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Businessmen upbeat about army chief’s resolve to revive economy

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  • FPCCI president calls meeting with army chief a breath of fresh air.
  • $25bn investment discussed with Saudi Arabia, COAS Munir tells business community. 
  • Government would not go full-fledge for privatisation, he adds.

KARACHI: As the country is faced with a serious economic crisis, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir told the business community that all-out efforts will be made to bring foreign investment to the country and revive the economy, The News reported Tuesday.

The army chief gave these assurances in one of his recent detailed meetings with the traders where he spoke with the business community candidly. 

Speaking in the Geo News programme “Aaj ShahzebKhanzada Kay Sath” on Monday, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that the meeting with the army chief is a breath of fresh air. 

He said the army chief told them that a $25 billion investment had been discussed with Saudi Arabia, which had assured Pakistan of investment in IT, minerals, agriculture and defence. 

COAS Munir told the business community that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman had agreed that of the $25 billion, $10 billion would be kept in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). This will be returned in the form of the Pakistani rupee or goods so that the foreign exchange could increase.

The army chief said that the crown prince has identified bureaucracy obstacles to investment and called for removing them, adding that they have Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) to do away with the bureaucratic hurdles.

Now nobody could disturb them, nor any bureaucrats could undermine them nor would they face any problems with courts. He said the army chief told the business community that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had held out the assurance that each would invest $25 billion, while $25 billion each would come from Qatar and Kuwait.

Sheikh said that Gen Munir had vowed that the land-grabbing mafia and the extortion mafia would be reined in to control corruption, adding that four task forces are being constituted on the Federal Board of Revenue of Pakistan (FBR), border control, smuggling and social media to improve the situation. 

FPCCI president also stressed that the business community had become disappointed but the army chief had given it courage and hope.

Meanwhile, Business Group Chairman Zubair Motiwala said that every new chief holds meetings with traders. 

Welcoming the meeting, Motiwala said that the body language of the army chief was different this time as compared to the traders’ meetings held with his predecessors. He added that Gen Munir went to Saudi Arabia and the UAE for the revival of the economy, and now he plans to go to Qatar and Kuwait.

Motiwala said COAS Munir directed the corps commander that not a single litre of Iranian diesel should come to Karachi while he also issued directives for retaking encroached lands, ending corruption and improving law and order.

The COAS also said that only registered Afghan refugees can live in Pakistan and the rest of them will have to go back to their country, adding that Saudi’s crown prince complained about corruption and bureaucracy in Pakistan.

Motiwala said they discussed the charter of the economy with the army chief, hoping that such a huge investment would bring improvement to the economic conditions in the country. 

He said they drew the attention of the army chief towards the need for investment.

The business community also told Gen Munir that Rs1,300 billion is going to waste due to state-owned enterprises, stressing that political governments cannot opt for privatisation, he added. 

The army chief said he realised that the government would not go full-fledge for privatisation and would get rid of the burden at all costs.

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April FDI in Pakistan increased to $358.8 million, according to SBP

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The inflow for April was $358.8 million, up 177% from $132 million in April FY23. Still, that was 39% more than the $258 million from March.

China was the largest investor, with $439.3 million in FDI from the nation between July and April of FY24—the greatest amount—as opposed to $604 million during the same period of FY23. In April, China accounted for $177 million of the total investment.

With $51.93 and 51.89 million invested in Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Canada came in second and third, respectively.

The power industry was the main draw for foreign investors in FY24, which ran from July to April. This period’s FDI in the power industry was $637.5 million, compared to $776.2 million the previous year. From $338 million to $460 million this year, Hydel Power garnered more attention.

Continue reading: In FY23–24, Pakistan’s per capita income increased to $1680.

According to a separate data released on Wednesday, Pakistanis’ per capita income increased to $1680 in FY2023–2024.

The size of the national economy grew from $341 billion to $375 billion in the current fiscal year, according to figures made public by PBS.

Throughout this fiscal year, Pakistanis’ yearly per capita income increased by Rs 90,534; the monthly rise was Rs 7,544.

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OGRA forbids the purchase or sale of inferior LPG cylinders.

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The 313 LPG marketing and 19 cylinder-producing companies received notices from the OGRA, which described the act of refilling inferior LPGO cylinders as harmful.

Avoid supplying LPG to unlicensed distributors, the OGRA has cautioned LPG marketing companies. Only approved distributors will be able to sell and buy LPG going forward, per the notification, which states that new SOPs have been developed for the LPG industry.

Additionally, the warning said that the decision was made in an effort to preserve both lives and the business in response to an increase in cylinder blast occurrences.

Price reductions of Rs 20 per kilogramme for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) were implemented in Quetta on May 3.

There is a reduction of Rs 20 on LPG prices, which means that the price per kilogramme drops from Rs 280 to Rs 260.

The costs of LPG were reduced by Rs 20 per kilogramme earlier, bringing the total decrease to Rs 40 per kilogramme over a few weeks. This is something worth noticing.

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PIA announces a significant student discount.

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According to an airline spokesman, the national flag carrier has recently raised the baggage allowance to 60 kg.

Currently, PIA flies one flight per week on Sundays between Islamabad and Beijing.

The discount may be useful to students who intend to spend their summer vacations in Pakistan or who wish to return home after earning their degrees.

Before, students who wanted to visit China could now receive a 27% reduction on their fares through PIA.

On Eid ul Fitr, the national flag airline also reduced the cost of domestic flights by 20% for both economy and executive economy classes.

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