Tag Archives: All Pakistan Business Forum

APBF Wants Strong Reforms for External Stability as Budget Deficit Reaches 2.3% of GDP

APBF Wants Strong Reforms for External Stability as Budget Deficit Reaches 2.3% of GDP


admin | category: News

APBF wants strong reforms for external stability as budget deficit reaches 2.3% of GDP. APBF: As the country’s budget deficit has reached 2.3% of Gross Domestic Product during July-Nov of fiscal year 2017-18, the All Pakistan Business Forum has stated that the government is deviating from the path of fiscal discipline mainly due to heavy cost of domestic and foreign debt servicing.

APBF President Ibrahim Qureshi said the figures negate the federal government’s claim of reversing the trend of the last fiscal year when the budget deficit peaked to a record high of Rs. 1.86 trillion.

He said that the budget deficit and the current account deficit have become the biggest challenge for the economy, overshadowing the government’s economic performance in other areas. Because of these twin deficits, there are apprehensions that Pakistan might go back to the IMF for yet another bailout package, APBF leader warned.

He said that government should undertake strong reforms to maintain external stability, ensuring debt sustainability and supporting higher economic growth by containing the budget deficit.

He said the present trend shows that the annual budget deficit target of 4.1% of GDP approved by the parliament in June last year has now become unrealistic in just five months due to rising spending on debt servicing, forcing the country to go for more borrowing from the international market.

According to State bank of Pakistan (SBP), the country’s total external debt servicing stood at $2.09 billion during the first quarter of FY18. On principal side, external debt servicing under public debt stood at over $900 million, some $32 million on Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) guaranteed debt, $53 million on PSEs non-guaranteed debt and around $ 50 million on private non-guaranteed debt. Around $670 million were paid on account of short-term debt servicing. Debt servicing on account of interest includes over $30 million to the IMF, $8 million to Paris Club and $90 million of multilaterals.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that country’s total external debt servicing exceeded $ 2 billion mark during the first quarter of current fiscal year. The decline in the SBP reserves also reflects lower inflows and higher foreign payments. The overall gap between expenditures and incomes has widened to Rs.826 billion during the July-Nov despite the fact that all provinces showed Rs. 150 billion as cash surplus during this period.

He said that the main reason behind this budget deficit is ballooning debt servicing repayments. The domestic and foreign debt servicing has increased to around Rs627 billion during July through November of the current fiscal year.

APBF chief said that the government’s growing reliance on short-term domestic and foreign borrowings has significantly increased the debt servicing cost. The 7% rupee devaluation during last one year would also increase the government’s cost of external debt servicing.

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APBF Rejects Mini-Budget Declared Through Additional Duties

APBF Rejects Mini-Budget Declared Through Additional Duties


Sumera Saeed | category: Business

APBF Rejects Mini-Budget Declared Through Additional Duties. The All Pakistan Business Forum has rejected the imposition of additional regulatory duty on import, saying the government neither can impose any duty nor enhance taxes without the approval of the parliament. The regulatory duty was imposed by the government on 797 items including industry raw material without taking the business community on board who are the real stakeholders.

APBF president Ibrahim Qureshi said that this is not the right way to curtail trade deficit, rather it is just a mini-budget announced in half way of the financial year.

He said that the government should not have enhanced the import duty on industry raw material and inputs for manufacturing of local products as it would cause further dip in exports due to rise in production cost.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that the APBF had been calling for consultation before imposition of such duty but authorities did not bother to approach the stakeholders in this regard and imposed the decision unilaterally. He said that imposition of additional regulatory duty on various essentials is nothing else but to encourage smuggling of goods like chemicals and tyres that is already damaging the economic base of the country.

He said that additional regulatory duty will increase the prices of even necessary raw materials and other essentials for the trade and industry. He said that the APBF always supports reduction of luxurious item’s imports but also demands that imports of those raw materials and goods should not be hampered that are not being manufactured in the country.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that the decision shows lack of planning on the part of the policy-makers, creating problems for business activities and putting extra burden on the masses.

He said the additional regulatory duty on several eatable items including fruits and vegetables would increase import bill, widening trade deficit further instead of controlling import.

Terming it an unwise decision, which would unleash a new wave of inflation in the country, he said the move will affect growth of business activities.

APBF president said that the rising trade deficit poses one of the most serious challenges for the government, as the last fiscal year saw the trade deficit rise to an all-time high of $32.58 billion, representing year-on-year growth of 37%. When the government came to power in 2013, the country’s annual trade deficit was $20.44 billion. It has been continuously on the rise since then.

Imports recorded a growth of 37% to $4.84b in July from $3.54b a year ago. The overall import bill rose 18.7% to $53 billion for 2016-17 but overall exports fell 1.63% to $20.45 billion in 2016-17.

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APBF

Increase in FDI reflects improvement in security situation: APBF


Sumera Saeed | category: Business

As The All Pakistan Business Forum has said that increase in Foreign Direct Investment in FY17 reflects the improvement in security situation, implying that investors had started coming back to Pakistan, as the country has attracted FDI of $ 2.4 billion, up by 4.6 percent during 2016-17.

According to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), after a very long time FDI has shown an upward trend and rose by 4.6 percent during last fiscal year.

The country fetched $2.41 FDI during July-June of FY17 compared to $2.305 billion in the same period of last fiscal year, depicting an increase of $105.6 million. During the period, FDI inflows were less than FY16, however lower outflow posted some increase in the overall FDI. Net FDI inflows stood at $2.813 billion against the outflow of $403 million in FY17.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that country’s liberal policies of investment offered one of the most attractive investment regimes in the region. He said that Pakistan’s trade with European Union has also increased substantively after the grant of GSP+ status to Pakistan.

APBF president appreciated the government’s resolve to meet the challenges faced by Pakistan in European markets vigorously, suggesting it should devise strategies to promote Pakistani products. He called upon the trade officers to take advantage of opportunities offered by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and growth in Pakistan’s national economy made possible by the strengthening of democratic institutions and improvement of the security situation in Pakistan.

Quoting the figures of Central Bank, he said that China topped the contributors to FDI as its investment accounted for about 50 percent. Major inflows were received from Netherlands, Turkey, France and UK during July-June of FY17. China’s total investment in Pakistan stood at $1.23 billion, including $1.186 billion FDI and $48.4 billion Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) during FY17.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that despite some increase in foreign investment, the FDI inflows were not sufficient to fully offset the widening in the current account gap. As a result, the country’s liquid foreign exchange reserves declined over $ 1.7 billion during FY17. According to SBP during the period, portfolio investment witnessed downward trend and declined by 66 percent.

APBF president Ibrahim Qureshi said that only political will and drastic steps can revive the economy, which should have grown significantly and constantly for visible impact. He advocated the need for raising the country’s tax base so that tax-to-GDP ratio improves from current 9%.

Besides governance challenges, adverse security perception, political instability and the foreign trade offices role is also vital for the continuity of enhancement in foreign investment, he concluded.

Sundar-Industrial-Estate

APBF congratulates Asif Tipoo elected as President & Maaz Mahmood as VP of Sundar Industrial Estate


Sumera Saeed | category: Business

The ‘All Pakistan Business Forum’ (APBF) has officially congratulated its National Board members – Mr. Asif Tipoo and Mr. Syed Maaz Mahmood, who have been recently appointed as the President and Vice-President of the Management-Board of the Sundar Industrial Estate in Lahore.

The APBF officials extended best wishes and expressed their confidence that both these distinguished members have exceptional competence and managerial acumen, to successfully execute their responsibilities as the President and Vice-President, to take the Sundar Industrial Estate to new heights of performance and progress.

The President of APBF – Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi stated that;

”Mr. Asif Tipoo and Syed Maaz Mahmood will prove to be valuable contributors to the Board of Management at Sundar Industrial Estate. The Board has expressed its trust in the leadership qualities of these highly accomplished members of the APBF. We are confident that they will expand the vision and lead the Estate to new milestones of robust performance to achieve ambitious objectives.”

The All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) is a vibrant business association which promotes and protects the interests of the business community and industry. It also suggests and advises the Government sector, regarding policy formulation, regulatory realignments and implementation in the commercial and industrial sectors of the economy. APBF has been consistently playing a positive role in elevation of standards and facilitation of business activity in Pakistan.

Pak-rupee

Rupee depreciation inflicts great loss to economy


Sumera Saeed | category: Business

As the recent local currency depreciation has inflicted great loss to the national economy and cost of deals done by the businessmen with their foreign counterparts have jumped manifold, the All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) has urged the government to control surge of dollar against rupee,.

APBF president Ibrahim Qureshi observed that the widening current account deficit, excessive government borrowing, absence of foreign flows increasing oil imports and lack of foreign investment are the vital reasons for the sudden depreciation of Pak rupee.

Pakistan’s rupee was overvalued by at least 20 percent and has a negative impact on the country’s exports. The local currency last week dropped the most in nine years amid rumours of devaluation due to surging trade deficit and shrinking exports of the country. The rupee hit its lowest level since 2013 by shedding value of more than 3 per cent to 108.1 against the US dollar. The country’s economy came under severe pressure due to surging trade deficit on the back of falling exports and a sharp increase in the import bill.

The trade deficit soared 42 per cent to an all-time high of $30 billion in first 11 months of financial year 2016-17. In May, trade deficit surged 61 percent to $3.465 billion, according to the latest data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. The import bill during July-May 2017 period rose 20.6 percent to $48.54 billion. It is expected to reach over $53 billion this fiscal year. In the 11 months through May, the export dropped from $19.14 billion a year ago to $18.54 billion, putting pressure on the currency.

APBF president said that the devaluation always pushed inflation on higher side and made the common life miserable in past and this seems to be going happen again.

The APBF president observed that causes of depreciation of a currency are multiple which in combination push and pull the respective currency’s quotation in conjunction with other currency. If there is more demand for dollars in Pakistan than the supply, rupee would depreciate. So, the government should take steps to commence trade between Pakistan and China in local currencies with special emphasis on greater Chinese investment in Pakistan’s lagging value-addition economic activities for making meaningful improvement in bilateral trade balance, he added.

He feared that if notice of the situation was not taken immediately, rupee would go further down within next few days, as demand of dollars may be created by importers requiring more dollars to pay for, foreigners withdrawing their investments and taking the dollars outside.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that actions of the government are not new and nothing is different of what was happening in past governments as only faces have been and no strategy or solid plan is seen for restructuring of the institutions.

APBF

Current Export Portfolio Marred By Lack of Diversification: APBF


Sumera Saeed | category: Business

The All Pakistan Business Forum president Ibrahim Qureshi has stated that a National Export Growth Strategy with ownership at the highest level and full commitment from the government is essential to control decline in export in the short term, transforming the export sector structurally in the long-term.

He said that the Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2015-18 has already identified the focus products and focus markets, which can help turn around exports in the short term.

He said that the current export portfolio is marred by a lack of diversification, as few products are exported by some exporters to limited markets. So, a major enhancement in exports requires huge and wide structural reforms.

He urged the government to take business community on board, who are the real stakeholders, in preparing policies to enhance exports so that fast widening trade deficit could be reduced, which is prerequisite for economic growth.

He suggested the relevant government departments to join heads with the private sector for finding out a methodology for increasing the exports of the country.

International image building is the need of the hour with complete overhauling of TDAP, besides formation of new trade specific export promotion agencies having independent budgets and policies.  He said that though energy shortage and law and order kept the economy hostage during the last many years, the government has a clear vision on the economic issues, which would help resolve their problems at the earliest.

He said that a quick turnaround can come from increasing competiveness of the existing export base and demand-led production of agricultural products, especially high value agriculture products.

The long-term strategy needs structural reforms of the entire export sector, including high tech and innovative products, value-added exports commodities and market diversification towards unexplored markets like South America and Africa.

APBF president urged the government that all stakeholders be taken on board while preparing industry-related policies, and asserted that industrial estates be exempted from loadshedding of electricity to meet the local market and export targets, which are presently facing loadshedding of 10 hours.

He asked the government to get input from the private sector on policies and encourage public private partnership to stimulate various government organizations. He also expressed concern over undue interference of Social Security Department, EOBI and Labor Departments and pointed out that tax refund claims were unduly delayed. Calling for establishment of more technical institutions, he said existing technical institutions were not competing the fast growing population of the country.

He said if the government fails to respond to private sector’s call, the economy will continue to slide ultimately resulting in closure of industry and trade.

jobs

No Concrete Measures for Job Creation in Budget: APBF


Sumera Saeed | category: Jobs

All Pakistan Business Forum president Ibrahim Qureshi has said that Pakistan needs 2.5 million jobs annually but the government has taken concrete measures neither in federal nor in Punjab budgets for job creations for the unemployed youth.

Commenting on the 2017-18 federal and Punjab budgets, he termed it a bubble budget, apparently feeling good but does not contain substance.

He condemned the economic manager’s calculator approach in finalizing the budget, which focused more on revenue collection and less on the fulfillment of its major objective of giving a long-term direction to the economy. This budget shows the failure of the Federal Board of Revenue as the reduction of taxpayers in active taxpayers list clearly indicates the failure of the govt, he added.

Terming the federal budget as a number game with no incentives for industry and more privileges for few sectors, he said that government is non-serious to explore new venues for revenue generation and no efforts had been taken to plug revenue leakages amounting in billions. He criticized the Federal Board of Revenue for failing in broadening of tax base. The government instead of generating revenue from direct taxes showed its intention to collect revenue through withholding tax. Moreover, the government after increasing the tax rate for non-filers had admitted its failure to implement the concept of filer and non-filer introduced in the last budget.

He also opposed the Punjab government for slapping duty on internet services. He said internet had now become a necessity for every sector of the economy, whether its agriculture, healthcare, education or SMEs. He said that small size businesses have also a monthly bill of more than Rs1,500. Making broadband expensive will have a very negative impact on the overall economy, as taxing broadband is like raising petrol prices, which affects every sector of the economy, he added. Ibrahim Qureshi said that like the previous governments, this one too has refrained from bringing big fishes into the tax net or even taking measures to prevent major tax evasions. The government attempted to squeeze the neck of old taxpayers instead of taking efforts to bring new taxpayers into tax net.

He blasted the authorities for not keeping its focus on resolving the energy crisis and allocating sufficient funds for the construction of big reservoirs including Kalabagh Dam in budget. He said that policymakers would have to address the concerns of the public since they suffer the most as a result of the power crisis. Ibrahim Qureshi questioned the claims of the government regarding reduction in unemployment, improvement in per capita income and improved energy situation.

The government is opening up the Pakistan economy to imports. While lower duty on raw materials and inputs is needed, but duty free imports of machinery will result in huge spending of scarce foreign exchange and jobs creations abroad, and no jobs for Pakistanis.

Ibrahim Qureshi regretted that no corrective action has been announced in the budget to increase direct taxation and more emphasis has been laid on indirect taxation.

APBF-and-TVET

APBF joins hands for Advisory Forum on TVET established in Punjab to improve Public and Private Sector partnership


Sumera Saeed | category: Business

Better employable skills and improved Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) is only possible through active involvement of private sector and close collaboration with public sector; leading towards economic prosperity.This opinion was developed in the first meeting of the Punjab TVET Advisory Forum,organized here on Thursday.

The forum was organized by the TVET Reform Support Programme, which is funded by the European Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Royal Norwegian Embassy, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in close collaboration with the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) as well as provincial Technical Education and Vocational Training Authorities (TEVTAs) and private sector organizations.

The forum will serve as a platform for the stakeholders from public and private sectors to improve collaboration through advocacy & awareness, provide strategic guidance regarding the implementation of the TVET reform, discuss policy issues and make the recommendations for improvements of the TVET sector. Participants agreed on the constitution of the forum as well as the terms of reference and showed interest in the scope having such forum in-place.

Mr. Hans LudwigBruns, Head of Programme TVET Reform Support Programme while opening the session shared the outcomes achieved in the first phase of TVET Reform Support Programme and shared a detailed prospect of the second phase of the Programme.

Office bearers and senior representatives from All Pakistan Business Forum, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot; Punjab Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority, Pakistan Vocational Training Council, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority, Pakistan Board of Technical Education, Trade Testing Board and Associations of Footwear, Automotive, Freight Forwarders and other organizations participated in in the forum. They supported the idea of formation of forum, which will help in advocating the implementation of National Vocational Qualifications Framework (NVQF) and reform in TVET sector. The participants termed it as a key landmark achieved for the economic development goals of the province. Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi President APBF appreciated the need of such provincial forum to have a better working coordination on TVET between public & private sector.

The working of the forum will be facilitated through a joint secretariat representing both the public and private sectors. The Punjab TEVTA, PVTC, PBTE, TTB will be part of the secretariat, as representing the public sector, while All Pakistan Business Forum, which is a private sector body, will represent the private sector along with other relevant stakeholders.The TVET Reform Support Programme will facilitate the coordination of the secretariat.

The forum will envisage advocacy to promote paradigm shift of the traditional methods of training and vocational education to Competency Based Training & Assessment (CBT&A); where Recognition of the Prior Learning (RPL) will also help in promoting the validation of skilled workers from informal sector.

For further details on TVET Reforms visit www.tvetreform.org.pk

power-outages

APBF protest against return of massive power outages


Sumera Saeed | category: News

(APBF May 09th, 2017) – LAHORE – All Pakistan Business Forum President Ibrahim Qureshi has strongly protested against the return of massive power outages, which was crippling business activities across the country.

After rise in temperature the demand and supply gap has touched almost 6,500MW mainly due to the closure of old power plants at Guddu. In the same way, some units of Hubco and Nandipur were also closed, while power plants at the newly-inducted Bhikki and Haveli Bahadur Shah are still out of the system despite commitments of the government.

He called upon the government to resolve the matter, as the SMEs, which are not connected to industrial feeders, were presently facing up to 8-hour loadshedding while industrial feeders were also facing tripping issues in power supply. Like several other commitments, the government has failed to meet its promise of mitigating load shedding in commercial hubs and zero-loadshedding on industrial feeders, he added.

He stated that there was a huge gap between demand and supply of power. The ongoing power projects in the country would take some time for their commercial operation. Therefore, there was a dire need to take emergency steps in this regard, he suggested.

APBF president proposed that all available options should be utilized, such as restoring idle power projects and encouraging the industrial sector to operationalise their available captive power capacity to mitigate power shortages in the country.

Ibrahim Qureshi suggested that generating power through solar system should also be examined as such projects can be made operational in few months.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that the electricity load shedding has once again kicked up gear, reaching to around 8 to 10 hours in the provincial capital, as total power generation has declined mainly due to mismanagement of the government.

He said billions of rupees have been spent on Nandipur power plant just to accelerate the work on this project but unfortunately it didn’t happen mainly due to of lack of monitoring and inefficiency of the government. The APBF president said that WAPDA has an army of workforce but when it comes to the implementation of important projects, its efficiency is zero, as it failed to play the role of a good monitor.

He urged the government to evolve a new strategy to exploit hydel resources in shortest possible time. “The government claimed to end power outages for industrial sector but constant increase in energy demand continues to hit the businesses. Pakistan is one of those countries where water scarcity is intensifying with every passing day,” he added.

The APBF president lamented that annually, 35 million-acre feet water was being wasted in the sea despite the fact that this water could be used for irrigation and generation of cheap hydel power. Keeping in view the ongoing scenario, he said large dams were necessary, not only for storage of surface water, which is major component for agriculture, but also for generation of hydroelectricity, which is the cheapest and cleanest form of energy.

APBF for strengthening economic gains to reap benefits of CPEC

APBF for strengthening economic gains to reap benefits of CPEC


Sumera Saeed | category: Business

APBF for strengthening economic gains to reap benefits of CPEC

With a view to consolidate the economic gains amid significant improvement in domestic security the All Pakistan Business Forum has recommended the government to keep on fixing major growth constraints to reap the potential benefits of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

APBF president Ibrahim Qureshi said that only drastic steps can revive the economy, which should be grown significantly and constantly for visible impact, asking the authorities to take continued efforts, as CPEC is going to be a major opportunity to boost growth and development. The project could also be important to eliminate energy deficit, which had slowed down the economic growth in the country in past.

He stressed the need for continued economic reforms with a view to achieve high growth target as more regulations in system require an enabling environment to promote business and attract foreign investment.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that FDI improvement reflects the improvement in security situation, implying that investors had started coming back to Pakistan. Moreover, country’s liberal policies of investment offered one of the most attractive investment regimes in the region. He said that Pakistan’s trade with European Union has increased substantively after the grant of GSP+ status to Pakistan.

He urged the commerce ministry to explore opportunities to diversify exports of goods and services in their respective areas, suggesting it to devise strategies to promote Pakistani products. He called upon trade officers to take advantage of opportunities offered by China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and growth in Pakistan’s national economy made possible by strengthening of democratic institutions and improvement of security situation in Pakistan.

Quoting the report of the Asian Development Bank 2017, he stated that Pakistan gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to edge up to 5.2 per cent in FY17, and 5.5pc in FY18.

According to the report, higher growth in fiscal year 2017-18 reflects accelerated infrastructure investment through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is steadily lifting consumer and investors’ confidence.

This outlook for Pakistan is supported by better security, macroeconomic stability, and improved economic fundamentals resulting from the continued implementation of government reforms.

He said that the IMF has also forecast 5 percent economic growth for 2017, which could improve to 6 percent in the medium term with CPEC-related investments, improved energy supplies and continued reforms.

APBF president also urged the authorities to strengthen export-oriented and manufacturing industries through smooth energy supplies, since a number of issues in the fiscal, external and energy sectors could affect the economic stability achieved so far.

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Governor Punjab inaugurates “Ease of Doing Business Conference” by APBF

Governor Punjab inaugurates “Ease of Doing Business Conference” by APBF


Sumera Saeed | category: Business

Governor Punjab inaugurates “Ease of Doing Business Conference” by APBF

The ‘All Pakistan Business Forum’ (APBF) successfully concluded a conference on “Ease of Doing Business in Pakistan”. The Conference was held at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore, where more than 250 distinguished entrepreneurs, along with regulators, industrial experts and diplomats shared their insights, ideas and knowledge. High level representation of the academia and Media was also seen. The conference promoted a positive image of Pakistan as a destination of choice for global investors.
Governor Punjab – Mr. Rafique Rajwana was the Chief Guest during the first sessions, while the second session was enriched by the personal presence of the Federal Minister of Industries – Mr. Khurram Dastagir Khan. Several Ambassadors and senior Diplomats also attended the forum as Guests of Honor, while the learned speakers discussed critical topics, with the aim to devise an effective roadmap for Pakistan’s brighter future.

The most prominent speakers at the forum were: The US Consul General in Lahore – His Excellency Yuriy R. Fedkiw and Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan – H.E. Mr. Jean-Francois Cautain. Other distinguished speakers included: Telenor’s Chief of Corporate Affairs and Strategy – Muhammad Aslam Hayat, to discuss the Telecom Sector in Pakistan.

The President of APBF – Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi presented the concept of this conference and stated that: We are thankful for the enthusiastic participation of so many industrial leaders and regulatory experts in this insightful forum. This event will go a long way in meeting the key objectives of APBF, as we strive to promote and protect the interests of the business community, besides suggesting industrial reforms to the policy-makers.

The General Secretary of APBF – Mr. Maaz Mahmood also delivered a welcome note for the delegates. The Team Leader of “TVET Reform Support Programme” – Muhammed Ali Khan discussed the crucial topic of Human Resource Development. The Rector of the University of Management & Technology (UMT) – Hassan Shoaib Murad highlighted the steps to develop a more effective educational system and Academic institutions. The Manufacturing sector was discussed by the CEO of Kansai Paints – Agha zafar Abbas and the Chairman of Ruba SEZ & Haier Group – Faisal Afridi. The performance of the Textile Chemicals Industry was analyzed by the Managing Director of BEZEMA- CHT Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd. – Haroon Ali Khan.

The Grievance Commissioner for businesses – ‘Federal Ombudsman’ for Overseas Pakistanis – Hafiz Ahsan Ahmad Khokhar also addressed the forum. The Supply Chain Management sector was discussed by Amir Munir – the Chief Operating Officer of ‘CEI Supply Chain Pvt Ltd/ DB Schenker. The Retail Sector was covered by Anis Iqbal Sheikh – Chief Executive Officer of Al Fateh Shopping Mall.

The President of Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry – Wang Zihai talked about the Opportunities and Challenges emerging with the ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ project. The CEO of NETSOL Technologies – Saleem Ghaui spoke about the development of ‘Informantion & Communications Technologies. The Country Lead of Monsanto Pakistan – Aamir Mahmood Mirza, along with the CEO of Alico Tech Pvt Ltd – Asim Shahzad Sheikh discussed the progress of the Agricultural Sector.

The Panelists of an insightful discussion included: Ambassador of Hungary – Istvan Szabo, Ambassador of Bosnia – Dr. Nedim Makarevic, CEO of Alyph Music – Noor Fatima, along with Rashid Mehr – CEO of TUV Austria – Bureau of Certification, Manzoor ul Haq Malik – Regional Chairman of FPCCI, Asif Rafique Rajwana – CEO of Leads Tech, Qaisar Nadeem – from the Punjab Youth Workforce Development Project, Dr Saman Yazdani Khan – Director of the Centre for Health & Population Studies and Advocate Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali – President of Lahore High Court Bar Association.

Another discussion by a panel of experts featured; Ms. Uzma Manzar – Chief Executive of Platform, Carlos Morales – the Ambassador of Spain, Shehryar Tahir – the Deputy GM External Affairs at SMEDA, Rizwan Khalid Butt – Chairman of Punjab Industrial Estate & Mgmt Company, Asif Ali Tipoo – Chief Executive of Hoest, SVP Sundar Industrial Estate, the Principal of Kinnaird College for Women, Abdul Basit President LCCI – Abdul Basit and the CEO of Footlib – Wasim Zakaria.

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Governor Punjab to chair the “Ease of Doing Business Conference” on 5th April

Governor Punjab to chair the “Ease of Doing Business Conference” on 5th April


Sumera Saeed | category: Business

Governor Punjab to chair the “Ease of Doing Business Conference” on 5th April.

The All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) is organizing a conference on “Ease of Doing Business in Pakistan”. The forum will be held on the 5th of April, 2017 at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore. More than 250 distinguished entrepreneurs, along with regulators, industrial experts and diplomats will share their knowledge. High level representation of the academia and Media is also expected, to portray a positive image of Pakistan as a destination of choice for global investors.
The Chief Guests during the two insightful sessions will be the Governor Punjab – Mr. Rafique Rajwana and the Federal Minister of Industries – Mr. Khurram Dastagir Khan. Several Ambassadors and senior Diplomats are also expected to attend the forum as Guests of Honor. The speakers will discuss critical topics, with the aim to devise an effective roadmap for a brighter future.
The most prominent speakers at the forum will be: The US Consul General in Lahore – His Excellency Yuriy R. Fedkiw and Ambassador of the European Union to Pakitan – H.E. Mr. Jean-Francois Cautain as the ‘Guests of Honor’. Other distinguished speakers will include: Telenor’s Chief of Corporate Affairs and Strategy – Muhammad Aslam Hayat, to discuss the Telecom Sector in Pakistan. The President of APBF – Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi will present the Concept and objectives of this Conference.

The Team Leader of “TVET Reform Support Programme” – Muhammed Ali Khan will discuss Human Resource Development. The Rector of the University of Management & Technology (UMT) – Hassan Shoaib Murad will highlight the development of Academic Education. The Manufacturing sector will be discussed by the CEO of Kansai Paints – Agha zafar Abbas and the Chairman of Ruba SEZ & Haier Group – Faisal Afridi. The Textile Chemicals Industry will be discussed by the Managing Director of BEZEMA- CHT Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd. – Haroon Ali Khan.

The Grievance Commissioner for businesses at the Federal Ombudsman for Overseas Pakistanis – Hafiz Ahsan Ahmad Khokhar will also address the forum. The Supply Chain Management sector will be discussed by Amir Munir – the Chief Operating Officer of ‘CEI Supply Chain Pvt Ltd/ DB Schenker. The Retail Sector will be covered by Anis Iqbal Sheikh – Chief Executive Officer of Al Fateh Shopping Mall.

The President of Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry – Wang Zihai will talk about the Opportunities and Challenges emerging from the ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ project. The CEO of NETSOL Technologies – Saleem Ghaui will speak on the development of ‘Information & Communications Technologies. The Country Lead of Monsanto Pakistan – Aamir Mahmood Mirza, along with the CEO of Alico Tech Pvt Ltd – Asim Shahzad Sheikh will discuss the Agricultural Sector.

The Panelists for an insightful discussion will include: Ambassador of Hungary – Istvan Szabo, Ambassador of Bosnia – Dr. Nedim Makarevic, CEO of Alyph Music – Noor Fatima, along with Rashid Mehr – CEO of TUV Austria – Bureau of Certification, Manzoor ul Haq Malik – Regional Chairman of FPCCI, Asif Rafique Rajwana – CEO of Leads Tech, Qaisar Nadeem – from the Punjab Youth Workforce Development Project, Dr Saman Yazdani Khan – Director of the Centre for Health & Population Studies and Advocate Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali – President of Lahore High Court Bar Association.

Another discussion by a panel of experts will feature; Ms. Uzma Manzar – Chief Executive of Platform, Carlos Morales – the Ambassador of Spain, Shehryar Tahir – the Deputy GM External Affairs at SMEDA, Rizwan Khalid Butt – Chairman of Punjab Industrial Estate & Mgmt Company, Asif Ali Tipoo – Chief Executive of Hoest, SVP Sundar Industrial Estate, the Principal of Kinnaird College for Women, Abdul Basit President LCCI – Abdul Basit and the CEO of Footlib – Wasim Zakaria.

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APBF for reducing tax ratio to keep fuel prices stable

APBF for reducing tax ratio to keep fuel prices stable


Sumera Saeed | category: News

APBF for reducing tax ratio to keep fuel prices stable

The All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) has criticized the government for increasing fuel prices and termed it bad news for the country’s economy, as two weeks after the rate hike, the government on March 1 increased fuel prices once again. Hence, this is fourth consecutive hike in petroleum prices leading to increasing cost of production ultimately.APBF President Ibrahim Qureshi said though the prices of oil in global market is going up yet the authorities can keep the rates stable by reducing tax ratio which is highest in the region.

In the past, the government did not pass on the full benefit of declining oil prices to the public by imposing heavy taxes. It is the time to relax the duties and absorb the burden of soaring petroleum prices in international market by keeping the prices stable. In the past government used to cut POL rates after a period of one month when prices were declining in global market but at the time of rising oil prices government is quickly responding and shifting the burden of oil price increase within 15 days.

The price of petrol was increased from Rs71.29 to Rs73, whereas high speed diesel is now costing Rs82 after an increase of Rs1.52 per litre.

Ibrahim Qureshi, terming it a bad news for the country’s economy which was already facing a number of challenges, said that the increase would put extra burden on the consumers. He said the rates for kerosene oil and light diesel oil were also increased from Rs43.25 to Rs44, and light diesel oil from Rs43.34 to Rs44 respectively.

He said that APBF had always been calling on the concerned government circles to take measures for the promotion of alternate fuels as trade deficit was fast widening due to heavy imports under the head of petroleum products. He said that rise in PoL prices is bound to give a further blow to the industry.

However, the APBF president appreciated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for announcing Rs180 billion package for the revival of export-oriented industries, which should be implemented without any further delay along with stability in fuel prices as well as all energy inputs.

The APBF is seriously concerned about the decline in exports and an increase in the trade deficit mainly due to increasing cost of doing business which has impacted export sector viability.

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All Pakistan Business Forum' condemns conspiracies against CPEC

All Pakistan Business Forum’ condemns conspiracies against CPEC


Sumera Saeed | category: Business

All Pakistan Business Forum’ condemns conspiracies against CPEC

The All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) has expressed its concerns regarding the conspiracies being observed against the ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ (CPEC) – a transnational project, promising an investment of over $50 billion. The recent rise in terror-attacks in Pakistan, may threaten the timely completion of the revolutionary CPEC project, or sabotage infrastructural development and faster economic progress in Pakistan.

The All Pakistan Business Forum’ (APBF) is a vibrant association business-leaders and entrepreneurs that promotes and protects the interests of the business community and industries in Pakistan. Hence, the Forum has condemned these conspiracies – apparently brewed by countries like India that have economic and political rivalries against Pakistan. These traditional rivals could even be promoting extremism, violence and cross-border terrorism in Pakistan.

The President of APBF – Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi stated that;

“The government authorities and ‘Law-Enforcement Agencies’ of Pakistan must remain vigilant for protection against the threats that may sabotage the CPEC. This way, maximum advantage of the CPEC can be taken, to revolutionize the trading, transportation and industrial infrastructure. APBF is committed to extend all available resources and capabilities, to engage prolific organizations and entrepreneurs in the region, for creating robust links, new opportunities and mutual benefits for Pakistan and China.”

With such huge foreign investment coming into Pakistan country, it is essential to beef-up security for enabling robust growth in trade and commerce. The CPEC will also create fresh opportunities to build new industrial sites in deprived and remote areas, connected to this vast network of roads and railways. It also includes energy-projects worth over 34 billion Dollars, to add abundant power-supply to the national grid and resolve the energy-crisis in Pakistan.

Over the years, the APBF has also been advising the government on; policy formulation, regulatory realignments, economic reforms and implementation.

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APBF signs MoU with educational institutions to strengthen industry-academia linkage

APBF signs MoU with educational institutions to strengthen industry-academia linkage


Sumera Saeed | category: Business

APBF signs MoU with educational institutions to strengthen industry-academia linkage

With a view to strengthen industry-academia linkage and collaborate for joint research initiatives the All Pakistan Business Forum has signed a tri-party Memorandum of Understanding with Institute of Trade and Competitiveness and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.

APBF President and CEO ITC Ibrahim Qureshi, APBF secretary general Maaz Mehmood, UMT DG Abid Sherwani and PIDE vice chancellor Asad Zaman signed the tri-party MoU.

The Memorandum of Understanding is aimed at conducting capacity building programmes jointly through training and empowerment; by a mutual collaboration between the business community and educational institutions. The APBF would collaborate with these renowned educational institutions for joint research activities and enhancement of capacity building.

Addressing the ceremony APBF president Ibrahim Qureshi said that in the developed economies there is a strong linkage between the academia and industry and Pakistan today also needs to adopt that pattern to overcome its multiple issues. He hoped that the PIDE and ITC would contribute to a great deal in closing the leadership gap through training to potential businessmen in areas relating to economy and international affairs.

He said that the platform would provide academics and industry the exchange of ideas on the pressing economic and social problems facing Pakistan.

The APBF would collaborate and undertake projects to help the industry compete with the challenges faced in the 21st century. All organizations would hold workshops, conferences, symposia and seminars for mutual benefits. He said that the Memorandum of Understanding is a significant step in bringing the institutions/academia and trade, industry together. He said that there is no dearth of resources in Pakistan but it is far behind in the economic race because we have failed to properly tap these resources.

Ibrahim Qureshi said the establishment of ITC is aimed at preparing businessman, managers, students, engineers and economic planners to meet the challenges of global knowledge economy and effectively take advantage of global knowledge based competitiveness shifting paradigm by developing a critical insight into global system of production and value creation.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that lack of knowledge in our businessmen and economists is causing a huge loss of global trade opportunities and this platform will serve as a mile stone to fill this gap.

“Our agenda to discover new markets, access new technologies, build new bridges and strengthen entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship.”

APBF secretary general Maaz Mehmood, UMT DG Abid Sherwani and PIDE vice chancellor Asad Zaman, on this occasion, said that the agreement among three think tanks would help in finding new solutions of the issues being faced by the trade, industry and economy. They also threw light on ongoing economic challenges and stressed the need for collective approach to bring country out of these problems. They said that APBF, UMT and PID have their own strengths and the joining of hands by the three institutions would bring positive change at the economic front.

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APBF calls for promoting FDI

APBF calls for promoting FDI


Sumera Saeed | category: Business

APBF calls for promoting FDI

The All Pakistan Business Forum has urged the government to promote foreign direct investment (FDI) which has been maintaining a steady decline from a $5.2 billion peak in 2007-08 despite the government spending on overseas trade offices have been increased to Rs1.7 billion in 2016-17.

APBF president Ibrahim Qureshi said that only political will and drastic steps can revive the economy, which should be grown significantly and constantly for visible impact. He advocated the need for raising the country’s tax base so that tax-to-GDP ratio improves from current 9%.

Foreign direct investment fell by 45 percent to $460 million in the first five months of the current fiscal year, giving a disappointing picture of the economy.

However, it is good that the investment has shown a sign of improvement during first six months (Jul-Dec) after a long time as inflows improved 10 percent to cross the $1 billion mark. During the period, overall investment increased by 50 percent to $1.8 billion but this increase was achieved by involving the money borrowed through the Eurobond.

Quoting the State Bank of Pakistan data, he said that FDI has been declining for the last three years despite regular investments from China.

He said that the primary function of trade offices is to promote exports that have persistently been falling for a long time. Country’s exports during 2015-16 dropped by 12 percent to $20.8 billion despite the fact that government expenses to run foreign trade offices have jumped by over 30 percent.

Besides governance challenges, adverse security perception and political instability the foreign trade offices role is also vital to promote exports and attract FDI, he pointed out.

Ibrahim Qureshi urged the trade officers to explore opportunities to diversify exports of goods and services in their respective areas.

He appreciated the commerce ministry’s resolve to meet the challenges faced by Pakistan in European markets vigorously, suggesting it to devise strategies to promote Pakistani products. He called upon trade officers to take advantage of opportunities offered by China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and growth in Pakistan’s national economy made possible by strengthening of democratic institutions and improvement of security situation in Pakistan.

FDI improvement in Dec 2016 reflects the improvement in security situation, implying that investors had started coming back to Pakistan. Moreover, country’s liberal policies of investment offered one of the most attractive investment regimes in the region.

APBF president said that Pakistan’s trade with European Union has increased substantively after the grant of GSP+ status to Pakistan.

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All Pakistan Business Forum’ lauds Pakistan’s new ranking as ‘Emerging Market’

All Pakistan Business Forum’ lauds Pakistan’s new ranking as ‘Emerging Market’


Sumera Saeed | category: Business

All Pakistan Business Forum’ lauds Pakistan’s new ranking as ‘Emerging Market’

The leading provider of international investment decision support tools – MSCI has reclassified its Pakistan Index to the higher status of ‘Emerging Markets’. MSCI is expected to announce this decision at the “Semi-Annual Index Review in May 2017”. The decision will upgrade Pakistan from the stature of ‘Frontier Markets’ to ‘Emerging Markets’ and is expected to generate inflows of global portfolio investment, amounting to $475 million by the middle of 2017. This was stated by EFG Hermes – an Egypt-based investment bank.

The ‘All Pakistan Business Forum’ (APBF) has lauded this positive development and congratulated the nation, for ensuring that Pakistan’s economic output is rising at a healthy pace. Global institutional investors use different MSCI indices – such as frontier, emerging, China and US markets – to create balanced portfolios to generate maximum returns while keeping in view their overall risk appetite. Emerging markets attract far more funds than frontier markets.

The President of APBF – Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi stated that: Over the past few years, economic dynamism in the global economy has gradually been shifting—from advanced economies to emerging markets. Today, the emerging economies comprise of 85 percent of the world’s population, while contributing almost 60 percent of global GDP. While the global recovery has  been subdued, emerging economies have contributed more than 80 percent of global growth since the crisis. In the current scenario, Pakistan’s inclusion into the Emerging markets is a tremendous achievement. It will create many new opportunities, despite the challenging environment.”

MSCI communicates its conclusions, based on discussions with the international investment community, on a list of markets under review every June. MSCI announced last year that Pakistan was on its list for possible reclassification in view of improvements in transparency and liquidity.

Although the actual reclassification of the index will follow next year, global investors tend to start factoring in the reclassification ahead of the actual change, which prompts massive inflows of global funds in the case of a favorable decision. The benchmark index of the Pakistan Stock Exchange has already gained 15% this year, making it the best performer in Asia. “The gauge has climbed 4.2% this month, compared with a 0.4% fall in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.”

Pakistan was part of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index between 1994 and 2008. However, the temporary closure of the Pakistan Stock Exchange in 2008 led MSCI to remove it from the index and classify it as a “standalone country index”. MSCI made Pakistan a part of the Frontier Markets Index in May 2009 and it has remained as such since then.

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APBF urges equitable CPEC benefits for all provinces

APBF urges equitable CPEC benefits for all provinces


Sumera Saeed | category: News

APBF urges equitable CPEC benefits for all provinces

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is a transnational project which promises faster growth and infrastructural development of the whole region. It will effectively serve the long-term economic interests of both the countries. As the All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) is a vibrant business association which promotes and protects the interests of the business community and industries in Pakistan, the association is pleased to see the big opportunities promised by CPEC, therefore it would urge the government to ensure that all provinces benefit equitably from this revolutionary project.

With an investment of well over $50 billion promised by China for CPEC, Pakistan must take full advantage of this venture by creating an efficient and transparent environment for utilizing and absorbing such a large volume of investments, to revolutionize the trading, transportation and industrial infrastructure. The CPEC also promises large-scale developments in the energy sector, as more than US $34 billion will be spent on energy projects, to add over 16,500 MW in the national grid, over the next decade.

The President of APBF – Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi said that;

“We appreciate China’s robust investment plans and Trans-national initiative for boosting cross-border trade activities. With such huge foreign investment coming in the country, it is essential that all provinces get equitable benefits, opportunities and budgets for strengthening their infrastructure and trade activities. It inspires new possibilities to set up industrial sites and energy projects in all the provinces of Pakistan, along this new road and rail network, especially in the economically deprived areas”.

The success of this initiative relies on stronger collaboration and cooperation among business communities of all provinces and across the borders. APBF is committed to dedicate all available resources and capabilities, to engage vital organizations and entrepreneurs in the region, to create robust links, new opportunities and mutual benefits, for all of the provinces in Pakistan.

APBF is a vibrant business association which promotes and protects the interests of the business community and industries in Pakistan. It also advises the government on; policy formulation, regulatory realignments, economic reforms and implementation.

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“Low credit to private sector hinders economic growth”

“Low credit to private sector hinders economic growth”


Sumera Saeed | category: News

The All Pakistan Business Forum has urged the central bank to review its credit policies to facilitate the private sector, which remained very thin at Rs.18 billion against Rs. 28 billion of last year despite the fact that the government was expecting a better growth rate this year, requiring a higher utilization of private sector credit from the banking system.

APBF president Ibrahim Qureshi said the trend is alarming and a clear barometer of bad financial management of the country, as all the monetary aggregates tell us a sad story of the failure of the authorities.

He said that a low volume of private sector credit off-take means lower domestic investment, hindering business activity and economic growth and promoting unemployment in the country.

Quoting the latest figures of the SBP, he said that cash flows of public sector enterprises received a huge battering because credit to them crossed Rs.53 billion in the first five months of 2016-17, which was 4.6 times higher than the credit availed a year ago.

He lamented the decline in aggregate credit to economy and private sector, as it is very difficult for SME’s to get loans in particular, he said.

The aggregate net credit by banks to the domestic economy registered a sharp fall in the second and first quarter of the year largely due to a significant rise in government domestic borrowing, and the attractive yield of government bonds and treasury bills,” he said.

He said that during the first five months of the current fiscal year, the government has set another record by borrowing more than Rs. 1 trillion from the State Bank as compared to the net retirement of Rs. 170 billion in the corresponding period of last year. Such a high level of borrowings from the SBP should have reduced the government borrowings from the commercial banks,  but the government borrowings from this source also jumped by 78 percent to Rs 377 billion up to November, 2016 against Rs. 211 billion of last year.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that increase in government borrowings from the central bank not only indicates widening fiscal gap between revenues and expenditures, but also shows higher reliance of the government on the central bank for deficit financing due to declining exports.

APBF President said that the issue of higher credit to PSEs is also serious, which reflects the massive losses being increasingly suffered by the public sector units like Railways, PSM, PIA and the government’s inability to address their issues. Restructuring or privatization of such units has been promised a number of times,  but the government often fails to meet its commitment. Higher credit requirements of the government and PSEs reduce the availability of credit to the private sector.

All Pakistan Business Forum’ lauds decision to increase trade with Italy

All Pakistan Business Forum’ lauds decision to increase trade with Italy


Sumera Saeed | category: News

Pakistan and Italy have recently agreed to increase bilateral trade to $1.5 Billion, raising it from the current volume of $1 Billion (fiscal year 2016-2017). The ‘All Pakistan Business Forum’ (APBF) has lauded this decision made by the Pakistan-Italy ‘Joint Economic Commission’ (JEC), during some high-level meetings.

The President of APBF – Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi congratulated Italy’s Deputy Minister for Economic Development – Mr. Ivan Scalfarotto – who was leading a 25-member, distinguished delegation from Italy, on an official visit to Pakistan. Mr. Qureshi stated that: The business communities in both countries fully realize the importance and vast potential of trade between our two friendly nations. Some key areas for cooperation have already been identified, along with an agreement to nurture greater economic ties, to gain mutual benefits.

The President of APBF appreciated the strong diplomatic cooperation and efforts of the Italian government and assured the Italian delegates that; “Pakistan wants to further enhance its socio-economic ties with Italy. The business community in both countries will work together to foster  trade relations, through bigger exhibitions and stronger Business-To-Business contacts, supported by the two governments. We are also thankful to Italy for supporting Pakistan in getting the ‘GSP plus’ from EU.”

Mr. Ivan Scalfarotto stated that: “The Italian delegation visited Pakistan to explore more business and investment opportunities, while taking keen interest in various economic sectors, like: trade, infrastructure, technology, agriculture, food, Textiles, Fashion, Railways and ports.

The total volume of trade between Pakistan and Italy stands at $1.1 billion. We are now seeking long-term relationships to enhance this bilateral trade to $1.5 billion.” He further added:

“We are really happy to see the rapid progress on the ‘China Pakistan Economic Corridor’ (CPEC), which is among the biggest, most promising projects for global development. It will revolutionize connectivity all over the region and beyond, with its benefits reaching billions of people around the world”.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Finance & Economic Affairs, Government of Pakistan – Mr. Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, was leading Pakistan’s team of learned delegates, who were conducting these trade-dialogues with Italy. He stated:

“We’ve had fruitful meetings and discussions with Italian business delegation and they have expressed their desire to explore numerous investment opportunities in Pakistan. Over the years, both nations have agreed to form four working-groups to work for reforms in key commercial sectors like; Energy & infrastructure development, trade & joint ventures, agriculture & agro Industries, Information-technology collaboration.”

The All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) is a vibrant business association which promotes and protects the interests of the business community and a wide range of industries in Pakistan. It also advises reforms to the Government sector, regarding policy formulation, regulatory realignments and implementation in the commercial and industrial sectors of the economy. Over the years, APBF has been consistently playing a positive role in elevating the standards and facilitation of business activity in Pakistan.