADB for extending its support to the sector in its various fields.
He informed the minister that the ADB was providing its assistance to the various entities in the energy sector and had initiated many projects in that regard.
Omar Ayub Khan expressed his gratitude for the continued support and provision of assistance to various entities in the Energy Sector. He said that directions had already been given to all the entities to bring in international standards of transparency and quality in their projects to make them more beneficial for both the government and people of the country.
The minister said that he would conduct twice a month review meetings on the progress of projects initiated with the assistance of ADB to ensure their timely completion, besides removal of all bottlenecks.
ABD Country Director Pakistan Xiaohong Yang and other senior officials of Power Division and ADB also attended the meeting.
Earlier, the ADB was already undertaking million dollars AMI project in IESCO and LESCO.
SC directs mineral water companies to pay tax on water
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has today directed the mineral water and beverage companies to pay government taxes over extracting underground water for sale purposes.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the duo motto case.
The court also sought a copy of legislation regarding the use of underground water.
During the course of proceedings, Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that except Sindh all three provinces Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan had submitted their reports regarding extraction and use of underground water.
He remarked that the Sindh government did not submit proposals yet while the federal government had only submitted the notification.
Advocate General Islamabad said that as many as 42 meters were installed in the federal capital.
He said that the federal cabinet would approve the legal draft after completion of the budget session in the parliament.
Advocate General Punjab said that the provincial government had suggested imposing one rupee tax per liter on service stations and five-star hotels.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the court had formed the committee to save water not to punish anyone.
The court directed that all industries pay tax on water usage and
adjourned hearing of the case for two weeks.
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