Makkah, Karachi chambers to ink MoU boosting bilateral trade

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Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki says interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments. (KCCI)
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Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki says interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments. (KCCI)
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Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki says interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments. (KCCI)
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Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki says interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments. (KCCI)
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Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki says interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments. (KCCI)
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Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki says interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments. (KCCI)
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Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki says interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments. (KCCI)
Updated 18 September 2019

Makkah, Karachi chambers to ink MoU boosting bilateral trade

  • Saudi Arabia is one of the top exporters to Pakistan
  • Mutual events and joint investment can help enhance bilateral business ties, says MCCI chief

KARACHI: Makkah and Karachi chambers of commerce and Industry have agreed to offer each other their respective premises for promotion of bilateral trade and investment, officials told Arab News on Tuesday.
“We have decided to sign an MoU under which the KCCI (Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry) will utilize the facilities of MCCI (Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry) in Saudi Arabia and the MCCI will utilize KCCI facilities for growth of bilateral trade and investment,” Junaid Ismail Makda, president of the KCCI told Arab News from Makkah who is on official visit of kingdom.
The two sides also agreed to exchange trade delegations to explore existing trade and investment opportunities in both countries, Makda said.
The Saudi delegation was led by Hisham Muhammad Kaaki, Chairman of the MCCI and also comprised of Ibrahim Fuad Bardeesi, secretary General of the Makkah Chamber and Fahad S. Damanhouri, Director of International Relations department of Makkah Chamber.
Makda who met with the officials of Saudi Export Development Authority (SEDA) on Monday, said that the authority had expressed its desire to host Pakistani importers of assorted products including construction and PVC pipes.
Earlier on Friday, the MCCI chief met with his Pakistani counterpart in Karachi to explore ways of jointly developing the business sector of the two countries.
The meeting, headed by the visiting Saudi official, aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and to mull over areas of shared interests for the business community in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
Kaaki said that the visit to KCCI would help strengthen mutual cooperation, exchange of expertise, arrange bilateral visits and events, in addition to organizing forums and exhibitions to help develop private sector and result in strong ties between the entrepreneurs on both sides.
He added that interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments.
He lauded the relations between the two countries noting that he highly valued his visit to KCCI, which was Pakistan’s largest business body.
Ismail highlighted that Pakistan had a well developed textile and military industry, in addition to offering prospects in technology sector, civil engineering and other scopes of mutual interest. Organizing exhibitions would help strengthen bilateral ties indeed, he said.
The non-oil Saudi exports to Pakistan in the last five years are estimated at SR17 billion ($4.42 billion), including food items and construction material estimated at SR191 million and SR965 million respectively.
The Kingdom is one of the top exporters to Pakistan, while the latter exports textile goods, cloth, processed cotton, rice, meat, fruits, vegetables, spices, leather products, electronic and chemicals to Saudi Arabia.


Legislators, stakeholders decide to revive defunct Pakistan Steel Mills

Updated 21 October 2019

Legislators, stakeholders decide to revive defunct Pakistan Steel Mills

  • Senate body decides to clear Rs14-15 billion of workers’ dues in 18 months, Senator Aurangzeb Khan tells Arab News
  • The mill’s closure has cost the country Rs50 billion during the last 14 months: Stakeholders

KARACHI: Pakistan’s legislators and stakeholders on Monday decided to revive the country’s largest lossmaking public sector megacorporation, the Pakistan Steel Mills, and clear about Rs15 billion belonging to its workers, a senator and stakeholders confirmed to Arab News on Monday.

A meeting of Senate’s Standing Committee on Industries and Production was held to review the revival plan of the Pakistan Steel Mills which has remained non-functional since June 2015 after witnessing a decline in its production since 2008.

“The steel mill will be revived and for that, we have scheduled an advisory meeting in the next 15 days that will determine our future course of action. Today’s meeting was attended by professionals and they have informed us that the mill is 100 percent in working condition. They also maintained that some vested interest groups do not want to run the steel mills,” said Senator Aurangzeb Khan, member of the standing committee.

“When and how to restart the steel mills will be decided in the next meeting,” he assured.

The Pakistan Steel Mills was constructed in 1973 under an agreement signed between the country’s administration and the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) in 1971. The Soviets also agreed to provide technical and financial assistance for the construction work.

The senator said that the accumulated dues of workers and stakeholders had increased to around Rs15 billion since the closure of the mill.

“The steel mill is closed and the workers’ dues have accumulated to Rs14-15 billion. Today we have decided that the dues will be paid in 18-month installments of Rs5 billion which will be released in six months each,” Khan said.

Pakistan is also seeking Chinese and Russian help to revive the steel mills, though the stakeholders informed the senate body they could revive it on their own with local expertise.

“We don’t need any Chinese or Russian experts; we can run the mill with local expertise. Machinery and specialists, if needed, will be allowed to hire,” Mumrez Khan, the convener of the PSM Stakeholders’ Group, comprising employees, pensioners, suppliers, dealers, and contractors, told Arab News.

The incumbent government of Prime Minister Imran Khan is looking at various options to revive the steel mills that include induction of professional management, but no final decision has so far been made in this connection.

“The daily losses are estimated to be around Rs120 million due to the closure of plants,” Mumrez Khan claimed, adding that during the last 14 months of the current administration the closure of the mill has cost the country Rs50 billion.

The stakeholders made the revival of the mill contingent on the reconstitution of the board of directors by inducting relevant experts and professional management.

They also insisted on initiating the accountability process against people responsible for its closure, asking the government to refer their cases to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and instruct the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to recover the mill’s dues.

“The steel import tariff must be rationalized to provide level playing field to all the competitors in the country,” Khan added, claiming that “the revival of the steel mills will add Rs100 billion revenue.”

“I have informed the legislators that the accumulated losses of the steel mills have jumped to about $11 billion due to the closure of plants and imports of steel products,” he said.

Pakistan is also mulling to privatize this lossmaking public entity but no decision has so far been taken. However, it was decided that the defunct entity would be revived before taking any final decision regarding its privatization.

Spread over an area of 18,600 acres with 10,390 acres for the main plant, the Pakistan Steel Mills is located 40 kilometers from Karachi in the Port Qasim vicinity. The PSM had a production capacity of 1.1 million tons of steel which was expandable to 3 million tons per annum. The main PSM products included coke, pig iron, billets, cold-rolled sheets, hot-rolled sheets, and galvanized sheets.