PTDC to develop amusement park near Shakarparian

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) would soon develop an amusement park and a golf course over 25 acres of land in Shakarparian with the assistance of Vega. Talking to APP, PTDC Managing Director Abdul Ghafoor said Vega Modern Tourism Solutions will conduct a survey and prepare a comprehensive report on possible areas of investment to be provided to the corporation. Vega's Information Technology Department will develop an Online Reservation System for PTDC Motels where customers can make online reservations. It will also provide sponsorship for Islamabad City Bus Tour for its decorations. The PTDC is offering many investment projects through joint ventures and public private partnership to facilitate foreign and domestic tourists. "In this regard, we have launched many projects including City Tour Bus Service, making of documentary films, upgradation of existing facilities and setting up new tourism projects in Islamabad and other parts of the country," he added.

To increase the number of rooms at existing PTDC motels, "We have contacted manufacturers of prefabricated structure and soon new rooms will be added in Naran, Ayubia and other prominent motels." He hoped that in near future, Pakistan would be ranked among one of top tourist destinations of the world.

 PEW demands reduction of ‘unjustified’ taxes on fuel

ISLAMABAD (INP): Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) President Dr Murtaza Mughal has urged the government to reduce unjustified taxes on fuel. He said high prices of fuel have become an incentive for smugglers who are thriving on low prices of oil and gas in Iran and Afghanistan. Border arrangements have failed to deter the smugglers as 15 to 20 percent petrol consumed in Pakistan is said to be smuggled from neighbouring countries, he added. He said that smuggling of LPG continue to increase grabbing around 30 percent of the local market putting survival of local producers at stake as involvement of big fish cannot be ruled out. He said that fifth upward revision in the prices of fuel in the last three months proves the incompetence of export industries and revenue collectors which has left government with no option to boost revenue. The situation has forced government to impose additional tax on bank transactions which has resulted in non-compliance hitting businesses, banking and revenues, he added.

 BlackBerry narrows loss amid focus on services

MONTREAL (AFP):  BlackBerry has said its loss in the past quarter narrowed as it distanced itself further from smartphone making to concentrate on software and services. The Canadian tech firm reported a loss in its fiscal fourth quarter ending in February of $47 million compared with a $238 million deficit in the same period a year earlier. That resulted in a full-year loss of $1.2 billion, including $600 million in charges for restructuring. The company reports its results in US dollars. The results, better than expected by most analysts, sent BlackBerry shares surging nearly 15 percent in early New York trade. The company, which a decade ago was among the dominant smartphone brands, has largely exited the handset business, allowing China's TCL to manage the development of BlackBerrys under a license agreement. With BlackBerry's smartphone market share falling to less than one percent of the world market, the deal has allowed the Ontario firm to focus on other areas such as security software and its connected car systems.

 Executive chairman John Chen said the latest results "came in at or above expectations in all major metrics," as "we continued to grow our mix of software and services revenue across the company." Revenues in the past quarter fell 36 percent from a year ago to $297 million, with 80 percent coming from software and services.

 CCRI working to improve coloured cotton

 MULTAN (APP): Scientists of Central Cotton Research Insitute (CCRI) are working on improvement in naturally produced brown and green colour cotton. The brown and green colour cotton was developed by the CCRI in the near past but it had some limitations, however, the scientists are working to improve the natural coloured cotton, said CCRI Director Zahid Mehmood. About limitations, he said the green colour cotton becomes faded in sunlight while it gets more greenish in humid environment. “Our climate situation did not support it,” he added. To a query, Zahid informed that it required separate ginning, spinning and weaving sectors and industry only responded to white cotton. Scientific Sajid Mehmood told this scribe, that a number of people like natural colour cotton so the government and textile sector should promote colour cotton in order to fetch handsome foreign exchange. Brazil and some other countries are cultivating this sort of cotton and earning good amount, Sajid concluded.