Pakistan reduces visa fee for Saudi nationals

Saudi ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki visited the headquarters of Pakistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in Karachi, on Dec.1, 2018. (Photo courtesy: Saudi Embassy in Islamabad)
Updated 06 December 2018
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Pakistan reduces visa fee for Saudi nationals

  • Both the countries have agreed to enhance trade and cultural ties
  • Riyadh has also expressed an interest in the mining and development of mineral resources in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s government announced on Thursday that it has reduced the visa fee for Saudi nationals who wish to travel to the country.
“The government of Pakistan has reduced the visit, tourist, study visa (60 US $) and business, work visa (90 US $) [fees] for Saudi nationals,” the Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh said in a tweet.

However, no further details were shared about the initiative.
In recent months, the two countries have agreed to enhance trade and cultural ties.
In September this year, Saudi Minister Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad visited Pakistan and discussed how the two allies could further broaden and deepen their relationship in the field of media and culture.
On December 1, Saudi ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki also visited the headquarters of Pakistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Karachi and discussed the investment opportunities between the two countries.

During Prime Minister Imran Khan’s second visit to Saudi Arabia on October 22, the Kingdom had also expressed an interest in the mining and development of mineral resources in Pakistan and in the country’s largest coastal refinery.
The multi-billion dollar project is being set up at the Khalifa Point, near the hub district in Balochistan, Sher Afghan Khan, spokesman for the Ministry of Energy (petroleum division) and a board member of Pakistan-Arab Refinery Limited (PARCO) confirmed to Arab News.
With an aim to attract even more tourists to the country, the Islamabad Embassy in Riyadh posted on its website: “Pakistan is a land blessed with an enormously-rich historical heritage, diverse culture, high adventure, and unmatched natural beauty.”
“We offer a unique and contrasted destination to behold the caravan of mankind across ages and precious beauties of nature, to the tourists of the world,” the embassy further added.
Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy a multifaceted and deep-rooted cooperation.
In October this year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman accepted PM Khan’s proposal to reduce the visa fee for Pakistani workers which Pakistan considers as a significant step toward enhancing its workforce in Saudi Arabia, as well as facilitating travel of people between both the countries.


Bulls welcome PM Khan to Karachi with 738-point stock market gain

Updated 10 December 2018
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Bulls welcome PM Khan to Karachi with 738-point stock market gain

  • Premier assures promotion of CPEC project listings and reduction of advance tax
  • Move would help increase volume and market capitalization, analysts say

KARACHI: Bulls from Pakistan’s equity market gave a rousing welcome to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday during the premier's visit to Karachi after he promised to create a conducive environment for investors which would include listings of projects from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative. 

The benchmark KSE-100 Index closed on Monday in the green zone, gaining 738 points – or 1.9 percent – and closed at the 39,300-level. Investors were mainly motivated by PM Khan’s meeting with a delegation from Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX). 
“Stocks showed a strong recovery after the PM’s affirmation of a fast-track enactment of PSX proposals on taxes, regulations, and CPEC debt listings,” Ahsan Mehanti, Chief Executive of Arif Habib Corporation, told Arab News. 
Oil and gas exploration companies led the recovery, as OPEC and Non-OPEC countries decided to cut oil production by 1.2 mbpd from January 2019 onwards. This attracted investors towards oil scrips, such as PPL (+5 percent), OGDC (+4.25 percent), POL (+3.66 percent) and MARI (+2.66 percent), and the sector added 257 points to the index. 
During the trading session, the volumes increased by 20 percent to 154 million while traded value fell by one percent to $48 million, according to Topline Securities. 
“Trade remained higher, led by oversold banking, cement, and auto stocks. Renewed institutional interest on likely rationalization of PSX taxes and government measures for raising investor confidence acted as a catalyst in the bullish close at PSX,” Mehanti added.
On Sunday, a delegation led by PSX Chairman Sulaiman Mehdi met the prime minister and discussed strategies to rejuvenate the stock market. 
“The meeting was very fruitful and the PM agreed to revive investors’ confidence in PSX,” a statement issued by the PSX, after the meeting, read. 
PM Khan assured the delegation that Advance Tax of 0.02 percent on purchase and sale of shares (both sides) would be reduced to 0.01 percent. He also agreed to allow capital losses to be carried forward to up to three years from the initial one year, rationalization of taxation of holding companies on inter corporate dividend; and rationalization of capital gain tax on equities in line with real estate in the next budget, the statement added. 
CPEC is the umbrella of the Chinese mega project under the One Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that is expected to stimulate economic activity across more than 65 countries. China is investing around $60 billion in Pakistan’s infrastructure and energy projects. 
PM Khan also assured the delegation of capital market to promote a listing of government and CPEC project debt at PSX. 
“It is good sign because it will increase the depth of the market following the listing of big Chinese companies,” Zafar Moti, former director of PSX, told Arab News. 
“There are many projects under CPEC, some of them have commenced operations and others are in the pipeline in public and privates sectors,” Muhamamd Sohail, CEO of Topline Securities, said. 
“The listing of CPEC projects will increase volume, market capitalization and, most importantly, shareholders, both Chinese and Pakistani, will know the real value of their projects after price discovery,” he added. 
PM Khan, during his daylong visit to Karachi, held separate meetings with different groups of traders, including with those from the Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Overseas Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 
Representatives from the business community expressed concerns over the recent devaluation of the rupee, interest rate hike and gas tariff increase, and raised the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess issue.