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Pakistan improves rank by 31 places on Trading Across...

January 12, 2021: In a major achievement towards ensuring ease of doing business, Pakistan has improved 31 positions, from 142nd to 111th, on the rank of Trading Across Border Index.

The aforesaid announcement was made by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR)’s spokesperson on an official Twitter account.  

FBR made trading across borders easier by focusing on three crucial areas. They include enhancing the integration of various agencies in the Web-Based One Customs electronic system; reducing the number of documents required for import/ export clearances and enhancing capacities of Customs officials for playing a proactive role in regulating border trade.

Climbing up the ladder in the Trading Across Border Index has enabled Pakistan in jumping up 28 places – from 136th to 108th – in World Bank's (WB)’s 'Ease of Doing Business 2020'.

This milestone has led Pakistan to be the sixth global reformer and first in South Asia that has brought ease in doing business for the national/international trade.

It is important to note that border facilitation is amongst the top priority areas as per the comprehensive policy laid down by the Government.

Concerted efforts by Pakistan Customs, under FBR, led to impressive performance in terms of compliance to the provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s Trade Facilitation Agreement; hence, complementing Pakistan’s rise in the Trading Across Border Index.

Pakistan Customs has pursued the implementation of effective customs controls so that compliant trade is thoroughly facilitated, while lesser / non-compliant trade is diverted to detailed scrutiny.

This strategy worked well, as conceived by Pakistan Customs, and has gone a long way in reducing the dwell time (at the borders/ports) for imports/exports in Pakistan by increasing the percentage of clearances through Green Channel

For instance, the time required for documentary compliance to effect exports has been reduced from 55 hours to 24 hours, and the time required for overall border compliance to effect exports has also been reduced from 75 hours to 24 hours.

Similarly, the time required for documentary compliance to effect imports has been reduced from 143 hours to 24 hours, and the time required for overall border compliance to effect imports has also been reduced from 120 hours to 24 hours.

In order to further improve Pakistan’s position in the Trading Across Border criterion, the Federal Board of Revenue is pursuing simultaneous completion of Regional Improvement of Border Services (RIBS) and Pakistan Single Window.

Regional Improvement of Border Services (RIBS) is being implemented at Torkham, Chaman, and Wahga and is the Flagship program that aims at improving border-crossing facilities which are key transit points to Afghanistan and India.

Pakistan Single Window, on the other hand, would integrate online at least 46 departments/agencies in Pakistan and would make trading across borders a hassle-free and seamless operation.



ECC to give approval for tax waiver on sugar...

January 12, 2021 (MLN): A meeting of the cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) is likely to give approval for the waiver of taxes on imports of sugar that will be held on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

To be presided over by Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the ECC meeting will have 14 items agenda from different ministries.

The meeting would take up the proposal of the Interior Ministry for approval of the Technical Supplementary Grant amounting to Rs 10 million within the sanctioned budget for the purchase of spare parts for Helicopter Maintenance by HQs Frontier Corps Baluchistan (North), Quetta during CFY2020-21.

The ECC would also consider expenditure for payment to Hired Solicitor for pursuing cases in the UK.

Meanwhile, the committee would also deliberate on the Planning, Development & Special Initiatives’ proposal of Technical Supplementary Grant amounting to Rs 16.63 billion. Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony has also forwarded its proposal for scaling up of Road to Makkah Project.

Furthermore, the ECC would discuss Textiles and Apparel Policy 2020-25 as well as the National Freight and Logistics Policy (NFLP). The summaries related to both policies were deferred in the last meeting for a comprehensive consultation with stakeholders.

The committee would also take up a proposal moved by Industries and Production for the transfer of allocation of funds to the PSDP project titled ‘1000 industrial Stitching Units’ through Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG).

The Ministry of Industries & Production has also proposed for the transfer of allocation of funds to another PSDP project titled ‘Establishment of 132KV Grid Station at Bin Qasim Industrial Park (BQIP) modified PC-I’ through TSG.

The committee would also discuss the report to the ECC of the cabinet in compliance with ECC’s decision dated 21-10-2020.

The summary moved by the Ministry of Finance on the Draft Policy on Equity Investment Abroad by Residents will also be discussed during the meeting. In addition, ECC would take up a summary of the Aviation Ministry with regards to financial charges of Roosevelt Hotel, New York.

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China, Hongkong and Netherlands emerge as top three investors...

January 19, 2020 (MLN): China emerged as the largest direct foreign investor in Pakistan during December 2020, with a net direct investment of $53.7 million, followed by Hongkong and United States who invested $30.9 million and $27.7 million net respectively, according to SBP data issued.

However, the country witnessed a negative FDI of $16 million net in the previous month as China and Norway withdrew $78.4 million and $55.8 million from the country respectively.

Cumulatively, during July-December FY21 the country attracted $952.6 million of net FDI, with China, Hongkong, and Netherlands appeared as the top three investors in Pakistan with net FDI of $358.9 million, $86.3 million, and $72.3 million respectively.

The FDI from China was 9% lower in July- December FY21, compared to the net inflows of $395.8 million in the same period of FY20. While the inflows from Hongkong were almost the same when compared to the inflows during Jul-Dec FY20. The inflows from the Netherlands jumped by 61% YoY compared to the net FDI of $45 million recorded during 6MFY20.

On the other hand, investors from Norway showed the largest disinvestment of $44 million during 6MFY21, however, during the corresponding period last year, the country invested $288.5 million as FDI.

Other important investors were the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), and Malta with a net FDI of $64.8 million, $63 million, and $55.9 million respectively. The Inflows from the US and UK surged by 47% and 8% YoY respectively when compared to Jul-Dec FY20 while the inflows from Malta recorded a decline of 50% YoY in 1HFY21.

Moreover, Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI), which represents an investment in the equity market has shown a negative picture, as net FPI outflows during the period under review stood at $438 million compared to the inflows of $471 million recorded in the same period last year. The UK emerged as the biggest withdrawal of portfolio investment during the period, as it withdrew $183.6 million during 6MFY21, followed by the US with $126.3 million.

Meanwhile, UAE appeared as the largest contributor in portfolio investment with $101.7 million.

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Hi-Tech Lubricants enters into agreement to sell and supply...

January 19, 2021 (MLN): Hi-Tech Lubricants Ltd. (HTL) and Hyundai Nishat Motor (Pvt.) Ltd. (HNMPL) through its After-Sales Department have entered into an agreement on January 18, 2021, for the Sale, Supply & Branding of ZIC Brand Lubricants to all the Authorized / Designated Dealers of HNMPL.

The aforementioned information was announced by HTL via Pakistan Stock Exchange.

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Pakistan witnesses Foreign Direct Investment of $193.6 million in...

January 19, 2021 (MLN): Pakistan welcomed Foreign Direct Investments of $193.6 million during the month of December 2020, after witnessing divestment of $16 million in November 2020.

According to the data compiled by the State Bank of Pakistan, FDI fell by 29.8% YoY to $952.6 million during 1HFY21, i.e. July to December, as compared to FDI of $1.35 billion reported in the corresponding period last year.

During the month of December, the Foreign Private Investment into the country amounted to $134.8 million, out of which, $193.6 million was attributed to Direct Investments, whereas disinvestment of $58.9 million was attributed to Equity Securities i.e. a part of Portfolio Investments.

Within the Direct Investments, there was an inflow of $246.7 million and an outflow of $53.1 million during the month.  

Under the Foreign Public Investment, $67.7 million worth of investment witnessed in debt securities during December 2020, showing a more than three-fold increase against the net inflows of $19.6 million in November 2020.

All in all, the Foreign Investments in Pakistan during the month amounted to $202.4 million, when compared to net outflows of $36.2 million recorded in November 2020.

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