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The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) have conveyed to the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) that non-resident individuals are not required to be “filers” for opening foreign currency bank accounts in Pakistan. This has been declared by Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera in an own motion (OM) investigation against systemic maladministration of the Department (Deptt) whereby the non-resident aspirants before opening a foreign currency account were required to file returns of income.According to the order, precisely, a large number of non-resident citizens of Pakistan origin were facing hardship in operating their foreign currency bank accounts maintained in Pakistan. They were required to file returns of income, at the time of opening of bank accounts, on an interpretation issued by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) vide Circular letter No. 5 dated 12th April 2018 read with Protection of Economic Reforms (PER) (Amendment) Ordinance 2018.

The treatment was prima facie in violation of the express provisions of Section 114 of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 (the Ordinance) whereby the non-residents were not under an obligation to file returns of their foreign income. Thus on account of conflicting interpretations, the non-residents foreign currency account holders had to go through this hardship.

The matter was sent for comments to the secretary Revenue Division. In response thereto, the FBR submitted comments of the Member (IR-Policy) FBR. It was contended that it is the “resident individual who is required to file return of income under Section 114 as defined in terms of section 82 of the Ordinance.” It was further contended that cumulative reading of section 114 of the Ordinance, PER (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 and the SBP’s Circular No. 05 dated 12th April 2018, clearly shows that a non-resident was not required to be a “filer”. The bank authorities might have some internal administrative issue, which can ‘only be resolved by the SBP.The deputy director SBP also submitted comments vide letter dated April 19, 2019, contending that keeping in view the issue, a clarification had been issued by the Director Exchange Policy Department (EPD) SBP to all authorised dealers (banks). Evidently, the issue was related to the banks misinterpretation of law, which has duly been clarified by the SBP vide EPD Circular’ Letter No. 7 dated 19th April 2019, contents whereof are reproduced below:

“Attention of authorised dealers is invited to the second provision of sub-section of the Section (5) of the PERA 1992 which Inter alia, states that: “Provided that no cash shall be deposited in an account of citizen of Pakistan resident in Pakistan, unless the account holder is filer as defined in the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.

“It has come to our notice that some authorised dealers are not allowing non-residents to open and maintain foreign currency accounts on the pretext that they are not appearing as “filer” in the Active Taxpayer’s List of FBR. “However, it is evident from the aforementioned Proviso that the instructions, contained therein, are not applicable to non-residents.”

In view of the clarification issued by the SBP vide Director EPD’s Circular letter No. 07 of 2019 dated 19th April 2019, the systemic issue under reference stands resolved. The investigation is, therefore, closed and the file be consigned to record, the FTO added.



KARACHI: To raise their voice for the release of all those poor Pakistani fishermen languishing in Indian jails for having mistakenly crossed over to Indian waters while fishing on the high seas, the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) organised a protest and sit-in outside the Karachi Press Club on Thursday.

Fisherfolk from as far as Thatta and Sujawal joined the fishermen of Karachi to protest along with the wives and children of the fishermen in jails.

They were holding banners inscribed with slogans such as ‘Stop arresting poor fishermen’, ‘Stop sending fishermen in coffins’, ‘Indian terrorism unacceptable’, ‘Let fishermen earn their livelihood’, etc.

‘The families of fishermen don’t know when their loved ones will return home, or if they will come back alive even’

The protest was led by PFF chairman Mohammad Ali Shah.

Showing grave concern over the constant arrests of fishermen on both sides, with Pakistani fishermen locked up in Indian jails and Indian fishermen locked away in Pakistani jails, he said that it was an issue of human rights, which were being violated.

“Currently there are more than 127 Pakistani fishermen languishing in Indian jails,” he said, adding that the arrests of fishermen on both sides had been going on since 1987.

“And escalation of war between Pakistan and India always makes matters worse for these poor fishermen,” he said. And this, he added was despite both Pakistan and India being signatories to the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea.

“Article 73 of the convention clearly states that no fisherman can be arrested while fishing on the high seas, nor can he be punished or apprehended,” he said while praising Pakistan’s decision of releasing 355 Indian fishermen as a goodwill gesture. He hoped that the Indian government would also appreciate the gesture.

Gulab Shah of the PFF said that the families of those fishermen doing time in Indian jails felt frustrated. “In many cases their only earning member has been taken away from them. And they are living on other people’s charity,” he said.

Nur Mohammad Themour, also from the PFF, said that the families of fishermen were also afraid. “They are afraid as they don’t know when their fathers, brothers and husbands will return home and if they will come back home alive even,” he said.

The governments of both Pakistan and India have been urged to come up with a fishermen-friendly policy so that the poor fishermen of either country don’t have to suffer like this anymore.



ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi on Friday said Pakistan’s armed forces were well prepared to give a befitting response to any misadventure by India. He said the Pulwama attack was being used as a pretext by India to escalate tension. The president said this while addressing army officers undergoing training at the Command and Staff College, Quetta, at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

The president stated that Pakistan would not tolerate any violation of its territorial integrity and reserves the right to self-defence. He underlined that Pakistan was a peaceful and sovereign country, desirous of having good relations with all its neighbours, including India.

The president lauded the role and sacrifices of armed forces, law enforcement agencies and civil administration in addressing the challenges of lawlessness and terrorism. He stated that despite facing many challenges, Pakistan was now heading in right direction, adding that the country was now more stable and stronger than before and many opportunities are knocking at its door.

President Dr. Arif Alvi said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has the potential to change the fate of the region for better. He further said Balochistan would gain specifically from the CPEC project and immense opportunities of employment would be created for its youth.

The president commended the role of Command and Staff College, Quetta, in imparting quality and strategic training to officers of Pak Army and those from the allied countries. He hoped that training received at this premier military institution would prove to be an asset for the trainee officers with the help of which they would be able to utilise their abilities and full potential in the service of the motherland.



NEW YORK: Boeing announced Friday it would cut the production schedule of its 737 aircraft line following the two recent crashes that have seen the 737 MAX grounded worldwide.

The aerospace giant plans to trim production to 42 planes per month, down from 52 per month, starting in mid-April. Boeing shares tumbled after the disclosure, which was released just after the closing bell on Wall Street.

Boeing also announced it was establishing an advisory panel to review its company-wide policies for designing and developing planes.

The Federal Aviation Administration earlier this week said more work was needed before the aerospace giant could even submit a proposed fix that is believed to be a factor in the disasters.

Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg described the production cut as temporary and said it would not affect current employment levels for the 737 and related programs.

“We are coordinating closely with our customers as we work through plans to mitigate the impact of this adjustment,” Muilenburg said in a statement.

“We will also work directly with our suppliers on their production plans to minimize operational disruption and financial impact of the production rate change.”

Boeing has continued to manufacture 737s since the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash killed 157 people, the second deadly crash in five months after an October 2018 Lion Air crash killed 189 people.

However, Boeing has been unable to make deliveries of the planes to customers, a key stoppage that will dent revenues. Boeing is scheduled to report first-quarter results on April 24.

On Thursday, an initial report by the Ethiopia Transport Ministry found that the crew of the doomed plane repeatedly followed procedures recommended by Boeing, confirming concerns about the flight control system on the plane.

Scrutiny has centered on the plane’s anti-stall system, Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which is believed to be at least partly at fault.

The Washington Post on Thursday that US regulators had ordered Boeing to fix a second flight-control problem, not related to MCAS, but which officials nevertheless deemed critical to flight safety.

The head of the FAA faced tough questioning from a Senate panel last month. Top Boeing officials are expected at a follow-up hearing that could also be contentious.

Boeing said the new advisory panel will be led by retired US Navy Admiral Edmund Giambastiani, former vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“The committee will confirm the effectiveness of our policies and processes for assuring the highest level of safety on the 737 MAX program, as well as our other airplane programs, and recommend improvements to our policies and procedures,” Muilenburg said.

“Safety is our responsibility and we own it.”

Shares of Boeing fell 2.3 percent to $382.92 in after-hours trading.



NEW YORK: US Treasury yields climbed to 1-1/2 week highs on Wednesday as hopes for a trade deal between China and the United States and a breakthrough for Brexit touched off a sell-off in the bond market.

Encouraging data in China and Europe soothed some worries about a global economic slowdown, reducing the safe-haven appeal of low-yield US government debt.

Weaker-than-forecast figures on US private jobs growth and services industry activities limited the selling in Treasuries.

“The market is looking for direction right now. People are waiting for the next shoe to drop,” said Larry Milstein, head of government and agency trading at R.W. Pressprich & Co in New


At 10:42 a.m. (1442 GMT), the yields on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were 2.5062%, up 0.03 percentage point from Tuesday. They hit a 1-1/2 week peak of 2.524% earlier Wednesday.

Their premium over three-month bill rates grew to 8 basis points from more than 4 basis points late on Tuesday.

Last Thursday, 10-year yields fell below three-month rates for the first time since 2007, stoking fears of a recession. This inversion between the two yields preceded every economic downturn in the past 50 years.

For now, those fears were replaced by traders’ optimism for a successful outcome in the latest round of trade talks between senior White House and Beijing officials.

A possible end to the trade fight between the world’s two biggest economies will likely bolster stock prices and put more upward pressure on bond yields, traders and analysts said.

“If they could cut a deal, that would be positive for risky assets,” Milstein said.

A meeting between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn fed hopes for a breakthrough to reach a parliamentary approval of a deal for an orderly exit for Britain from the European Union.

In addition to those developments, upbeat overseas data lifted investor sentiment.

The Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 54.4, the highest since January 2018.

Euro zone retail sales increased 0.4 percent in February, more than the 0.2 percent gain forecast among analysts polled by Reuters.

Wednesday’s data on the US economy, however, were dour by comparison.

The Institute for Supply Management said its index on activity among US services industries fell to a 1-1/2 year low in March, while ADP reported the private sector added 129,000 workers last month, the fewest since September 2017.



FRANKFURT: Microsoft Corp and BMW Group on Tuesday launched an initiative to create an Open Manufacturing Platform that seeks to stimulate innovation and accelerate the development of ‘smart’ factories.

It’s the second alliance of its kind in a week after Volkswagen and Amazon Web Services teamed up to connect the German car maker’s 122 group plants to improve production systems and processes.

Both deals reflect a push by ‘hyperscale’ cloud computing providers to capture and manage the terabytes of data thrown off by the network of connected devices such as robots and sensors that make up the so-called Internet of Things (IoT).

“Microsoft is joining forces with the BMW Group to transform digital production efficiency across the industry,” Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Microsoft Cloud + AI Group, said of the alliance that was

“Microsoft is joining forces with the BMW Group to transform digital production efficiency across the industry,” Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Microsoft Cloud + AI Group, said of the alliance that was announced during the Hanover Messe industrial trade fair.

“Our commitment to building an open community will create new opportunities for collaboration across the entire manufacturing value chain.”

The platform will be built on the Microsoft Azure IIoT cloud platform, which BMW already uses. Its reference architecture will be based on open-source standards, an approach designed to encourage other partners to join in.

Microsoft, in a statement, said the goal was to have an initial set of four to six partners in place by the end of 2019 and a minimum of 15 initial use cases deployed in a production setting.

BMW already has 3,000 machines, robots and autonomous transport systems connected with its own IIoT platform that is built on Microsoft Azure. It said it would contribute some of its initial use cases to the project.



SAN FRANCISCO/DUBAI (Reuters) – Global ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc will spend $3.1 billion to acquire Middle East rival Careem, buying dominance in a competitive region ahead of a hotly anticipated initial public offering.


Uber said late on Monday night it would pay $1.4 billion in cash and $1.7 billion in convertible notes in a deal that gives it full ownership of Careem. The long-expected agreement ends more than nine months of start-and-stop negotiations between the two companies and hands Uber a much-needed victory after a series of overseas divestments.

The notes will be convertible into Uber shares at a price equal to $55 apiece, Uber said, marking a nearly 13 percent increase over Uber’s share price in its last financing round, led by SoftBank Group Corp more than a year ago.



Credit and debit card transactions in Brazil are likely to grow 16 percent in 2019, reaching 1.8 trillion reais ($465 billion), industry group Abecs said on Tuesday in a statement.

In 2018, card transactions went up 14.5 percent, as more Brazilians used cards instead of cash to pay for goods and services.

Abecs said card transactions are expected to reach 40 percent of Brazilian families’ consumption in 2019, up roughly 2 percentage points from the last three months of 2018



The German  government approved tax relief on Wednesday  for families amounting to some 10 billion euros ($11.62 billion)a year, returning to the public a slice of its bountiful revenues in the hope of fuelling a consumption-led upswing.

The approved package includes increasing the monthly child allowance by 10 euros per child this year and next and raising the tax-free yearly income threshold for families by some 400 euros over the next two years. The lower house, the Bundestag, will be asked to vote on the package after its summer break. The measures will take effect next year.

The lower house, the Bundestag, will be asked to vote on the package after its summer break. The measures will take effect next year.

They include adjusting the progressive tax system so that families are left with more cash to spend.

The German economy has been enjoying an unusually prolonged upswing since 2010 and the federal government has kept a balanced budget since 2014.

The economy started cooling this year after expanding by 2.5 percent last year. But economists expect the upswing to continue, albeit at a lower pace, driven mainly by private consumption. ($1 = 0.8607 euros) (Reporting by Tom Koerkemeier, writing by Joseph Nasr, editing by Larry King)




The FBI is investigating after the Chinese government hacked a US Navy contractor and stole highly sensitive security data, US media say.

Data stolen in the breach include plans for a supersonic missile project, US officials told the Washington Post.

The attacks, in January and February this year, were confirmed by CBS News.

Hackers targeted a contractor linked to a US military organisation that conducts research and development for submarines and underwater weaponry.

In a separate development, a former US intelligence officer was convicted on charges of giving top-secret documents to a Chinese agent.


Kevin Mallory, 61, was found guilty under the federal Espionage Act on Friday. He is due to be charged on 21 September and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison, the US justice department said in a statement.






In the case of the US Navy contractor, US officials told the Washington Post that the firm had been working for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, a military organisation based in Newport, Rhode Island.

They added that among the material accessed were data relating to a project known as Sea Dragon, as well as information held within the navy submarine development unit’s electronic warfare library.

Plans included an anti-ship missile system to be installed on US submarines by 2020.

While the data was stored on an unclassified network belonging to the contractor, it is considered highly sensitive due to the nature of the technology under development and the links to military projects.

A commander of the US Navy, Bill Speaks, said that measures were in place requiring companies to notify the government when a “cyber incident” had occurred on networks that contained “controlled unclassified information”.

“It would be inappropriate to discuss further details at this time,” he added.

The investigation is being led by the Navy with the assistance of the FBI, officials said.


On Friday, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis ordered a review into possible cybersecurity issues relating to the contractor, CBS News reports, citing the Pentagon inspector general’s office.

The news comes days before a summit in Singapore at which US President Donald Trump will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who counts Beijing among his allies.