Letters To The Editor

Your efforts to highlight the mining sector are indeed worth appreciating.  It would be great, if you would also cover the Kalabagh iron refinery project. A steel mill was to be set up at Kalabagh.  Kalabagh has the largest reserves of iron ore in Pakistan. This proposed Steel Mill at Kalabagh should be given priority because it will not only provide job opportunities, but steel production within the country will also increase. The best thing about this project is its reliance on the local iron ore deposits. It allows this proposed Steel Mill to produce steel at cheaper rate than presently being produced by PSM due to its imported and expensive iron ore. Pakistan Steel Mills is in losses and a huge burden on the economy. Pakistan needs all the foreign direct investments it can rope in at this juncture.  Presently, a Chinese company is interested in setting up a steel mill at the said location. We should all hope that the project sees the light of the day.
Naira Imtiaz
The recent tragic accident in a coal mine at Shangla, Balochistan, where 37 precious lives have been lost shows the horrible working condition in mines.  It's an open secret that mine owners treat the workers very poorly with no regard for their health and safety. Most workers live a life of abject poverty. They are neither registered with EOBI nor provided medical coverage in case of an accident. It is indeed appalling that the hand that works all its life to extract the precious mineral dies a life of a pauper. I would urge your magazine to raise a voice against this grave injustice.
Kamal Azfar
The survey conducted by your magazine changed my perception of how our society perceives brands. I was surprised that many companies which are considered popular were given a lower rating by the consumers. The single important factor determining the market share is service quality and after sales services.  Similarly, when it comes to news channels, the smaller channels were liked more than their seemingly more popular counterparts. Same trend is seen in banking, Airline and hospitality industry. The indication for businesses is obvious that the mindset of the consumer is changing and instead of big names quality products will determine the market leader.
Aafan Tariq
There are many important issues which need immediate attention by the government and policy makers. The most important aspect is the weak infrastructure and government subsidies for mining sector. Big deposits like Thar coal and Reko Dik should be opened for local mine owners and allotted in small chunks, as the impact of this micro business model will be greater than a single mega investment. Policy makers must understand that we need employment and like China, cottage industry not Mega Projects are the right way as cottage industry requires less investment. Once we are into the international market with our locally developed products, demand and supply will automatically balance out. We desperately need to develop the cottage industry sector and that too not with foreign investment but local investments so that the return is ours.
Arshad Hussian
The cover story you guys did on the mineral sector was indeed a bulk load of information. I totally agree that Pakistan is endowed with extensive geological potential. But, at the same time I feel to know that how much we lag in technology. The importance given to technology implementation is next to nothing, same outdated infrastructure, the lack of trainings, little investment and high duties on import of machinery are the factors which I believe are the major reasons e.g.  Balochistan is rich in mineral resources including coal, copper, gold and gas, but poor extraction techniques and lack of specialized mac- hinery results in lower output and wastage. Lending institutions and banks must come forward at this time by providing soft loans for technology up gradation and machinery.
Waseem Akhter
The mini budget announced by the federal government is nothing short of a bombshell. Rumors are rife that the government buckled under the pressure of IMF, after it failed to implement the reformed general sales tax (RGST). The new tax measures include a one-time imposition of 15% flood surcharge on income tax, withdrawal of sales tax exemption on agricultural inputs, increase in special excise duty (SED) to 2.5%, withdrawal of zero rating facility to plant, machinery including the major export oriented sectors of textiles, carpets, leather, sports and surgical goods. The effect of this mini budget will be more negative than positive, as the increased duty will make the machinery costly which will eventually make our exports non competitive internationally. Withdrawal of sales tax exemption on agricultural machinery will make raise the price of tractors etc which will in turn make the produce costly. The mini budget seems more an attempt to buy time for the government and run day to day affairs then a serious attempt to support the economy.
Nida Aftab