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KCCI seeks notification carrying July 1 as implementation date...

KARACHI: President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Junaid Esmail Makda has requested Advisor to PM for Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood to instruct relevant department to inform all concerned about the implementation date of SRO 237(I)/2019 i.e. July 1, 2019 to prevent blockage of clearance of pending consignments and direct the Ministry of Commerce & Textile (Commerce Division) to issue necessary amendment in the SRO stating the effective date as 1st July’2019.

In a statement issued, President KCCI stated that SRO 237, which has been finalized and implemented without any consultation with the business community and other stakeholders, was not acceptable in its present state and it has to be reviewed in consultation with all stakeholders.

Referring to a letter sent to PM’s Advisor and the discussions held with Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli about the implementation of SRO 237(I)/ 2019 dated February 19, 2019, President KCCI said that although the PM’s Advisor clarified that the said SRO will be implemented from July 1, 2019 but no notification carrying the exact date of implementation has been issued so far which has created a confusing situation and resulted in blockade of containers at the ports which is totally contrary to government’s resolve towards the ease of doing business.

He demanded that the losses suffered by importers on account of demurrage and detention due to the confusion must be waived off to provide some relief to perturbed traders who have been constantly approaching KCCI to seek assistance. “It is a matter of grave concern that Customs Authorities remain confined to SRO 237 and were not paying any attention to the hardships being faced by traders hence, the Ministry of Commerce must issue the clarification about the implementation date so that SRO 237 is not misused to create problems for traders”, he added.

He said that since the effective date of 1st July’2019 was not mentioned in the SRO.237, in legal terms date of issue has been interpreted as the effective date, and customs officials at various levels have held the clearance of cargo on pretext of seeking clarification from FBR which led to delays and resulted in raising the costs of demurrage and detention to the importers.

He was of the opinion that the implementation of said SRO from July 1, 2019 has provided sufficient time period of more than three months to foreign manufacturers of food stuffs to comply with recent amendments in the Import Policy Order 2016.

According to SRO 237, it has been made mandatory that the ingredients and details of the imported food products (e.g. nutritional facts, usage instructions etc.) shall be printed in Urdu and English languages on consumer packaging while the logo of Halal certification body shall also be printed on the consumer packaging and the labelling shall not be in the form of a sticker, overprinting, stamp or scratched label. Moreover, the importers have been further advised that the shipment shall be accompanied by a Halal Certificate issued by Halal Certification Body, accredited with an Accrediting Body which is a member of International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF) or Standard Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries.

Hastening Pace Of Gwadar’s Development is a Top Priority

Gwadar, March 25, 2019: Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar said that fastracking development of Gwadar is a top priority of the incumbent government in order to ensure inclusive development in Gwadar.

He expressed these views during his one day visit to Gwadar on Monday. He was flanked by Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal, Commander Southern Command Lt. General Aasim Saleem Bajwa and officials from Federal and Provincial Governments.

The Federal Minister visited Gwadar Port, Free Zone and sites of different development projects including new Gwadar Airport.

He also chaired meetings to overview preparation for Gwadar Expo 2019 planned on 28 and 29th of this month and resolve issues of local community.
 
On the occasion, Minister said that hastening development of Gwadar is a top priority of the present government. Following this policy,  construction work on number of projects including new Gwadar Airport, hospital and vocational institute is commencing soon.  
 
A transmission line project is being implemented in order to link up Makran Coast with national grid, Minister informed.

 He announced that Zhob-Quetta Section of Western Route would hit the ground in the coming days that would help to uplift less developed region of Balochistan and KP.    

Minister was of the view that Balochistan remained under developed and was ignored in past; however, present government has prioritized development of this region to ensure inclusiveness.

Mr. Bakhtyar assured that all the issues of local community would be resolved on priority, providing them chances to take benefits of the opportunities.  

"Participation of the local community would be made to ensure meaningful development in this coastal region" Minister remarked.  
 
Project of vocational training is commencing soon which would help local youth to equip themselves with latest technical skills.

Youth has to revolutionized traditional professions like fisheries with the help of modern education and technologies, he added.

Pakistan Forex Reserves rise to $ 17.58 bn on...

KARACHI, Mar 25: Pakistan on Monday received dollars 2.2 billion from China and now total foreign exchanges reserves of the country have risen to dollars 17.58 billion.

According to the figures released by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the forex with SBP surged to $ 10.67 billion and the net foreign reserves held by Commercial Banks amounted to $ 6.91 billion.

 

(APP)

Macroeconomic stabilization steps start yielding: SBP

The State Bank of Pakistan today released its Second Quarterly Report on The State of Pakistan’s Economy for FY19.

As stated by the report, the effects of macroeconomic stabilization measures taken since December 2017 started to unfold as the economy moved into the second quarter of FY19. More specifically, monetary tightening along with exchange rate adjustments, reduction in development expenditures of the federal government and regulatory measures helped contain domestic demand, which is visible from a marked slowdown in imports.

This together with deceleration in external demand, underperformance of major kharif crops, and moderation in the fixed investment loans, let to notable deceleration in economic activity. Meanwhile, inflation continued to increase, mainly due to cost-push factors and some persistence in underlying demand pressures.

According to the report, average headline CPI inflation rose to 6.5 percent during Q2-FY19 – the highest quarterly inflation since Q1-FY15, when global crude oil prices were around US$ 100 per barrel. This trajectory was largely dictated by its core component, non-food non-energy (NFNE), which further gathered momentum as the pass-through of exchange rate depreciation and second round impact of high oil price accentuated its already elevated level.

Moreover, the report highlighted that the fiscal deficit continued to stay high despite a sharp cut in development spending since the beginning of FY19 and is undermining the efforts to contain domestic demand. While revenue collection declined, current expenditures increased.

Regarding the external sector, the report observed that there was an improvement in the current account deficit due to decline in imports and a marked increase in workers’ remittances during the review period.  However, exports were generally affected by a slowdown in international demand.  Also, net financial inflows were lower than last year, leading to a drop in SBP’s FX reserves.

The report contains a special section which evaluates the fiscal burden of state-owned enterprises in the power sector.  Recommended measures include a move towards more effective, apolitical collection process; investment in the transmission and distribution network; and creation of a national level consensus towards the formulation of a coherent energy sector policy.

The report features another special section on the importance of human capital in the context of CPEC.  The analysis takes stock of the country’s existing human capital and the employment opportunities set to arise in the near future as CPEC enters its next phase focusing on industrial special economic zones and agriculture.  It then assesses just how prepared the domestic workforce is to capitalize on these opportunities, and provides a roadmap to address the associated skill-deficit.

In the big picture, the report underscores the need to step up investments in human capital and technology. This will boost productivity and increase exportability of the country’s goods, services and skilled labor, and allow it to generate FX in a sustainable manner.

PM hints at discovery of Asia’s largest oil and...

March 25, 2019: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday hinted towards a possible discovery of Asia’s largest oil and gas reserves in Karachi’s offshore waters. He backed this statement by announcing that the nation would be hearing a ‘major news’ within the next three weeks.

“Just pray that our hopes and expectations from the offshore drilling being carried out by ExxonMobil-led consortium prove to be true” he said.  

The PM said that if the offshore exploration process turns out to be successful, it could bring about an enormous change in Pakistan’s fortunes.

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