Reopening of CNG outlets demanded as weather normalises

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Friday said weather intensity has been reduced therefore all the CNG filling stations across the country should be reopened.

The extreme weather which had heated up demand for natural gas has normalised which call for immediate revisit of the CNG schedule, it said.

The closure of CNG outlets has taken toll on masses, transport sector and economy which must be realised at earliest, said Abid Hayat, Central Chairman APCNGA.

In a statement issued here today he said that the CNG crisis has shut transport sector, left millions jobless while additional imports of petrol is putting additional strain on forex reserves which are already below the satisfactory level.

The CNG closure has also stoked inflation, eroded currency and disturbed budget of middleclass while the man on the street has been hard hit, he added.

Abid Hayat said that Adviser to the PM on Petroleum Dr. Asim had promised to reopen all CNG stations on Jan 21st according to the former timetable which must be implemented.

He said that all the CNG outlets which have been closed by gas utility companies should also be reopened.

Mr. Hayat said that uninterrupted supply of gas to CNG filling stations will relieve masses, transport sector and the owners of the outlets facing acute uncertainty and that we will be highly thankful to Dr. Asim.

He said that energy shortages in the country call for expediting exploration of hydrocarbons and providing incentives as well as security to the investors.

India to lift trade barriers after getting MFN status: Senator

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: India will lift non-tariff trade barriers on Pakistani exports once Islamabad grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to New Delhi, a Senator said.

MFN is not a concession to India but part of an agreement signed between two countries, said Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, Chairman, Senate Standing Committee for Commerce.

Talking to a delegation of female entrepreneurs led by Samina Fazil, founder President, Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) and President IWCCI Farida Rashid, he said that MFN will start a new era of countless possibilities and opportunities.

He said that we have almost finalised Trade Organisations Act 2012 which will be put to a joint standing committee of Senate and National Assembly on Jan 23 and it would be passed within current month or during early February.

Ghulam Ali who has recently served as President FPCCI said that after promulgation of act it will be obligatory on FPCCI to have a women vice president on rotation basis.

Moreover, the businessmen and business chambers of FATA will also get representation in the Apex trade body, he added.

The Senator said that the new act will facilitate business community while formation of a business chamber will become extremely easy.

He called upon the IWCCI to promote rural women who are facing exploitation by the middlemen.

At the occasion, Samina Fazil and Farida Rashid demanded of the government to grant MFN status to India as soon as possible.

They said that businesswomen faces popular opposition from certain sectors of society but gender equality is likely to increase despite setbacks.

Government should put female empowerment at the heart of their agenda, demanded Fazil.

Pakistan-Indonesia PTA to be implemented during current month

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Pakistan said on Thursday Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between two countries will be implemented during the current month.

Jakarta and Islamabad have completed the spadework following the successful meetings between the top officials of two countries during the D-8 Summit held recently in Islamabad, said Commercial Secretary of the Indonesian Embassy Otto R Gani.

He was talking to a delegation of IWCCI led by its Founder President Samina Fazil. President IWCCI Farida Rashid, other women entrepreneurs and officials of the Embassy were also present on the occasion.

Otto R Gani said that implementation of Pakistan-Indonesia PTA will begin new era of cooperation will benefit both countries and serve as a foundation for enhanced economic and trade cooperation.

Pakistani businesses would increase exports to Southeast Asias largest economy under the PTA, including textile exports, he added.

After the implementation of PTA, we will take further steps to broader economic integration by initiating negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), he said.

He assured the delegation of IWCCI that Indonesia Embassy as well as business community will participate in Islamabad Expo 2013 scheduled in March which will offer opportunity to develop linkages among the businesspeople of two countries.

Speaking on the occasion, Samina Fazil and Farida Rashid said that an operational PTA will provide level playing field to the major palm oil exporters while it can help reduce prices of edible oil in Pakistan.

Before 2007 Indonesian palm oil share in Pakistani market was 55 per cent which can rebound now, they said. Similarly, Pakistans export to Indonesia including value added textiles, carpets, fabrics, leather and export goods, chemicals, surgical and fruits will get a boost.

Lauding the efforts of the government, the IWCCI leaders demanded initiatives including single country expos, exchange of delegations and cultural events to bring the business communities of two countries closer.

He extended invitation to Consul General to invite Indonesian Exhibitors in My-Karachi Exhibition 2013 and also organise a cultural event on that occasion.

Pakistan and Indonesia have many similarities and huge potential in various fields to improve bilateral trade which is far below the real potentials, said Samina Fazil and Farida Rashid.

Masood Khalid lauds Malaysia-Pakistan bilateral trade

Kuala Lumpur, MTT News Desk: Outgoing Pakistan High Commissioner to Malaysia Mr. Masood Khalid has lauded the role played by the Malaysia-Pakistan Business Council (MPBC) in enhancing bilateral trade relations, saying the Council formed in March last year was serving as an ideal platform for tapping into business opportunities in both countries.

After almost 30-month-long stint as head of Pakistan Mission in Malaysia, Mr. Masood Khalid whose next posting is to Beijing, said the MPBC had already made a very good start by organising various activities, including organizing three well-attended cross country business forums, sending business delegations to Pakistan to attend trade exhibitions and conducting business matchmaking sessions for entrepreneurs from both sides.

He said that with the establishment of the council, Malaysian businessmen now had a platform to make further inroads into Pakistan. We can now talk about economic and social issues and other matters that were not previously discussed by businessmen in both countries. The council is a vital platform to spearhead more business interactions as well as social and cultural exchanges, he said in an interview with Malaysias state-owned news agency Bernama.

He also lauded the services rendered by MPBC Chairman Datuk Mohamad Salim Fateh Din and announced that in recognition of Datuks contribution and role in enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries, the Pakistani government was awarding him a medal of distinction, which will be formally presented to him on Pakistan Day, March 23 next year.

About his reflections on his life in Malaysia, Mr. Masood said he had been overwhelmed by Malaysian hospitality and touched by its people’s warmth and friendliness and was leaving Malaysia with a tinge of nostalgia. I have enjoyed my stay here, even though it has been a short one. I have enjoyed the beauty of your country, your cuisine, your customs, your culture and the liveliness of Malaysia, he said.

And I have personally experienced the special sentiment for Pakistan everywhere I went. Even among men of the street, when I said I was from Pakistan, I could see there was a special sentiment and warmth for Pakistan. That was very touching for my family and I, said the High Commissioner.

Recalling the early days of his posting here in August 2010, he remarked that he was surprised to find Malaysians knew so much about biryani. Every other person I met talked about biryani. That was a surprise to me because I didnt know Malaysians knew so much about biryani, he said.

However, biryani aside, he hoped that Pakistanis and Malaysians could raise their awareness of each others culture, through cultural exchanges.

He noted that there were many similarities between the two cultures because their religious values, history and widespread use of English.

When asked about his new posting, Masood said he was looking forward to it and described the posting to China as an important assignment for any Pakistani diplomat.

PTA with Pakistan to be operational in 15 days: Indonesian Minister

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: Minister of Trade, Republic of Indonesia Gita Wirjawan on Thursday said Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) signed with Pakistan earlier this year will become operational within two weeks time.

He said that implementation of PTA signed on February 4, 2012, will not only improve relations between brotherly countries but also provide level playing field to all the exporters of edible oil having interests in lucrative Pakistani market.

Gita Wirjawan said this while talking to a select group of edible oil importers led by Atif Ikram Sheikh, Senior Vice President, Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association (PVMA) who is also Chairman Coordination, FPCCI Capital Office, Islamabad.

Akbar Iqbal Puri, Malik Sohail, Leonard F. Hutabarat, Director General Asia Pacific and African Affairs, Muhammad Hartantyo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Indonesia and others were also present in the meeting arranged by Indonesian Embassy.

The minister assured that Indonesia will provide every possible facility to Pakistani importers.

At the occasion, Atif Ikram Sheikh and Akbar Iqbal Puri said that imposition of PTA will provide incentives which will boost Indonesian exports to Pakistan.

Initially, Pakistan will save 35 USD per tonne on import of palm oil from Indonesia which will help country save 70 million dollars of precious foreign exchange per annum.

Atif said that Indonesia imports will not only help importers save money but it will assist manufacturers to clip prices which will benefit common man.

He said that PTA will also help Pakistani exporters to gain enhanced access to Indonesia market on 216 tariff lines on preferential rate.

This will be a great opportunity for Pakistani businessmen dealing in fresh fruits, cotton yarn, cotton fabrics, readymade garments, fans sports goods, leather goods and other industrial products, said Atif.

He observed that the development will help us anticipate future developments in a more-challenging global economy and diversify exports to increase its resilience amid the current economic slowdown.

Transportation links between Turkey-Pakistan to be improved

Ankara, MTT News Desk: In order to boost economic relations and people to people contact between Pakistan and Turkey, the existing rail, road and air links shall be further improved.

Pakistan’s Minister of State/Chairman Board of Investment Mr. Saleem H. Mandviwalla discussed these proposals in a meeting with Turkish Minister for Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Mr. Binali Yildirim here today.

The Turkish Minister agreed with Mr. Mandviwala on the need for improving existing cargo train operations.

Mr. Yildirim also suggested increasing the frequency of flights between the two countries.

He said Pakistan is a brotherly country and there are many venues of collaboration in trade and investment.

Mr. Mandviwalla, who is visiting Turkey as a Special Envoy of President of Pakistan, said coming to Turkey is like coming to his second home.

He said more connectivity will automatically increase people to people contacts. He showed his optimism that existing cargo train “Gul train” running on pilot basis between Pakistan and Turkey is a viable commercial venture.

After increasing the frequency of this cargo train, both countries will commence passenger train, added the visiting dignitary.

Secretary Commerce Mr. Munir Qureshi, Ambassador of Pakistan to Turkey Mr. Muhammad Haroon Shaukat and Consul General Istanbul Dr. Yusuf Junaid were also present in the meeting.

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