Archive for April, 2019

Pakistan and Morocco should sign a free trade agreement: Dr. Mughal

Pakistan has a very bright future: Morocco
Pakistan can become an important trading partner: Ambassador

Ambassador of Morocco to Pakistan Muhammad Karmon has said that Pakistan is a very important country with huge economic potential and an exceedingly bright future.

Morocco wants increased trade relations with Pakistan as the two countries have good potential to promote bilateral trade in different areas, he said.

Talking to Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President Pakistan Economy Watch, he said that Pakistani businessmen should explore opportunities in Morocco as we import crude petroleum, textile fabric, telecommunications equipment, wheat, gas, electricity, transistors, and plastics.

He informed that his country export clothing and textiles, electric components, inorganic chemicals, transistors, crude minerals, fertilizers, petroleum products, citrus fruits, vegetables, fish, and vehicles.

Morocco attracts over ten million tourists per annum which has developed the local hospitality industry that can help Pakistan develop this important sector, he offered.

The Ambassador said the exchange of trade delegations is an effective tool to identify trade potential and exportable products between the two countries for which links should be developed.

At the occasion, Dr. Murtaza Mughal and Chairman PEW Aslam Khan said that Pakistan and Morocco enjoy brotherly relations but trade and economic ties were not up to the satisfactory level.

They said Moroccan businessmen should explore new avenues of mutual cooperation between the two countries and both the governments should do the maximum to facilitate businesses.

Morocco is located at the gateway of Africa and Europe and offers enormous economic opportunities which should be explored, they added.

Both the countries should look into the possibility of signing a free trade agreement, they demanded.

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Economy in the clutches of speculators, manipulators: PEW

Policies demanded to divert investment to productive sectors
Promotion of industrial sector can salvage the sinking economy

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Saturday said the economy is in the clutches of speculators since long who continue to thrive on manipulation.

Speculation has become the most profitable business in Pakistan while establishing an industry has become next to impossible, it said.

The economy has lost its direction to the extent that the industrial community is also starting speculation and trading which is alarming, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

The country cannot overcome economic problems unless speculation is discouraged and industrialization is preferred over everything else, he added.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that the speculative sectors should be taxed as much as they are taxed in neighboring countries while masses and economy should be insulated from these parasites.

He noted that stock exchange, property and currency business benefits some while industrialists bring investment, ensure production and exports, earns revenue for the government and provide jobs.

Former rules promoted speculation in stock, property and commodities markets to give an impression of rapid GDP growth which didn’t benefit the country but some brokers, he said.

Dr. Mughal said that increased loans by the private sector should not be confused with improved manufacturing as most of the loans are given to retailers, wholesalers and insignificant services sector.

The government should frame policies to divert investment towards the industrial sector while discouraging black sheep in the industry addicted to packages and bailouts, he demanded.

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Deal with IMF to stabilise the economy: PEW

Action demanded against stock brokers for engineering crisis
Increased remittances, decreased deficit, access to Chinese market welcomed

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Thursday said a deal with IMF will stabilise our economy which is facing problems therefore it should not be delayed.

It welcomed increased remittances by 1.2 billion from July to March, expected reduction in trade deficit by six billion and access of 313 Pakistani products to the Chinese market which will boost exports to China above three billion dollars.

Brig (Retd) Muhammad Aslam Khan, Chairman PEW said in a statement that immunity on receiving remittances from abroad should be lifted immediately as it is being misused by the business community and corrupt politicians.

Such a decision will reduce corruption, cut flight of capital and expand the size of the documented economy, he added.

Muhammad Aslam Khan said that trade talks with some countries are in the final stage and hoped that the result of the efforts would be beneficial for the country.

He said that the country is passing through hard times but the situation is not as bad as painted by some international institutions which want frustration and unrest among the masses.

The PEW chairman said that the government should take harsh action against the broker mafia of the stock exchange which has engineered recent crisis.

Its always the small investors who suffer in every crisis while the asetts of the leading brokers multiply who deserve no mercy.

The names of illfamed brokers should be put on the ECL so that they could not leave the country like their peers, he demanded.

Khan said that last month exports dropped by 11.13 percent despite an export package and burdening masses with their gas bills which must be noticed.

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Another gas bomb ready to be dropped on masses: PEW

Gas bills can exceed the rent of an average house
Greed of gas companies knows no limits

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said another gas bomb has been prepared which will hit masses shortly.

The gas companies which are not satisfied by up to 143 percent hike in the gas tariff during last one year have initiated efforts for a 145 percent further increase in the price of gas, it said.

If the government didn’t allow full revision in prices and decided to increase tariff by only 40 to 50 percent it would spell disaster for the masses reeling under inflation, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

The move will increase the profit of gas utilities but result in increased cost of doing business, closure of many businesses and widespread unemployment in the country, he added.

He said that the monthly bill of gas can exceed the monthly rent of a normal house any time soon.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that OGRA is bound to get public opinion before revision in the gas price which is just wastage of time and resources as recommendations of stakeholders have never been accepted.

He said that gas companies continue to milk masses on the ploy of losses but their directors have never tried to divest shares.

The gas distribution companies continue to give dividends to their shareholders which is contrary to their claims of heavy losses, he observed.

Dr. Mughal said that gas is an important national asset and no one should be allowed to play with it while the role of gas distribution companies should be confined to transportation and distribution only.

He said that these companies are said to be the biggest hurdle in the success of LNG project which is costing billions to the public exchequer.

Gas companies have left OGRA almost dysfunctional while the government also take unilateral decisions bypassing the regulator.

If a dysfunctional OGRA is in the interest of the government and gas companies then there is no need to spend a hefty amount on this institution and should be closed.

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Pakistani masses, economy facing a dire situation: PEW

Sufferings of masses to continue for three years
Nepal and Bhutan performing better than Pakistan

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday said Pakistani economy is in deep trouble while masses are facing problems which will continue for the next three years.

The growth rate will be halved to 2.9 percent in 2019 while it will continue to fall in 2020 and 2021 adding to the problems of masses, it said.

India and Bangladesh will have a growth rate of above seven percent while countries like Bhutan, Nepal, and the Maldives will also perform better than Pakistan, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that high interest rates, devaluation of the currency, hike in the tariff of power and gas, and increased cost of doing business will hurt production and exports.

Many businesses will be closed increasing unemployment, decreasing revenue and creating other problems, he added.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that IMF, World Bank, and ADB has not only expressed serious concerns over the state of the economy but also pointed out serious flaws in the budgetary figures.

The unmanageable circular debt, failed state-run enterprises, trade and current account deficits, low exports and growing imports will continue to haunt the economy and damage the masses.

He noted that inflation has troubled masses which are feeling frustrated, cheated and cornered in the name of a change while different ministers are adding insult to their injury by their absurd announcements regarding the provision of jobs, houses, and welfare.

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Decision to introduce new tax amnesty scheme backed: PEW

Owners of benami assets should be given last chance
Tax scheme to pave way for economic revival

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday lauded the government decision to introduce a new tax amnesty scheme.

The move will be an important part of the government’s efforts to revive the economy in these difficult times, it said.

The scheme should be finalized as soon as possible because it will not only increase tax net and improve revenue but also help the worried business community, said Chairman PEW Brig. Muhammad Aslam Khan (Retd).

He said that the government should announce that the upcoming scheme would be the last one which would be followed by strict action as many owners of benami assets deserve a last chance.

Brig. Muhammad Aslam Khan noted that amnesty schemes announced in the past have not benefitted the government but some elements, therefore, the government should learn a lesson and announce an acceptable and transparent scheme.

He noted that the same political parties are criticizing the move despite the fact that they announced highly controversial amnesty schemes when in power.

Keeping benami assets has become impossible due to the efforts of the government but different banks still hold over Rs 500 billion in benami accounts while benami properties worth trillions of rupees have been identified that must be regularized.

He noted that worries among the business community are translating into heavy losses, therefore, the matter should be settled without delay.

The bankers who help influential to operate benami accounts and conduct illegal transactions should also be brought to the book, he demanded.

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