Pakistan’s exports to EU improving

KARACHI (Online): Acting Ambassador of European Union (EU), Stefano Gatto says Pakistani trade and industrial community must focus on diversifying their exports to Europe. During his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he said Pakistan’s exports mainly included textiles and leather goods but efforts must be made to diversify the export-range to fully benefit from EU’s GSP-plus scheme. EU envoy said Pakistan needs to focus on strengthening its capacity to effectively compete in the international markets. Stefano Gatto noted that Pakistan’s exports to EU have been gradually improving after the grant of generalized scheme of preferences (GSP-plus) for 10 years which commenced from January 1, 2014 but after every two years, the 28-nation European block will assess whether Pakistan is fulfilling the conditions required to get duty-free access to European markets or not. The first assessment has begun and was currently underway which will be officially reported in January 2016, he added. Commenting on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said that if it goes well, the corridor can bring economic improvements and Pakistan will be able to play the role of a bridge between the Central Asian Republics (CARs).

Conference on agril innovations tomorrow

ISLAMABAD (APP): Two-day Agricultural Innovation Programme (AIP), Annual Conference 2015 on Agricultural Innovations for Improved Productivity and Economic Growth, would be held on August 24 (Monday). The event would be by World Vegetable Center in collaboration with Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), US Agency for International Development (USAID), International Maze and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), ILRI, IRRI, UC Davis University of California and AVRDC. The main objective of the event is to highlight the accomplishments of AIP in the form of new technologies and practices resulting from improved skills of the vast network of the farming community. The event would also provide an opportunity for public and private sectors linkages with the agriculture who have been organized, trained and mobilized by the programme. Besides, it would provide a common platform to exchange information, discuss opportunities, challenges and plans for future collaborations with the stakeholders. Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan would inaugurate the conference and highlight the steps taken by the government for the development of agri-sector of the country.

The minister would also unveil the future strategies of the government to bring the agri-sector as per international standards for making the sector more profitable by enhancing its exports. Meanwhile, high government officials, US Government Representatives, delegates from CIMMYT, ILRI, IRRI, UC Davis, ADVDC, Pakistani scientists and other stakeholders will attend the conference.

PBIF advocates automatic refund system

ISLAMABAD (INP): Refund mafia has shaken the foundations of country and all efforts to tackle the gang inflicting losses to the tunes of billions have failed and therefore government should automate the system, a leading business leader said. Automatic refunds would eliminate refund mafia, end delay in payments, trigger exports and may help trading community protesting withholding tax on bank transactions, said President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain. He demanded immediate legislation and installation of software which automatically process the refund claims and transfer money in the account of exporter within seven days of export. He said that if transactions through credit or debit card can be updated within seconds, the same can be applied in refunds. Many countries have a system in place where the customer of train or bus gets refund deposited in his bank account and he is notified through SMS if arrival is delayed. Mian Zahid Hussain said that refunds worth over one hundred billion have stuck in FBR since long discouraging exporters. RTOs have issued Refund Payment Orders in many cases but FBR is reluctant to release cheques which is against the law of payment within one week that has pushed many exporters to the wall.

Liquidity problem has taken toll on export sector where many have no option but to get costly credit from market to fulfil commitments. He noted that business community is asked to pay all the taxes in time but they are not paid back for long which has shattered the investment climate. The culture of flying invoices and fake refunds must be eliminated on all costs, he asserted.