Press Coverage - APBF

Press Coverage

25 Mar,2021

APBF launched the Hungary Pakistan Trade & Economic Window Today!

07 Feb,2021

APBF expresses solidarity with Kashmiris. APBF President Mr. Syed Maaz Mahmood said Pak-India’s $37b trade potential can’t be exploited due to Indian attempts to escalate LoC tension. APBF and the business community of Pakistan always stand with Kashmiris.

17 Dec 2020

The All Pakistan Business Forum President Syed Maaz Mahmood, while sharing his vision of sustainable economic growth, has said the real solution to Pakistan’s problems lies in reforms, as we can see very large inefficiencies in tax collection and stagnant exports growth.

APBF President stressed that the focus should be on promoting exports and restricting imports alongside making the domestic industry more competitive and subsequently expand its export market.

He said that exports of goods and services are an injection into the circular flow of income leading to a rise in aggregate demand and an expansion of output, helping raise per-capita incomes and reduce extreme poverty especially in developing economies like Pakistan.

He said the tax compliance must be improved and the tax base is broadened, which cannot be achieved with a single policy change, but by a systemic approach, he added. He observed the government preferred direct taxation to meet revenue shortfall as opposed to resorting to increasing indirect taxes because direct taxes tend to be more progressive in nature, therefore, the burden on the lower-income strata of the population is lesser.

President Syed Maaz Mahmood, in a statement, emphasized that concentrating on import substitution is imperative to narrow import bills and certain imported products such as oil are of a fixed nature, therefore, the government needs to enhance focus on import substitution industries, as chemicals, agriculture, and steel are potential industries.

He said that undertaking structural reforms require political will. He said that enacting structural reforms, such as improvements in the tax collection system, bureaucracy, and ease of doing business requires major political will and strict implementation of policies, he added.

He stressed the need for reforms, with a keen focus on value-addition for sustainable economic growth, recommending the government to raise exports to double-digit of the GDP, as Pakistan’s exports have bounced back after witnessing a decline.

President Syed Maaz Mahmood said that consistent borrowing by developing economies to shore up their reserves in desperate times is only to lead towards a debt trap. He said that borrowing from friendly countries should only be seen as a short-term solution to prevent reserves depletion and consequent further depreciation of the currency.

APBF Chairman Ibrahim Qureshi said that world trade has not still come out of the dip in the wake of the lingering corona pandemic, as exports of regional countries including India and Bangladesh registered a decline but Pakistan’s exports bounced back.

Regarding market diversification, the APBF leaders pointed out that not much progress has been shown in this regard, as the exports still seem to be heavily dependent on traditional export markets. He underlined the need for evaluating geographical diversification in order to re-align the focus towards new opportunities. The government agencies will have to extend all kinds of necessary support to the exporters in order to achieve the targets, not only in terms of numbers but also with regards to intended policy outcomes.

He observed that the World Bank, IMF, and donor agencies should be considered as a stop-gap arrangement, which may have forced excessive devaluation, steep monetary tightening, cut in development and defense expenditures. Loans simply serve to bridge the gap until the effects of the reforms take effect. The problem occurs if the country takes loans but fails to reform, he added.

16 Nov, 2020

The government is fully committed to convert the youth of Pakistan into an economic force as the country has the largest population of young people ever recorded in history. Special Advisor to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar stated this while talking to All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) President Syed Maaz Mahmood today. He said that a huge investment is being made in the youth to capitalize on the immense potential of the country.

Usman Dar said that the first-ever comprehensive National Youth Development Framework (NYDF) had been developed to ensure quality education, gainful employment, and meaningful engagement of youth in economic activities. There are three phases of a successful youth program; the first phase is of a loan of Rs100, 000 to Rs1 million with a markup of only 3 percent. So far loans of Rs5.9 billion have been given to the youth. Under the Successful Youth Program Scheme, no political affiliation is taken into account for the loan, he added.

The advisor said that Pakistan is the fifth most populous country in the world. Currently, it has the largest population of young people ever recorded in national history. As many as 64 percent of Pakistanis are below the age of 30, and 29 percent are aged between 15-29 years while the youth between 15-29 years make up 41.6 percent of Pakistan’s total labor force. Kamyab Jawan program is aimed at polishing the skills and abilities of the youth so that they could emerge as job providers and economy boosters instead of job seekers, he said.

On the occasion, APBF President Syed Maaz Mahmood called for promoting technical and skills development in the country, stating that only skilled youth can match the private sector’s human resource requirements, besides uplifting the national economy especially in a post-corona economic slowdown.

17 Oct, 2020

With a view to further promote Pakistan-Hungary bilateral trade, the Embassy of Pakistan in Budapest is on the look for new opportunities and ways to enhance investments from Hungary to Pakistan.

The Embassy is also working to identify opportunities for promoting Pakistan’s quality exports and pin-point most potential sectors for joint ventures between suitable Hungarian and Pakistani companies for technology transfers. These views were expressed by Pakistani Ambassador in Hungary Dr. Muhammad Aejaz while addressing a webinar organized by the All Pakistan Business Forum.

Dr. Muhammad Aejaz said Pakistan was one of the important trade partners of Hungary and both countries have the ability to further strengthen mutual trade and economic ties. He said efforts were required to transform cordial and brotherly relations into two-way trade for enhancing economic prosperity in both countries. Pakistan Embassy in Hungary is focused on a wide range of programs to collaborate with the Hungarian business community including trade, education, public diplomacy, culture, gender equity, and development to seek good partners.

Dilating on the similarities between Pakistan and Hungary, he said that like Pakistan, agriculture remains the foundation of the Hungarian economy. The country has, however, adopted a scientific approach and different modern technologies in making its agricultural practices efficient with a much higher per acre yield. Pakistan can greatly benefit from Hungary’s experience in this regard.

“Hungarian development-experience model was very relevant for us as it has successfully overcome all the roadblocks, many of which were still serious issues in Pakistan.” He asked the Pakistani companies to send their queries and any new ideas on future collaboration with selected counterparts in Hungary.

APBF president Syed Maaz Mahmood said that the Forum through the Hungarian and Pakistani Embassies would arrange B2B meetings, conducting business delegation visits for sector-specific match-making and interaction between development initiatives and the stakeholders. APBF founding chairman and Chairman Punjab Industrial Estate Development and Management Company Syed Nabeel Hashmi also spoke on the occasion.

07 Oct 2020

Italian Ambassador in Pakistan Andreas Ferrarese has asked Pakistan to join hands to work together with a view to minimize losses and enhance productivity in the post-Covid-19 worldwide economic crunch.

In a meeting with APBF President Syed Maaz Mahmood and Secretary-General Khurram Niaz Khan, the newly-appointed Italian Ambassador said his country gives utmost importance to its relations with Pakistan, and all-out efforts would be made to boost the economic ties.

The Ambassador admired the dynamic role of APBF towards creating an enabling environment for businesses to perform well and invest confidently in Pakistan. He also appreciated the APBF for supporting the diplomatic community in Pakistan which is engaged in various efforts to strengthen international trade and harmony.

Both sides agreed to enhance mutual ties, especially in areas of trade and economy. The APBF and the Italian Embassy reached an understanding to cooperate in key developmental areas like promotion of mutual trade links, facilitation of closer understanding between the business communities of Italy and Pakistan, facilitation of B2B meetings and visits of business delegates, increasing educational ties and working in collaboration for social development.

Andreas Ferrarese informed the APBF leadership that Italy has affected worse due to Covid-19 as compared to the other countries but the Italian government and nation remained committed to fighting against the pandemic.

Syed Maaz Mahmood acknowledged the valuable collaboration of Italy in a wide range of programs including trade, health, education, public diplomacy, and development in Pakistan. He reiterated that the APBF will continue to put its best efforts into establishing the most favorable business environment in Pakistan, and will identify and engage resourceful organizations and vital entrepreneurs to create and seize new opportunities for mutual development and growth.

25 sep, 2020

EU envoy calls on Pakistan to diversify products

Stresses value-addition to exploit the full potential of market access under GSP Plus

European Union Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara has stressed the need for product diversity and more value-addition to exploit the full potential of market access to the countries under the GSP Plus regime.

During a meeting held with All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) President Syed Maaz Mahmood and General Secretary Khurram Niaz Khan on Wednesday, both the sides discussed technical education, skills development, EU support for Pakistan in technical and vocational education and training, women entrepreneurship, and role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for economic growth.

The ambassador discussed various ideas for providing support to the freelancers in the IT sector, handicraft, and tourism, with the focus on creating linkages within the EU to open new markets for the products.

The APBF and the EU agreed to work on women entrepreneurship, better labor laws, promotion of SME sector, freelancers IT resource along with other projects. Kamara was of the view that the EU is the biggest export market for Pakistani goods, as it accounts for about one-third of all Pakistani exports.

The ambassador said, “The European Union fully backed Pakistan’s efforts to overcome the socioeconomic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and build back better for a more sustainable future.”

She stated that the EU-Pakistan bilateral relations received a major boost when the Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP) was signed in June 2019, to further enhance engagement between the two sides, and address emerging global challenges.

11 Sep 2020

The business community has underscored the need for a review of economic policies keeping in view that the large-scale manufacturing (LSM) output dropped 10.3% in the first 11 months of the fiscal year 2019-20.

In a statement on Thursday, All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) President Syed Maaz Mahmood said that the large industrial sector, which had been shrinking even before the deadly pandemic hit the economy, contracted further during this period.

Mahmood highlighted that Covid-19 has adversely impacted the global economy as well as the trade and industrial sectors of Pakistan. “Covid-19 started affecting Pakistan from the third week of March 2020, however, large industries were struggling even before that,” he said.

The official was of the view that industrial activity could pick up pace in the new fiscal year with the implementation of envisaged policy measures.