President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said the Government has already increased gas tariffs 143% in October 2018 and now again OGRA seems determined hike up the prices by 75 to 80% and the new rates will be implemented from July 1, 2019. This hike in price was proposed by SNGPL, under their proposal they had suggested Rs.732 increase in price per MMBTU of gas.
The Veteran Business Leader told the business community that frequent increase in gas prices has already destabilized energy and power sector which has already affected not only people but also Industries, economy, transportation and Investment potential negatively. Mian Zahid Hussain fears any further hike in the gas prices may lead to a large destabilization of CNG sector. Government should promote a preference for CNG usage over the Oils (petrol and diesel) in the transportation industry so CNG industry may earn substantial revenues to cover their rising CNG production cost. And also it will earn USD 1 Billion for the economy of Pakistan. Promotion of CNG over Imported Oil will also stabilize Energy Mix with the reduced Imports bills. Incremental Gas prices are very concerning, as per a survey in only Karachi there are more than more than 1000 industrial units and there production is totally dependent on the natural gas. If this price increase will have implemented it will further boost inflation rates and consequentially both people and businesses will suffer. Most of the industries across Pakistan will get directly affected by this predicted price increase and their production and manufacturing cost will also be increased by many folds. Even simple market products will become expensive and hard to get hence resulting in lesser exports overall.
The Former Minister said every year common people have to bear the expense of Gas thefts of more than. PKR 50 billion on top of it SSGC and SNGPL losses over PKR 25 – 30 billions in terms of gas. Line losses and gas thefts should be contained instead any increase in the Gas prices. Government facilitation should be extended to investors and industrialists so that they can achieve their targets with profitability. Investors will greatly suffer if the predicted increased gas price tariffs will get implemented.
New Visa policy will Helps Grow Travel and Tourism Industry: Mian Zahid
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said that government new e-visa policy will play a significant part in the growth of travel and tourism industry and the people associated with this industry. Initially Tourists from UK, China, Turkey, Malaysia and UAE can benefit from online visa system. Where previously travellers have to wait for 2 weeks lengthy and difficult process in order to get the tourist visa for Pakistan, with this new program they can get Pakistani visa in few hours with ease while sitting back at their homes. For which Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan should be praised. With the new visa policy for the international tourists it’s a lot easier to travel within Pakistan now, where previously its mandatory to acquire NOC by tourists and travel operators to visit Kashmir, Chitral and Gilgit Biltistan but now with the new visa policy any tourist can visit said places without an NOC hence saving them from the difficult process of acquiring NOC in Pakistan.
The Veteran Business Leader told the business community that American Forbes magazine has declared Pakistan amongst the top 10 tourist destinations for 2019 in the world. Also Britain’s back packers’ society ranked Pakistan at the top as a best tourist destination for adventure loving people who like mountaineering in the world. Government of Pakistan should focus on the growth of travel and tourism industry in Pakistan and spend more on the development of infrastructure associated with tourism sites so that Pakistan can attract tourists from all around the world in order to gain in terms of foreign exchange and to generate employment for the people of Pakistan as well.
Allah has blessed Pakistan with infinite natural beauty. Top 8 highest mountain peaks among world’s top 20 are situated in Pakistan. And Pakistan was the cradle of civilization as Pakistan has ancient sites of Harappa and Mohin Jo Darro which are associated with the world’s first civilization “Indus Valley” which are under focused by the historians to research and study. If Government can excavate and develop these ancient sites and made them easily accessible by the tourists then these sites can attracts millions of tourists and anthropologists from all across the world. Himalayan hill stations should be promoted by organizing winter sports events to attract adventurists and mountain climbers from all around the world so not only travel and tourist industry but Sports industry in Pakistan can also flourish.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Pakistan is not only blessed with natural beauty but also Pakistan is the historic gateway and meeting point of various civilizations and cultures since antiquity. In the north of Pakistan there lie ancient Silk Route networks which used to connect Europe to Far East Asia via China. Incredible Hunza and Chitral valleys are also situated in the Northern part of the country. Pakistan’s cultural capital Lahore boosts many astonishing castles, mosques and tombs which were build on the principles of beautiful Mughal Architect under historic Mughal Empire and these sites only require a little attention and support by the authorities to become another great tourist destination in Pakistan which can attract a large number of international tourists. According to world travel and tourism council Pakistan’s travel and tourism industry contributes 7% or about 20 billion dollars to the GDP of Pakistan and it is expected to rise by 6% annually. So If Government of Pakistan should focus more towards the development of travel and tourism industry then it will be contributing about 36 billion dollars to the GDP of Pakistan in the year 2027. There are many sacred ancient sites belonging to Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists can be found in Pakistan which can be converted to tourism destination and won over millions of pilgrims from across the globe so that Pakistan can become No.1 destination for travel and tourism in the world.