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Trade moot to highlight potential of Pak market for China ASEAN region

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Commercial Section, Consulate General of Pakistan Guangzhou on second day of CAEXPO has organized an exclusive Trade and Investment Promotion Conference in Nanning, capital city of Guangxi-Zhuang Autonomous Region of China on the sidelines of the ongoing 17th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO). CAEXPO is the largest government sponsored, trade and investment oriented expo in China-ASEAN region representing 11 regional countries with combined GDP of nearly $17.5 trillion and a consumer market of 2 billion people. Pakistan is attending this year’s session as special partner country for the first time since its inception in 2004.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Trade and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood opened the conference with a recorded video speech. Expressing satisfaction over Pakistan’s participation as special partner country, Abdul Razak Dawood highlighted the economic reforms and business friendly policies of the Government that have led to macroeconomic stability and conducive environment for business and investment. Stressing the great significance of China-ASEAN region to the economy of Pakistan, the Adviser welcomed investors from the two regions to avail the golden investment opportunities in the Special Economic Zones that are facilitated by supportive policies and attractive tariff and tax concessions. He assured full support and protection for Chinese and ASEAN investments in Pakistan.

In his welcoming remarks, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Mr. Moin-ul-Haque expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Commerce of China and CAEXPO Secretariat for giving full representation to Pakistan in this year’s Session. Highlighting Pakistan’s special relations and comprehensive strategic partnership with China and the deep-rooted and wide-ranging links with ASEAN countries, Ambassador Moin-ul-Haque urged the business and investment community of China and ASEAN tap into the vast and virgin market of Pakistan, particularly with regard to the several SEZs being set up under the transformative China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The Conference was also addressed by prominent Chinese government officials and business leaders, including Mr. Huang Shiyong, Member Standing Committee of Guangxi CPC; Mr. Han Songling, Marketing Director of Guangzhou Metro Group; Mr. Li Yanfeng, General manager of CIHC Pak Power Company; and Mr. Ou Xinglin, General Manager TianHe Tobacco International Company Limited. They highly evaluated the investment landscape of Pakistan and the supportive policies for Chinese investors.

Pakistan’s Consulate General in Guangzhou provided detailed briefings on the trade and investment potential of Pakistan, along with videos on tourist attractions and Emerging Pakistan. Bilingual brochures on investment landscape and CPEC special economic zones were distributed among the participants that included a large number of entrepreneurs from China and ASEAN countries and a large number of leading Chinese companies. Also TDAP has organized the participation of 15 Pakistani companies.

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Bank of Punjab sign an agreement with 1LINK

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The Bank of Punjab has signed an agreement with 1LINK to acquire their Threat Intelligence Services. It provides a platform to gather, share, store and correlate indicators of compromise of targeted cyber-attacks, threat intelligence, financial fraud information and vulnerability information.

By participating in 1TIP, BOP becomes the first Bank in Pakistan to be on-boarded on 1LINK Threat Intelligence Platform.

The Signing ceremony was held at BOP Head Office in Lahore and attended by various executives on both sides, led by Zahid Mustafa, Group Chief Consumer & Digital Banking Group BOP and Najeeb Agrawalla, Chief Executive Officer 1LINK Pvt. Ltd.

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Hashoo Group to launch PC LEGACY Hotel in Naran soon

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The latest addition to their leading chain of hotels across Pakistan, Hashoo Group has announced to launch a new brand of four-star hotels by the name of “PC Legacy”. Hashoo Group is the leading chain of hotels, which already owns and operates the five-star Pearl-Continental Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Hotels, and the select-service Hotel One brand in Pakistan.

SNQ Resorts (Pvt) Limited is a new entrant in the market, which will work towards developing tourism in the northern parts of Pakistan.

In this connection, a MoU was signed between Pakistan Services Limited and SNQ Resorts (Pvt) Limited in Crystal Ballroom at Islamabad Marriott.

“PC Legacy is our new brand of four-star hotels and I congratulate SNQ Resorts (Pvt) Ltd for becoming the first signers of this franchise. We, in line with the Prime Minister’s vision to promote tourism in Pakistan, are delighted to manage this prestigious hotel” expressed Mr. Murtaza Hashwani, Hashoo Group Deputy Chairman and CEO, at the MoU signing ceremony. SNQ Resorts (Pvt) Limited CEO Mr. Syed Kaiser Mehmood Shah said: “We are proud to collaborate with Hashoo Group for developing a new space for tourism by providing contemporary architecture and modern travel facilities in Naran.”

Nestled amid the majestic Himalayan Mountains, Naran is surrounded by the dense Alpine forest, capturing stunning views of the lush green valley attracting tourists and adventure enthusiasts from around the world.

Designed for both business and leisure travellers, PC Legacy Hotel Naran will offer a host of modern amenities to all guests. At the hotel, they can choose from a combination of 70 rooms and suites for their stay, dine at the in-house restaurants, utilise elegant event spaces, and avail gym and wellness services as well as kids’ recreational facilities in the hotel.

Located in the upper Kaghan valley of KP, Naran is about 280 kilometres away from Islamabad. A highly popular tourist destination, it attracts scores of tourists to explore its radiant beauty and experience prominent tourist attractions in the vicinity such as the enchanted Saiful Malook Lake, Shogran, Babusar Top, and Siri Paye Meadows.

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Goth Education Program in tandem with TCF reaps rewards

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Indus Motor Company (IMC) has realized a 12-year old dream via its Toyota – Goth Education Program (T-GEP) with its first batch of students from the under-privileged neighboring localities.

The Company instituted the Toyota – Goth Education Program in 2008 under its Community Uplift Initiative to provide full financial support for elementary and secondary school education to children from economically disadvantaged communities of neighboring localities where IMC operates. To this end, IMC has partnered with The Citizens Foundation (TCF) for imparting quality education from grassroots level.

The Program has gradually expanded its area of operation and has resulted in not only improving the living standard and way of thinking but also helped in reducing the long tradition of early marriage of girls in the neighboring communities.

“Through our notable contributions in education, IMC as a signatory to the UNs Sustainable Development Goals, supports SDG 4 – Quality Education, which focuses on inclusive and equitable quality education and promotes lifelong opportunities for all, explains Ali Asghar Jamali, CEO – IMC.

He further added, “Our first batch of T-GEP consisted of two boys, who have completed their Intermediate and having shown interest in building their career through IMC’s flagship Apprenticeship Program, I am happy that they have joined the Company. The girl, meanwhile, has plans to pursue her graduation.” The CEO also met the two boys and congratulated them.

Currently, Pakistan has the world’s second-highest number of out-of-school children with an estimated 22.8 million children aged 5-16 not attending school, representing 44 per cent of the total population in this age group, according to a UNICEF report.

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ANF sign MoU with group of colleges

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Punjab Group of Colleges and its educational institutes always acknowledged the services rendered by national institutes.

Recently, Punjab Group of Colleges and Anti-Narcotics Force-Rawalpindi signed a landmark MoU for free education to Martyrs’ children and various discounts to serving personnel. The MoU was signed by Dr. Shahid (Project Director, Allied Schools) and M. Khalid (Director Planning & Development Anti-Narcotics Force Headquarters, Pakistan).

As a token of appreciation, Punjab Group of Colleges, Hadaf Colleges, Allied Schools and EFA School System, shall provide the following Fee Discounts to the children of employees (Serving and Shuhada) of Anti- Narcotics Force – Rawalpindi: 25% discount in Monthly Tuition Fee to the children of serving officials, 50% discount in Monthly Tuition Fee to the children of Officials injured in Line of Duty, and 100% free education for the children of Shuhadas of Anti- Narcotics Force- Rawalpindi.

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DIG named honorary media coordinator

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Deputy Inspector General Security and Emergency (S&E) Maqsood Ahmad has named S.M Iqbal (retired) Director Information as honorary coordinator media S&E.

DIG S&E appreciated honorary coordinator Iqbal for his commitment for public services. Iqbal had voluntarily offered his services to police especially security and emergency department.

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Poverty: A Social Curse

Rida Sohail

An unavailability or lack of required resources that are food, shelter, and clothing to a person is called poverty. It also includes lack of economic resources and the basic human needs i.e. clean water, nutrition, health care, education etc. This type of situation occurs when there is inequality between rich and poor, feudalism, lack of good governance, population explosion, trade deficit, lack of access to education, political instability, lack of accountability, transparency in policies and its implementation. The curse of poverty spreads due to poor performance of the government along with unawareness of the common citizens of the country. 

In Pakistan, majority of the people lack awareness and they don’t know the reasons of poverty and even don’t bother to find out the reasons of this social curse. In our society, rich is getting rich day-by-day and poor is getting poor day-by-day because of the system of feudalism and corruption. There are socio-economic and political factors which badly affect our economy such as cancer of corruption, political instability, population explosion, employed parliamentarians versus unemployed individuals and inefficiency in the collection of taxes. According to Global Multidimensional poverty index report (2019), 38% of national population is poor in terms of food, nutrition, water and sanitization. According to HDI report (2020), Pakistan ranked at 150th on HDI that measures progress in three basic dimensions of human development that are long and healthy life, access to knowledge and decent standard of living. Additionally, according to the report by Ministry of Planning and Development, about 55 million Pakistanis live below poverty line. 

Furthermore, in previous months due to the pandemic COVID-19, the economic problems have disrupted the local and nationaleconomies which in turn evaluating the high levels of anxiety among individuals. Due to lock down, the working places were also closed. All sorts of workers or employees were not allowed to go to their work. In this way, the element of poverty got highlighted. The daily wagers, laborers, street hawkers or other business men were unable to earn properly in that pandemic. The situation was worse for these individuals as compared to government employees. In addition to this, the private workers had the fear of job loss and they were highly stressed. Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled 1.2 trillion economic plans to lesser the damage to the vulnerable. The issue was in the social welfare system which could disburse the funds appropriately. This economic upheaval presented a vicious cycle in which industries were not functional and laborers were not working. This caused the members of this cycle to be in mental illness. This contagious disease has restricted people to travel which stops their business activities. On the other hand, it had stopped importing and exporting of goods among the countries due to which their economy was decreasing day-by-day. On the local level so many restaurants, shops, railway stations, offices etc. were closed due to which the people who belong to these fields were facing drawbacks related to economy. According to United Nations, the International Trade has decreased up to 15% and tourism has decreased up to 20 to 30%. However, government has taken the mandatory incentives to crackdown the covid-19. It has slowly opened the working institutions to overcome the economic crisis or somehow poverty.                                    

How can we reduce this social curse in our society? What should be the role of government? What should be the role of an individual as a common citizen of Pakistan?

Government should provide free primary education and bring economic reforms in terms of trade deficit to increase the GDP of the country. Merit based recruitment should be followed and must expand the job opportunities, and reduce the nepotism. The authorities should provide required resources to the needy ones which include food, shelter and clothing. Elected representatives should give priority to the implementation of programs and policies. It shouldn’t be high on paper work and low on performance. As an individual, a common citizen should be aware of everything and should get higher education. In addition to this, the rich ones should help poor citizens in terms of money and other resources. Policies should be formulated at the provincial and district levels to eradicate the causes of poverty because it results in starvation, homelessness, violence, unemployment, health issues, malnutrition, child labor, suicides, broken families, anxiety, and increase in crime rate.

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Wall Street wonders how bad it has to get

WASHINGTON: Wall Street is working out how bad the economy will have to get for Congress to feel motivated to move on economic support.

Why it matters: A pre-Thanksgiving data dump showed more evidence of a floundering economic recovery.

But the slow drip of crumbling economic data may not be enough to push Washington past a gridlock to halt the economic backslide.

What they’re saying: “What I can’t figure out is what what is going to need to happen to kind of light a fire under Congress to actually compromise and get something done,” says Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, in an interview with Axios earlier this month.

“You have to wonder whether that spark is going to be in the economic data or in the stock market.”

Catch up quick: It’s unclear what will happen when President-elect Joe Biden, who has championed support for a big relief package, takes office — particularly if Republicans hold onto the Senate.

There’s nearly no hope of additional support before year-end, and the current safety nets are set to expire.

What’s going on: While you were readying for turkey, a parade of data revealed a potentially troubling combination of rising layoffs, falling income and plummeting consumer confidence.

But pick your economic narrative: Millions are suffering, but economic conditions haven’t completely buckled from the backdrop of an outbreak that’s worse than ever before. The data are nowhere as bad as they were when the pandemic first hit.

Details: Regular state unemployment filings, which are an imperfect proxy for layoffs, rose to nearly 828,000. It’s the first time initial claims have risen for two straight weeks since July. Add in applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, and new claims hit 1.1 million.

New claims continue to be worse than any time in pre-pandemic history. Still, they’ve fallen well-below the horrific print of nearly 7 million new weekly applicants at the onset of the pandemic.

Beyond the headline figures, it’s clear that more people are running through regular state benefits as unemployment lingers for longer.

Income: Personal income fell 0.7% from the prior month, while consumer spending rose 0.5% in October. That’s stronger than economists expected, but still the slowest spending pace since the recovery began.

The personal saving rate continued to slide to 13.6% in October. That’s still the highest level in years.

Consumer confidence: An index that measures consumers’ view of current economic conditions actually rose to 87 in November from 85.9 last month, according to the University of Michigan.

But the expectations index (which measures how consumers feel about prospects in the economy over the next six months) dropped almost 9 points to 70.5.

The backdrop: The shiny stock market — betting on a vaccine, ongoing support from the Fed and some sort of coronavirus aid package — is thriving.

As of Friday, the Dow is up 12.9% in November — its best month since January 1987, when the Dow rose 13.8%, according to FactSet.

The S&P and Nasdaq are set for their best monthly performances since April, CNBC notes.

The bottom line: At the onset of the pandemic, previously unthinkable numbers of Americans were filing for unemployment and the stock market was cratering fast — pushing Congress to move quickly. The backdrop now is drastically different.

What’s next: The November jobs report — out Friday morning — is expected to show the economy added 433,000 payrolls, according to a FactSet estimate.

In any other context, that’s a healthy job gain.

But it’s paltry compared to the 4.8 million jobs added in June, when growth began to slow every month.

Courtesy: (Axios)

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As recovery picks up steam, China’s fallen stocks gain 5% in November

SHANGHAI, Nov 30 (Reuters) – China stocks ended lower on Monday, but posted gains in November, underpinned by stocks in traditional industries, as more data pointed to a continued recovery in the world’s second-largest economy against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index .CSI300 fell 0.4%, to 4,960.25, while the Shanghai Composite index .SSEC slipped 0.5% to 3,391.76, reversing earlier gains as investors booked profits.

** Sentiment was hit by concerns over Sino-U.S. tensions.

** The Trump administration is poised to add China’s top chipmaker SMIC 0981.HK and national offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC 0883.HK to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, according to a document and sources.

** Though for the month CSI300 gained 5.6%, while SSEC added 5.2%, both posted their biggest monthly advance since July.

** Leading the gains for the month, the Shanghai SE50 index .SSE50, which tracks the 50 most representative traditional stocks on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, rallied 5.8%.

** China’s factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in more than three years in November, while growth in the services sector also hit a multi-year high, as the country’s economic recovery from the virus outbreak stepped up.

** Upbeat data released on Monday suggested the world’s second-largest economy was on track to become the first to completely shake off the drag from widespread industry shutdowns, with recent production data showing manufacturing now at pre-pandemic levels.

** The main reason for the strong rally was China’s continued recovery, said Zhang Gang, an analyst with China Central Securities.

** The cyclicals rally would also continue for a while as their valuations remain low, at least before China’s Lunar New Year holiday if investors do not find good opportunities in growth players, Zhang added.

Courtesy: Nasdaq

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European investors await Brexit, shares slip at end of stellar month

Nov 30 (Reuters) – Europe’s benchmark stock index opened lower on Monday with focus on Brexit negotiations, but was still on track for its best month on record on the prospect of easing coronavirus restrictions and hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine.

After face-to-face talks restarted on Saturday, investors await news of a call between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, seen as the first sign of movement either towards a trade deal or of talks crumbling five weeks ahead of the deadline.

London’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.3%, while the pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.5% after four weeks of gains which have seen it rise nearly 15% so far in November.

Oil and gas stocks were the biggest decliners in Europe, down 2%, with BP and Royal Dutch Shell sliding as crude prices fell ahead of a meeting of producer group OPEC+ to decide whether to extend large output cuts to balance global markets.