PM for level-playing field to local companies involved in e-commerce transactions

From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi yesterday directed Ministry of Commerce to continue engaging the private sector in finding solutions to the issues such as taxation and provision of level-playing field to the local companies involved in e-commerce transactions. He said this while chairing a briefing on e-commerce policy framework which was being formulated to promote and facilitate e-commerce transactions at PM Office.

The prime minister further directed that the policy framework to be finalized should aim at providing maximum facilitation and promoting ease of doing business through e-commerce facility.

The briefing was attended by Minister for Commerce and Textile Muhammad Pervaiz Malik, Minister for IT Anusha Rehman, Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal, State Bank governor, FBR chairman and senior government officials. Representatives of private sector involved in e-commerce business were also present during the meeting.

The prime minister appreciated the efforts of Ministry of Commerce, IT and all other departments concerned working on putting in place a robust mechanism to facilitate e-commerce in the country.

Economy gaining momentum despite challenges: Rana Afzal

ISLAMABAD: Tokhir N. Mirzoev, IMF Resident Representative for Pakistan, called on the Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhmmad Afzal Khan here Thursday.

Mirzoev congratulated the Minister on assuming his responsibilities as the Minister of State and wished him well in his tenure.

The Minister on the occasion said that despite challenges the economy was gaining momentum and growth in large scale manufacturing, improved exports and good management of imports were helping in overcoming difficulties.

The Minister expressed the confidence that future would bring new and better opportunities for Pakistan. He also added that CPEC would prove to be window of economic prosperity for Pakistan and benefit the whole region.

Mirzoev informed the Minister that his term would be expiring in March and he would be carrying home good memories of working in Pakistan.

The Minister wished Mirzoev the best in his future assignments. —Online

National bank of Pakistan upgrades custom house branch

By Rafay Siddiqui

Karachi: National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) has upgraded its Custom House branch to a modern facility to provide high quality and efficient services to its customers.

According to statement, Custom House Branch enhancements were initiated by Saeed Ahmad, President & CEO, NBP in April 2017 & subsequently inaugurated the recently.

NBP has been proactively working on its branch banking infrastructure to improve its systems and provide service of excellence to its customers which is in line with its vision of being the nation’s bank.

Speaking at this occasion of branch renovation ceremony Saeed Ahmad, President & CEO, NBP said, “When I visited the branch first time after taking the charge, I was very disappointed with the setup, congestion, overcrowding and mishandling.

In order to provide first class services to our valued customers who use our facilities, it is imperative that they are treated respectfully and are provided comfortable environment where they may avail our services efficiently and with respect and dignity.

Muhammad Arshad Jamal, Chairman, FPCCI standing Committee on Customs, Qamar Alam, Chairman All Pakistan Custom Agents Association, Faisal Mushtaq, President, Karachi Custom Agents Association, Wasiq Hussain Khan, Ex-Gen Secretary KCAA along with their office Bearers were also present on the occasion and appreciated NBP’s efforts on modernizing the branch facility.

The Branch renovation ceremony was also attended by Aasim Akhtar, Group Head Commercial & Retail Banking Group, Mohsin Furqan Group Head, Operation, Tariq Jamali, Group Chief ARG. Shahid Dar Group Head Logistics. Faisal Ahmed, EVP, Network & Planning, Asad Saleem, EVP Corporate and Investment Banking, Tariq Latif Ansari, Regional Head Karachi along with RMT members.

FAO, State Bank connect farmers with credit for agri business in Balochistan

From Our Correspondent

QUETTA: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Quetta and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) jointly organized a workshop with representatives of 10 leading Banks in Balochistan and farmers from a range of male and female Farmers Marketing Collectives (FMC’s).

The following Banks participated in this event: Bank Islami Pakistan (BIPL); Bank Alfalah, Askari Bank, Habib Bank Limited (HBL), United Bank (UBL), National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Zarai Taraqiati Bank (ZTBL), MCB, Allied Bank (ABL) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). All participating Banks have their branch network across all districts of Baluchistan.

The objective of this event was to showcase economically viable agri business cases that were developed through the USAID supported Balochistan Agriculture Project (BAP) in 8 northern and 6 southern districts of Balochistan through the Australia Balochistan Agri Business Programme (AusABBA).

These business cases, owned and operated by organized farmers, are ready for upscaling their production but the farmers are in urgent need of bank credit to advance their business to the next level.

During discussion, the farmers described their business cases on dates, grapes, mulberry, wool, apples, onions and livestock while the female farmers presented their businesses such as sheep fattening, carpet production and apricot processing.

In particular the wool related activities, including mechanical shearing, the wool collection and grading centre and carpet weaving attracted a lot of attention from the participants. But also the proposal of FMC Makran to establish a cold store for dates storage and a packaging centre thereof was found rather interesting by the Banks.

FAO offered support, through the AusABBA programme, to identify the most professional Farmers Groups (FMCs) and to help them developing a bankable business plan.

SBP sells treasury bills worth Rs 1.06 trillion

By Commerce Reporter

KARACHI: State Bank of Pakistan sold three month worth treasury bills worth Rs 1.06 trillion against Rs 975 billion target set by the central bank.

The State Bank set a target of Rs 975 billion whereas banks placed bids worth Rs 1.118 trillion for three months treasury bills while no interest shown has been in six months and one year bills.

SBP accepted bids worth Rs 1.05 trillion for three months at cut off yields of 5.99 percent.

The central bank to announce monetary policy most probably next week.

The interest shown in smaller tenure hints that over the year period horizon, interest rate has been bound rise.

Several indicators showed that interest rate to go up –inflation has been over 4 percent since last two months and with rising trend witnessed petroleum products, inflation to go up further.

Moreover, with deprecation of Pak rupee in one go of five percent last month, rise in interest rate to help tame rupee.

PPIB handling 7 projects of 5600 MW to encourage indigenous energy

From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) is handling seven projects with accumulative capacity of 5,600 MW to encourage indigenous and sustainable energy. The 114th meeting of the Board of PPIB was held here yesterday under the Chairmanship of Federal Minister for Power Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, a press release said.

This was the fourth meeting in last three months. The minister while appreciating the board members for their active participation in the meetings said investors in the power sector are feeling the friendly environment as their cases are being fast tracked due to frequent meetings.

Managing Director of PPIB, Shah Jahan Mirza briefed the board on various agendas of today’s meeting and activities being undertaken by PPIB for timely implementation of power generation projects under its portfolio.

The board authorized PPIB to acknowledge the ECC approved Interim Agreement for supply of R-LNG to four indigenous gas based IPPs namely Halmore, Saif, Orient and Sapphire. Due to non-availability of gas these projects are operating on costly high speed diesel.

The replacement of R-LNG with HSD will cut the fuel price to almost half, thus reducing the tariff considerably.

The managing director of NTDC made a presentation on the analysis of Matiari-Lahore HVDC transmission line, the flow of power from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) based on Thar Coal from south to north, and the financial impact thereof.

WB violates resettlement policy in Balochistan

From Our Correspondent

QUETTA: Civil society activists, independent experts and community representatives from different districts of Balochistan have expressed their serious concern over the violation of resettlement policy by World Bank and Balochistan Irrigation Department in World Bank funded ‘Balochistan Integrated Water Resource Management & Development Project’ being implemented in Nari and Porali River basis of the province.

This concern was shown by the speakers in a ‘Peoples’ Consultative Workshop on Balochistan Integrated Water Resource Management and Development Program’ organized by Participatory Development Initiatives (PDI) in a local hotel yesterday.  A large number of civil society activists, independent experts and community representatives from the command areas of Porali and Nari Rivers participated in the workshop.

Sikander Brohi Executive Director PDI while presenting the findings of PDI study ‘ Peoples Review of Balochistan Integrated Water Resource Management & Development Project’ informed the participants that the World Bank has also approved a six year ‘Balochistan Integrated Water Resource Management and Development Project’ in Balochistan in June 2016. Balochistan Irrigation Department (BID) is the executing agency of the Project.

The project will be implemented at a total estimated cost of US$ 253.72 million with US$ 243.62 million loan from the World Bank. However, he said that the project has been initiated without proper community consultations in the project areas.

He said that according to PDI Peoples Review of the project no proper village level meetings with the local communities were held by the World Bank teams. World Bank teams conducted few visits and often visited without any prior information to the villagers.

Pakistan, KSA sign MoUs to enhance bilateral cooperation in diverse fields

From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Commerce Minister Pervaiz Malik says Pakistan’s investment friendly policies provide conducive environment to the foreign investors.

Addressing the meeting of Pak-Saudi Joint Ministerial Commission in Islamabad yesterday, he invited Saudi Arabia to invest in renewable energy projects and agriculture and livestock sectors. The Minister emphasized the need for cultural exchanges between the two countries and cooperation in the field of sports. He said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have to explore new avenues of cooperation. Saudi Commerce Minister laid stress on enhancing volume of bilateral trade.

Opposition parties protest dents trade activities, say traders

From Our Correspondent

LAHORE: The traders community yesterday expressed serious concerns over the protest by opposition parties on busy thoroughfare, The Mall, saying that it had badly hampered business activities and deprived thousands of shopkeepers from their daily earnings.

Trader leaders including Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF), Hall Road Traders Association and trade unions of Beadon Road, Lawrance Road and other adjoining markets told APP here that Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT)-led political parties’ protest produced nothing but brought the metropolis life to standstill.

At this point in time, the country could not afford such negative and anti-business activities since it was already facing numerous challenges on economic and other fronts, they added.

Lahore Chamber’s President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeshan Khalil stated that Pakistan was facing serious economic challenges which demanded a consolidated action plan to get rid of the issues hampering the economic growth but some politicians were bringing more destruction to it through protests.

LCCI office-bearers were of the view that political stability was the key factor for economic growth.

President for enhancing Pak-Saudi trade volume

From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain yesterday stressed the need of enhancing the trade volume between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which was below its true potential.

The president said this while talking to a delegation of Pak-Saudi Arabia Joint Ministerial Commission headed by Minister for Commerce and Investment Dr Majid Bin Al-Qasabi who called on him here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

He underscored that there should be regular exchange of meetings between the investors and businessmen of the both countries. It will open up new avenues of investment and will further boost the relations between the two countries, he added.

Minister for Commerce Mohammad Pervaiz Malik, Minister for Defence Engr Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia Commodore Nawaf Saeed Ahmed Al-Malki, members of the delegation and senior officials were also present in the meeting.