Remittances up by 7pc

LAHORE: Overseas Pakistanis remitted $2637.27 million in first two months (July & August) of the current fiscal year.

It shows a growth of 7.05 percent as compared to $2463.69 million received during the same period of last fiscal year, said a statement by State Bank of Pakistan.

The inflow of remittances in July-August from Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA, UK, GCC countries including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman and EU countries amounted to $732.50 million, $506.78 million, $448.60 million, $419.74 million, $295.59 million and $74.97 million respectively as compared to the inflow of $657.78 million, $505.80 million, $446.61 million, $334.06 million, $274.09 million and $63.57 million respectively in July-August FY12-13.

Remittances received from Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan and other countries during the first two months of current fiscal year amounted to $159.09 million against $ 181.78 million received in the first two months of last fiscal year.

In August 2013, the inflow of remittances from Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA, UK, GCC countries (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman), and EU countries amounted to $321.77 million, $254.37 million, $215.54 million, $197.81 million, $134.15 million and $36.38 million respectively as compared to the inflow of $308.12 million, $265.26 million, $231.31 million, $185.57 million, $133.73 million and $32.74 million respectively in August 2012. Remittances received from Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan and other countries during the second month of the current fiscal year (August FY14) amounted to $72.86 million, the SBP statement said.

LCCI president concerned over Karachi unrest

LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday expressed deep concern over prevailing violent situation in Karachi and called for early restoration of peace and revival of economic activities in the city.

In a statement, LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that unrest in the largest port city was not only disrupting the entire economic cycle but also tarnishing the image of the country.

A one-day strike or shutdown in Karachi causes loss of Rs 3-4 billion to the economy besides hitting hard around 2.5 million daily wagers working in 4000 industrial units and 600,000 retail shops.

Farooq Iftikhar said that peace in all parts of the country was a prerequisite to keep wheel of the economy running.

‘SROs affecting Sialkot export industry’

SIALKOT: Chairmen of trade unions representing all five zero-rated export-oriented sectors and Sialkot Tax Bar Association have discussed the negative effects of SROs 505(I)/2013 and 98(I)/2013 on export industry with Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) President Sheikh Abdul Majid in a meeting.

The SCCI President told the chairmen that he had pointed out the problems regarding the said SROs in meetings with Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar, FBR Chairman Tariq Bajwa, RTO Sialkot Chief Commissioner and other high-ups of the Board. It was told the meeting that the finance minister and FBR chairman were also requested in writing to give relief to Sialkot export industry but in vain.

Sheikh Abdul Majid, expressing concern on the government’s non-responsive attitude, said that implementation of SRO 505 and 98 had increased the cost of production by five to 10 per cent. He feared that declaring exporters as Sales Tax Withholding Agent would leave the businesses uncompetitive in the global market.

Pakistan Sports Goods Association Chairman Muhammad Iqbal Saleemi, Surgical Instruments Manufacturers Association Chairman Bilal Tanveer, Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (North Zone) Chairman Tassawar Hussain, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (North Zone) Chairman Mir Muhammad Farooq Meyer, Pakistan Gloves Manufacturers and Exporters Association Chairman Khurram Azeem Khan, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association VC Muhammad Rafi Sony were present in the meeting. Aftab Hussain Nagra, President; Zulfiqar Ahmed Nasir, Arshad Nawaz Mann and Waseem Arshad also attended the meeting on behalf of Sialkot Tax Bar Association.

APTMA to hold road shows in European states, US

LAHORE: All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Gohar Ejaz has said that the association will hold international road shows in the European states and the United State.

He said this while talking to the delegation of Lahore Economic Journalists Association (LEJA). APTMA Vice Chairman Wisal Monnoo, APTMA Punjab newly-elected Chairman SM Tanveer, newly-elected Senior Vice Chairman Ali Ahsan and APTMA Committee on International Trade Convenor Amir Fayyaz were also present there.

Gohar Ejaz said that the APTMA is struggling to bring Chinese investment in textile sector of Pakistan. He said the Businessmen Group, during last four years, has achieved an increase of $3.5 billion in textile exports despite the odd circumstances, including energy crisis and high interest rates.

Gohar stated that the industry exports have gained $13.1 billion mark in 2012-13 against $9.5 billion in 2009-10. He said the Businessmen Group has set a target of another $13 billion in next five years that will also generate 10 million jobs in the country.

The APTMA chairman congratulated to the Businessmen Group that has made a clean sweep in the association’s Punjab elections for the year 2013-14. All the six Central Executive Committee Members from Punjab have been elected unopposed for 2013-14.

No proof of weapon smuggling found; Commission submits report in SC

KARACHI: A commission, established by the Apex Court, has found no proof of arms smuggling from Karachi port.

The Supreme Court set up the commission headed by former Member Customs Ramzan Bhatti to probe into the matter of disappearance of Nato weapon shipments from Karachi port after the director general Rangers had told the court on August 30 that around 19,000 containers, loaded with weapons and vehicles, had gone missing during the tenure of a former minister for ports and shipping.

The commission, in its 15-page report, told the Supreme Court that the DG Rangers did not give any evidence to substantiate his claim. The sources said that most of the disappeared containers were loaded with goods for Afghan transit trade and just a few hundred containers linked to Nato.

The commission also rejected any impression that the investigation was influenced by the US embassy. Earlier, US official, in a statement, also denied that any Nato containers had gone missing from the Karachi port.

It was also admitted in the report that due to lack of proper facilities, the Customs Department cannot check every instance of smuggling. The commission, however, rejected link of Karachi’s poor law and order situations with the workings of the Customs Department.

Trade deficit reduces 11.45pc in August

LAHORE: Pakistan’s trade deficit narrowed by 3.07 per cent during the first two months of the current fiscal year as exports expanded by 3.66 per cent while imports witnessed nominal increase of 0.54 per cent as compared to the same period of last year.

On year-on-year basis, the trade deficit decreased by 11.45 per cent in August 2013 when compared to the deficit of the same month of last year, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

The figures show the exports during July-August 2013-14 were recorded at $4.091 billion against $3.946 billion recorded during the corresponding period in 2012-13.

On the other hand, the imports during the first two months of the current fiscal year were recorded at $7.386 billion against $7.346 billion during July-August last year, showing nominal growth of 0.54 per cent.

Based on the figures, the trade deficit during July-August 2013-14 was recorded at $3.295 billion against the deficit of $3.400 billion in the two months of 2012-13, showing negative growth of 3.07 per cent.

Meanwhile, on year-on-year basis, the exports from the country in August 2013 increased by 4.75 per cent to $1.996 per cent when compare to the exports of $1.905 billion in August 2012.

The imports into the country decreased by 3.07 per cent by falling from $3.685 billion in August 2012 to $3.572 in August 2013, the PBS data revealed. Based on the figures, the trade deficit in August 2013 was recorded at $1.576 billion against the deficit of $1.780 in August 2013, showing negative growth of 11.45 per cent.

On the other hand, exports in August 2013 decreased by 4.75 per cent when compared to the exports of $2.095 billion in August 2012. The imports into the country also decreased by 6.35 per cent in August 2013 when compared to the imports of $3.814 in August 2012, according to the data.

The deficit in August 2013 stood at $1.576 billion against the deficit of $1.719 billion in August 2012, showing negative growth of 8.31 per cent.

FBR’s Member Admin holds the system together and keeps it going

ISLAMABAD: The key role of the Administration Wing of FBR is overall administration of the Board, its attached departments and field formations, including transfers and postings, appraisals, processing and monitoring of all development projects. The entire budget of FBR is also managed and supervised by the wing.

This was stated by Shahid Hussain Jatoi, Member Administration in Federal Board of Revenue in an exclusive interview with Customs Today recently. He said that like any other organization FBR has an effective Administration Wing which is performing its duties with great responsibility. He said that the Administration Wing has launched another effective system namely HRIS, the first of its kind by any organization in Pakistan. Complete data and record of all the officers and their performance is stored and maintained through this system. This method provides all the required information of each officer with a single click.

He said that Admin Wing remains watchful to ensure that transfers and postings are decided on merit and sees that no ambiguity is left in this regard. Admin Wing makes transfers and postings up to 19 grade officers and the rest are made by the Central Selection Board. Answering a question he said it is true that the wing has to face pressures from different circles, including politicians, regarding transfers and postings but under the supervision of Tariq Bajwa, Chairman FBR, all the work is carried out absolutely on merit. Under the new set-up, the Administration wing is working in a congenial atmosphere and exercising its free will in the selection of officers at important places.

Replying to a question, he said that infrastructure maintenance of FBR buildings, on rent or owned, is also a basic function of our department.” We deal with maintenance and construction of buildings, offices and even residences of officers.”

Similarly, other assignments like holding training sessions for officers, supervising their promotions, helping in career planning, managing their leaves, taking disciplinary actions against them and above all hiring and firing of officers are all in the line of duty of the Administration wing

In addition, the department also deals with seniority cases, qualification issues, performance and evaluation reports and overall professional reputation. In other words, career profile mechanism is the responsibility of the department.

Replying to another question, Mr Jatoi said that if complaints against FBR officers are anonymous and of general nature and allegations do not contain any evidence, then there would hardly any justification for taking action. However, complaints with specific details and evidences are first verified through various means and then a preliminary report is prepared to initiate disciplinary action against the officers.

Apart from Admin Wing, he said other wings in FBR and government agencies simultaneously deal with the investigation of complaints about corruption and corrupt practices.

He added that the culture of filing genuine complaints does not exist in our country due to various reasons like fear of retribution, lack of trust and faith in the system and lack of knowledge of the legal rights of traders under various laws.

He said that there is a proper mechanism established for complaints which is simple and quick in nature. “If we find any complaint in writing and there is nobody to own the complaint, we cannot work on it. We can only act upon specific details and material evidence. Once we find out any evidence, we initiate proceedings in this regard.” At present some complaints and fact finding inquiries are pending and there are other cases in which charge sheets have been prepared and issued.





FBR transfers/posts 18 officials of IRS & Customs Service

ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has transferred and posted 15 officials of Grade20-19 of Inland Revenue Service and 3 officials of Grade 19-18 of Pakistan Customs Service.

Transfers/Postings of the following officers of (BS-19-20) of Inland Revenue Service are made with immediate effect and until further orders:-

Mr. Gholam Kazim Hosein (BS-20), Dr. Ikram Ghani (BS-20), Mr. Salim Raza Asif (BS-20), Mr. Hafiz Muhammad Ali Indhar (BS-20), Dr. Muhammad Akram Khan (BS-20), Dr. Muhammad Naeem (BS-19), Mr. Muhammad Imtiaz (BS-19), Dr. Hamid Ateeq Sarwar (BS-19), Mr. Ch. Muhammad Tarique (BS-19), Mr. Khalid Javed (BS-19), Mr. Ahmad Shuja Khan (BS-19), Dr. Ahmad Shahab (BS-19), Mr. Muhammad Abid Raza Bodla (BS-19), Mr. Afaque Ahmed Qureshi (BS-19) and Mr. Muhammad Shaukat Hayat Cheema (BS-19).

Transfers/Postings of the following officers of (BS-18-19) of Pakistan Customs Service are made with immediate effect and until further orders:-

Dr. Kamal Azhar Minhas (BS-19), Mr. Zahid Ali Baig (BS-19) and Mr. Ijaz Badshah (BS-18).

The Officers who are drawing performance allowance prior to issuance of this notification shall continue to draw this allowance on the new place of posting.

All above listed officers are requested to Relinquish/Assume charge, using online HRMS facility made available to FBR or by using their IJP logins.

Mr. Sarfraz Ahmad (IRS/BS-20) presently posted as CIR (Zone-II), RTO, Islamabad is assigned the “additional charge” of the post of CIR (WHT) RTO, Islamabad with immediate effect and until further orders in addition to his own duties.

The additional charge of CIR (Zone-XI) RTO-II, Lahore assigned to Mr. Asim Ahmad (IRS/BS-20) presently posted as CIR (WHT), RTO-II, Lahore vide Board’s Notification No 2024-IR-I/2013, dated 23.08.2013 is hereby withdrawn with immediate effect.

Port Qasim shipping activities

KARACHI: Following is the berthing schedule of vessels loading and unloading at Port Qasim:

Commodity      Tonnes/TEUs  Ship               Load/Unload

Wheat                    n/a          Ince Beylebey      unload

Palm Oil               n/a          Chemroad Juji      unload

Cement               n/a          Observator               load

Cement               n/a          Diamond Star           load

Containers        n/a          Hanjin Los Angles  load/unload

Containers        n/a          Moliere                       load/unload

Containers        n/a          Nystyed Maersk     load/unload

The Port Qasim Authority said it handled 101,132 tonnes of cargo during the 24 hours to 8 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Wednesday compared to 71,377 tonnes in the previous 24 hours.

Cargo handling in tonnes

Wednesday    Previous

Export cargo    55,569       22,162

Import cargo    45,563       49,215

In the 24 hours, two ships arrived and three ships sailed. In the next 24 hours, one ship is expected to sail and nine ships are expected to arrive.