Bussinessmen express joy over

increased tourists flow

ISLAMABAD (APP): The business community in Northern Areas, Galiyat and Murree have expressed joy over an increase in tourists flow in current summer season. During visit to various parts of Murree, the shopkeepers, restuarants owners and transporters talking to APP said that in current season tourists flow is more than previous year and they are doing good business due to rush of tourists. Muhammad Ashraf, a shopkeeper said that due to rush of tourists their business doubled in current season, adding that all the business community is happy over the rush of people in hill stations. An official Pakistan PTDC said that a large number of tourists are visiting hill stations like Murree and other northern areas in order to beat the heat. Murree, Ayubia, Nathiagaali, Swat valley and Naran and Kaghan have seen the largest number of visitors with the trend expected to continue. He further said that Kalam has seen the largest number of visitors, adding that the improved law and order situation has opened up Pakistan's northern hilly areas to domestic and foreign tourists.

A transporter plying to Murree from Faizabad bus terminal said that in current season more people are visiting hill stations with their families, adding that they are enjoying good business due to rush of people.

Official of PTDC said it was a good sign that the people were visiting tourists' points especially Murree, Naran, Ayubia, Swat, Gilgit and Skardu.



Fisheries export contributes $276.269m to national kitty

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan has exported around 103,277 tons of fish and fish preparations during first three quarters of last fiscal year which contributed $276.269 million foreign exchange to the national exchequer. The export of fish and fish preparations during same period of 2015-16 was 92,046 tons, amounting to $240.038 million. A data issued by Commerce Division on Sunday revealed that exports of fish and fish preparations have witnessed an increase by 12.2 percent in quantity and 15.09 percent in value during last year. The major buyers were China, Thailand, Malaysia, Middle East, Sri Lanka, Japan etc. The sources said fishery plays an important role in Pakistan's economy and is considered to be a source of livelihood for coastal inhabitants. Apart from marine fisheries, inland fisheries (based in rivers, lakes, ponds, dams etc) is also very important activity throughout the country. Fisheries' share in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 0.41 percent but has a value addition in export earnings.

During 2016-17 (July-March), total marine and inland fish production was estimated at 520,000 ton out of which 375,000 ton was marine production and remaining catch came from inland waters. Whereas, the production for period 2015-16 (July-March) was estimated to be 501,000 tons in which 368,000 tons was marine and remaining was produced by inland fishery sector.

The sources said that to improve fisheries sector a number of initiative were being taken by federal and provincial fisheries departments which included inter alia strengthening of extension services, introduction of new fishing methodologies, development of value added products, enhancement of per capita consumption of fish, and upgradation of socio-economic conditions of the fishermen's community.

The government also arranged training of around 2,455 fishermen and fisheries related personnel on different aspects to bring high quality products which fetch higher price in market. These trainings were also aimed at reducing post-harvest losses on board fishing vessels and were imparted on hygiene, deckhand, navigational electronic equipment, HACCP, modern fishing techniques etc.

Moreover, the sources said to enhance export of seafood products a model shrimp farm in District Thatta, Sindh has been established by Fisheries Development Board with funding from Export Development Fund (EDF) to enhance supply of raw material for seafood industry in Pakistan. They said in order to enhance seafood exports and curb smuggling of seafood to Afghanistan and other countries from Peshawar, four new development projects are being implemented.

These included establishment of Regional Office & Testing Laboratory of Marine Fisheries Department at Peshawar, establishment of Regional Office & Testing laboratories of Marine Fisheries Department at Gwadar, upgradation and Accreditation of Quality Control Laboratories for Environmental Contamination and reactivation of Hatchery Complex for Production of Fish and Shrimp Seeds.

The sources said under Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2015-18, matching grant of upto a maximum of Rs5 million for specified plant and machinery or specified items is provided to improve product design and encourage innovation in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and export sectors of leather, pharmaceutical and fisheries.

The EDF Board also approved Rs96 million for establishment of Pen Feh farm of sea bass and groupers along coastal belt of Sindh. The sources said after a period of about six years, the European Union (EU) allowed resumption of export of Fish & Fishery products from Pakistan to EU countries. It may be recalled that the fish processing plants were de-listed by EU. Two fish processing plants have been enlisted by EU and case of enlistment of five more processing plants is in process with EU.

They said to meet requirement of EU and other importing countries, two laboratories (ie Microbiology & Chemical) have been accredited from Pakistan National Accreditation Council. Moreover, the sources said to meet the requirement of EU and other importing countries, 2,000 fishing boats have been modified which is a success story for Pakistan.

The other initiative was that pursuant to requirement of EU and other importing countries, on Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP), guidelines have been prepared and distributed to 137 fish exporters/processors to ensure quality of seafood.





PCMEA felicitates new federal

commerce minister

LAHORE (APP): Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PCMEA) on Sunday congratulated Muhammad Pervaiz Malik for assuming the charge as Federal Minister for Commerce and Textile. Chaired by PCMEA VC Riaz Ahmed, the Association's meeting here welcomed the new minister’s assurance for taking all stakeholders on board regarding policy making to increase country's exports. The meeting discussed in details the carpet industry's problems, and ways to enhance exports. He said in the current scenario, practical measures were need to be taken immediately to resolve problems of the manufacturers and exporters, besides providing them with facilities and incentives. He hoped that the new  minister would not only maintain a constant liaison with all those people playing vital role in economic development but also give due importance to their suggestions. The meeting also suggested that commercial attaches in Pakistani missions abroad should also be activated to play an eminent role in marketing Pak products.

Exhibition of Pak textile and embroideries held at National Arts Gallery of Australia

ISLAMABAD (INP): An exhibition of pakistani textile and embroideries was organised by the Asian Arts Society, with the support of Pakistan High Commission, at the National Gallery of Australia on August 5, says a press release received here Sunday from Canberra. It was inaugurated by the High Commissioner for Pakistan, Naela Chohan. Speaking on the occasion, she thanked the Asian Arts Society for taking the excellent initiative of showcasing Pakistan’s rich history of textiles which dates back to 5000 years when Indus valley civilization was exporting its finest products to the Roman and Egyptian empires. She also highlighted the fact that embroideries are also manifestation of women empowerment in Pakistan since times immemorial. And we continue with this proud heritage. Pakistan is even today the world’s leading textile producer and exporter. She added that relations between Australia and Pakistan in other fields are on an upward trajectory and now there is a greater focus on cultural cooperation as well.

In this context, she informed the august gathering that Pakistan was already in negotiation with the National Gallery of Australia for further developing linkages in the field of art in the years ahead.

Many artists, members of the Asian Arts Society, senior government officials and art lovers in Canberra participated in the event and admired the arrestingly charming textile pieces on display.

The Asian Art Society, in collaboration with the High Commission will be publishing its next volume of the Asian Arts Society of Australia (TASSA) dedicated to Pakistan, for the first time. It will also coincide with the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of independence and establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Australia.