ISLAMABAD (Staff Reporter): Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and Centre for Global Strategic Studies (CGSS) have signed an MoU. A delegation headed by Maj Gen (r) Khalid Jaffery, HI (M), president of CGSS, visited PARC HQs Friday and attended the memorandum of understanding signing ceremony. As per terms and conditions of the memorandum, both organizations will be responsible to strengthen mutual visits, communication, expertise, and develop plans to promote cooperation between the two organizations in a broader range of areas. Both the parties will be responsible for creating awareness in agricultural development, food security and its efficient utilization among stakeholders at national level. Both will work together to promote joint research projects on subjects of common interest such as agricultural growth, farming, food security, international food standards and exchange of relevant scientific literature and other research documents between both organizations.

 ABG names new CEO for Al Baraka Bank

 MANAMA (INP): The Board of Directors of Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) Limited and Al Baraka Banking Group B.S.C (ABG), the leading Islamic Bahrain-based banking group, have approved the appointment of Ahmed Shuja Kidwai as the new CEO of Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) Limited, succeeding Shafqaat Ahmed. On this occasion, Khalid Rashid Al Zayani, Chairman of Al Baraka Islamic Bank - Bahrain, which Al Baraka Bank Pakistan is considered its banking unit, thanked Shafqaat for his leadership contributions and services and wise vision during all his presidency period, which lasted 25 years. During this period, he has been a true pioneer of Islamic Banking in Pakistan and has played pivotal  role for growing the Bank at both businesses and branch network levels, where he transformed the bank from one branch bank to a bank with a network of 200 branches in over 100 cities. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President and Chief Executive of Al Baraka Banking Group and Chairman of Al Baraka Bank Pakistan Limited said, “I am delighted to welcome Ahmed Shuja Kidwai.”

Kidwai has been associated with Al Baraka Bank Pakistan since January 16th, 1996. He has played instrumental role in establishing and consolidating the Bank’s positioning in south especially Karachi. He has got four decades of diversified International banking experience with proven track record of his business acumen, customer focused and employee centric style of Management. We are confident that he will continue his predecessor’s career in expanding the bank and strengthening its position in the Pakistani market.

 3G/4G users reach 49m in Pakistan

 ISLAMABAD (APP): The number of 3G and 4G users in Pakistan reached 49.46 million by the end of January 2018, states Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). Number of mobile phone users in Pakistan reached 145.99 million by the end of January 2018, compared to 144.52 million by December 2017, registering an increase of 1.47 million users during the period under review. Jazz’s total count for 3G users stood at 14.546 million by January 2018, compared to 14.299 million by December 2017, registering an increase of 0.247 million. Jazz’s 4G user numbers jumped from 1,934,752 by the end of Dec 2017 to 2,238,018 by January 2018. Zong’s 3G subscribers increased to 9.089 million by the end of January 2018, compared to 9.044 million by the end of December 2017, while the number of 4G users jumped from 4,961,350 by Dec to 5,072,443 by January. The number of 3G users on Telenor’s network increased from 10.63 million by December 2017 to 10.756 million by January 2018. Like others, the number of 4G users increased from 1,594,897 by Dec 2017 to 1,883,616 by Jan 2018.

Ufone added 0.149 million 3G users on its network during the month of January as the total reached to 5.869 million by end of January 2018 against 5.720 million by December 2017.

Teledensity for cellular mobile users reached 73.44 percent and broadband subscribers reached 51,767,141 by January 2018 compared to 50,512,909 by December 2017.

 PIAF rejects 3-year record high petrol price

 LAHORE (Staff Reporter): The PIAF has condemned the government for increasing price of petrol by Rs3.56 per, taking the price of the commodity to the record highest level of past three years. PIAF Chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that the price of petrol has been increased by 4.2 percent from Rs84.51 to Rs88.07 per litre, terming it bad news for the country’s economy, as this consecutive hike in fuel rates has been increasing cost of production ultimately. He said that HSD is widely used in transport and agriculture sector and increase in its price will raise the input cost of farmers and transporters manifold. Moreover, the government has also ordered to charge 31 percent general sales tax on HSD and 17 percent rate for other petroleum products. He said though the prices of oil in global market are going up yet the authorities can keep the rates stable by reducing tax ratio which is highest in the region. He termed it a bad news for the country’s economy which was already facing a number of challenges, saying that the increase would put extra burden on the consumers.

Pakistan Industrial & Traders Associations Front chairman also asked the government to reduce electricity tariff, urging the authorities to also provide gas at uniform rate across Pakistan to ensure affordable cost of doing business in the country.