WCCI founder hopes new Baluchistan CM to bring prosperity

From Our Correspondent

QUETTA: Founder President of Quetta Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Former Vice President FPCCI, Fehmida Jamali has extended felicitations to Abdul Quddus Bizenjo on his election as new Chief Minister of Balochistan who was voted as 16th Chief Executive of country’s area-wise largest province.

She hoped the new chief Ministers will start close core donations with the Provincial Chambers of Commerce for the economic proposectus of the province in its short and challenging tenure.

Fehmida Jamali said the investment scenario in Balochistan is now bright because of foreign investors’ interest in economic development of abundant resources in mineral, fisheries, agriculture & livestock sectors, and the province could develop into a major trading and business hub, as the potential of Balochistan is now widely understood in the wake of CPEC.

WCCI Founder President further revealed that the province has countless prospects of economic growth under the sphere of CPEC, while the strategic importance of Gwadar Port is to open new vistas for economic development of the province of Balochistan, as it would help province of Balochistan become a strategic business hub of the region, and it gives new impetus to Pakistan-China relations.

Govt plans to sell off PIA before 2018 elections, says privatisation minister

ISLAMABAD: The federal government will try to privatise the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) before general elections due this year, privatisation minister Daniyal Aziz said, as the ruling Pakistan Mulsim League-Nawaz (PML-N) seeks to restart sales of state-run businesses.

Haemorrhaging money and losing market share to Gulf-based rivals such as Etihad and Emirates, PIA has been hit by management turmoil in recent years and a 2016 plane crash that led to 47 deaths.

The privatisation of loss-making entities that were draining the exchequer was a key priority for the PML-N when it swept to power in 2013.

PIA was among 68 state-owned companies earmaked for privatisation in return for a $6.7 billion International Monetary Fund package that helped the government stave off a default in 2013. Despite some initial success, the process stalled in 2016 after staff protests caused havoc with PIA operations and the government passed a law that effectively made it impossible to privatise the airline.

But Daniyal Aziz, chairman of the Privatisation Commission, told new agency Reuters that new plans have been drawn up to sell off PIA and he would take the proposals to the cabinet committee on privatisation, chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

“Next step would be going to the cabinet committee…and that’s imminent, maybe even next week,” Aziz said in his Islamabad office this week.

The new plans focus on splitting up the carrier, with the core airline business being separated from vast peripheral operations such as catering, hotels and maintenance, Aziz said. —Agencies

PM for enhancing indigenous energy resources to meet country’s needs

From Rafay Siddiqui

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi yesterday emphasized the need to enhance the volume of indigenous energy resources to cope with country’s needs and reduce the burden of import bill on the national economy.

Addressing the annual function of Mari Petroleum Company here, the prime minister spoke high of the company’s valuable contribution to mitigate the energy crisis in the country besides playing its role to ensure food security.

The annual event was attended by a huge number of company’s staffers and their families as the event also coincided with the golden jubilee celebrations of the company.

The prime minister commended the company for celebrating the year of highest revenue and production and congratulated the company and staffers for achieving distinction in the sector. He said Mari always performed exceptionally and said he had also been pushing the OGDCL and PPL to excel in the same way. The prime minister said energy was a basic block of the national economy with Exploration and Production sector being its key component. Lauding the company for achieving the targets ahead of the schedule, the prime minister said owing to the efforts of Mari Petroleum, the country had not only achieved self-sufficiency in fertilizer, but also had started exporting the product.

PFC delegation leaves for Italy to explore furniture market

From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) delegation left yesterday for Italy to promote trade links via mutual collaboration between Pakistani and Italian business community through business-to-business (B2B) meetings after attending 3-day international trade fair Heimtextil 2018 at Frankfurt (Germany).

According to a message received here, the delegation headed by its chief Mian Muhammad Kashif Ashfaq, will discuss the possibility of enhancing mutual trade followed by B2B meetings at Associazione Italiana d’Ingegneria Economica (AICE) in Milan and Cassa Padana Brescia. The frequency of visits between the two countries has witnessed a rise in recent years which is indicative of further deepening of ties between the two countries. He said that Pakistan and Italy had good relationship in a variety of fields and it was now time to further strengthen it.

He said the delegation would meet officials of government agencies, leading companies and foreign trade agencies to explore new avenues of mutual co-operation in trade and commerce.

Mian Kashif said Italy was the fourth largest investor in Pakistan following China, UAE and Hong Kong with a total investment valuing at $100 million along with bilateral trade worth one billion euros. “Our focus is on energy, infrastructure, automobiles, agro food, pharmaceuticals, marble, stones, furniture and textiles. We want to diversify our exports and find new partners for doing business, “ he added.

He said that Italian technology could help upgrading the textile sector of Pakistan and utilize its untapped capacity. He believed that Pakistan had a lot of potential to promote itself for Italian business community while Italy was a country that provided excellent business opportunities for them.

CPEC expedites prosperity, development in country: Shehbaz

From Our Correspondent

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has said that projects of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) expedited the process of prosperity and development in the country. He said this while talking to Pakistan Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique who called on him here yesterday.

He said the CPEC had become a game changer for Pakistan. He said the PML-N government had set a record of transparency and services during the last four years, adding that completion of projects during the period was exemplary for last 70 years.

Shehbaz said that every project of the PML-N government was a an example of transparency, standard and speed. He said that some defeated elements were promoting politics of personal interest in the country, whereas

Pakistan was unable to bear politics of anarchy. He said that disappointed elements did not want to see a developed or prosperous Pakistan.

“Those politicians have been exposed who made records of lies and abusive language in politics,” he added. The Chief Minister said that time was slipping from the hands of liars as the people had been tired of negative politics. “Fake slogans do not serve the masses, it needs work hard for day and night to serve the nation,” he added.

Govt striving for technology promotion: Rana Afzal

From Our Correspondent

FAISALABAD: State Minister for Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan said yesterday the government was striving hard to promote technology which was imperative for national progress and prosperity.

Addressing a one-day workshop on ‘Facebook Developer Programme’ at the Govt College for Women University (GCWU) Faisalabad, he said billions of rupees were being spent on the promotion of latest technology in the country.

He especially appreciated chief minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif and said the CM had established an IT (Information Technology) city for the promotion of latest technology which was a hallmark of the Punjab government.

Vice Chancellor GCWU Prof Dr Naureen Aziz Qureshi said new generation should get expertise in information technology as it plays a pivotal role in provision of jobs.

He said an E-Rozgar Centre was established at GCWU last year and it produced its batch who is now earning honorable livelihood through online jobs at their homes.

Govt to provide broadband internet facility in far-flung areas: PM Khaqan Abbasi

From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that the government is making endeavors to provide broadband internet facility in far-flung areas to accelerate socio-economic development.

He was speaking at a ceremony of signing of agreement for providing broadband facility to 5896 villages of Federally Administered Tribal Areas held here yesterday.

The Prime Minister said a revolution is underway in the telecom sector.

He directed the IT and Telecom Ministry to utilize funds being generated under Universal Service Fund for provision of IT and Telecom services in unserved and far-flung areas on priority basis.

The project is aimed at sustainable development in the region. It will benefit areas of Khyber and Mohmand Agency as well as Dera Ismail Khan.

The ceremony was attended, among others, by Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rehman.

Weekly inflation falls 0.23 percent

From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) based weekly inflation for the week ended on January 11 for the combined income groups witnessed nominal decrease of 0.23 percent as compared to previous week.

The SPI for the week under review in the above mentioned group was recorded at 224.88 points against 225.39 points last week, according to the latest data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) yesterday.

As compared to the corresponding week of last year, the SPI for the combined group in the week under review witnessed increase of 3.06 per cent.

The weekly SPI has been computed with base 2007, 2008=100, covering 17 urban centers and 53 essential items for all income groups.

Meanwhile, the SPI for the lowest income group up to Rs 8,000 also decreased by 0.22 percent as it went down from 214.39 points in the previous week to 213.92 points in the week under review. As compared to the last week, the SPI for the income groups from Rs 8001 to 12,000, Rs 12,001 to 18,000, Rs 18,001 to 35,000 and above Rs 35,000, also decreased by 0.22 percent, 0.23 percent, 0.23 percent and 0.22 percent respectively.

UAE envoy meets Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of UAE, Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Alzaabi called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail here yesterday.

Ambassador Hamad discussed with the Adviser matters concerning Pak-UAE collaboration in different spheres.

He said there was need to foster collaboration in health and education sectors which would ultimately help promote human resource development.  He also exchanged views with the Adviser on Dubai Expo. Adviser Miftah Ismail assured the Ambassador of his full support in endeavours to strengthen Pak-UAE relations and overall cooperation. —PPI

Haroon Akhtar assures to resolve sales tax issue on foam manufacturers in next budget

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan has said that government will resolve the problem of sales tax on foam manufacturers in the upcoming budget and take further steps to uplift this industry.

Talking to a delegation of All Pakistan Foam Manufacturers Association here at FBR House, Haroon Akhtar Khan said that the government believes in creating business friendly environment for all business community and wants to address their genuine problems.

The delegation congratulated Haroon Akhtar Khan on being elevated as federal minister on revenue by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and briefed the minister about their problems and requested him to save industry from total collapse.

The minister said that field formations will also be mobilized to curtail the problems in tax matters of foam manufacturers. Member Internal Revenue Policy Dr Mohammad Iqbal and Member Custom Mohammad Zahid Khokar and other FBR officials were also present in the meeting

The delegation comprised Sheikh Usman Rashid, Sheikh Mohammad Ismail, Mian Umer Javed, Mehar Mohammad Saleem and Muhammad Jadoon. —Online