Call to discourage open sale of smuggled cigarettes

ISLAMABAD (APP): The govt should make strenuous efforts to discourage the smuggled and counterfeiting cigarettes in the domestic market. According to existing laws, the mandatory pictorial and textual  health warning in Urdu and English as well as printing of underage sale warning and retail price on each pack is mandatory for cigarettes packs.  Smuggled cigarettes, however, do not comply with any of these mandatory requirements. In addition to that due to non-payment of duties and taxes, the national exchequer suffers huge losses.  Health experts said that smuggled cigarettes, available in the market are fully violating the regulatory restrictions.

 and without the mandated health warnings.

According to Euromonitor International, a global research agency, the Pakistan government has lost Rs. 80 billion in last five years due to illicit trade in cigarettes and is expected to lose another Rs. 100 billion in the next five years.

The penalties for the sale of smuggled cigarettes included confiscation of such cigarettes, fine up to Rs. 50,000, recovery equal

to 500 per cent of unpaid taxes and the imprisonment up to five years. However, uptil now the markets are flooded with smuggled cigarette brands,

especially in the absence of law enforcement.  Understanding the severity of the issue, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has come down hard on the illicit cigarette traders and the Home Ministry Punjab has also directed action against this menace.  A strict action has been ordered against smuggled cigarettes including the Korean brand, which are being sold openly in the domestic market in open violation of applicable laws. According to official sources, in order to control the sale of smuggled cigarettes across the province, the Home Minister Punjab has written a letter to Inspector General of Police Punjab, in this regard.

The letter also makes note of the advertisements issued by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) recently in this regard, warning the retailers and wholesalers against sale of smuggled cigarettes, while calling for relevant action by field formations of police force.

The FBR through a series of publicly issued warnings, over the last few months, has stressed the need to curb the smuggled cigarette trade especially the pine brand.

Rs 38.6m approved for fruit, vegetable markets

FAISALABAD (APP): The city district government has approved Rs 38.6m for renovation of three fruit/vegetable and grain markets. Chairman Market Committee Akbar Ghauri talking to APP  told that out of these funds, Rs 34m would be spent in Sabzi Mandi Sadhar where roads, boundary wall and sheds would be rehabilitated. Rs 2.6m will be expended in Sabzi Mandi Ghulam Muhammad Abad to repair committee sub office and sewerage drain. Similarly, Rs 2 million would be spent in Grain Market Faisalabad to provide sewerage drain and gas facility, he told, adding that paper work of these projects have been completed whereas physical works would be started very soon.

2nd phase of standardisation IT industry next year

ISLAMABAD (APP):  Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications would launch 3rd phase of programme-Standardization of Pakistani IT industry on Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) to enable companies to better serve their customers interests. A board meeting of PSEB would accord approval to the third phase and subsequently it is expected to be launched from next year. Sources at PSEB said in the third phase,5-10 companies would be assisted to achieve various level of CMMi. PSEB launched the first phase of the programme in May 2004 and assisted four companies to achieve CMMi level-3 and CMMi level-5 while in the second phase in 2006.

 the Board assisted eighteen companies to achieve CMMi Level-2.

The objective of running the two phases was to initiate

CMMI activities in Pakistan and create a base for CMMI implementation at the mass level.

The sources said PSEB also conducted a survey to gauge benefits taken by IT companies from CMMI and statistics of survey results indicated that growth of Human Resource strength increased from 31.60 to 36.27 per cent, employee retention rate from 71.77 to

82.73 per cent, reduction in project rework from 38.67 to 19.36 per cent, reduction in project delays from 34.64 to 16.35 per cent, increase in export revenue from 50.00 to 65.98 per cent and also increase in domestic revenue was witnessed from 35.00 to 146.59 per cent.

The sources said repeated studies have confirmed that less than 25 per cent of software development projects ever meet their objectives.  Designed to minimize the high frequency of failures in outsourced software development projects, Carnegie Mellon

University’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI) developed the

Capability Maturity Model (CMM) to assess a vendor’s ability to complete developmental projects within a specified budget and timeframe.

The CMM is a collection of best practices grouped into five levels of maturity, specifically developed to help others make measured improvements in their software engineering, system engineering and project management capabilities.

Like the ISO 9000 standard, the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) is also a model-based software process improvement approach and

PSEB recommends that, for the growing number of Pakistani software and service companies that are already ISO 9000-certified - and are now hoping to achieve a higher level of process maturity – should consider qualifying for a CMM certification as well.

This model addresses certain fundamental business decisions not supported by the ISO 9000 or other systems of product quality.

The objectives of the programme are provide CMMI level consultancy and appraisal assistance to IT companies and to ascertain international trends and requirements by enhancing quality of the process and products at participating IT companies using CMMI.

Active involvement of qualified women in textile sector

KARACHI (APP):  Active involvement of qualified women in the textile sector of the country was largely felt by the visitors at product display event “Colours of Pakistan” organised by Commerce Department of Jinnah University for Women. The event provided an opportunity to the students to depict their aspirations vis- a- vis promotion of natural resources and heritage of the four provinces and Gilgit- Baltistan. The students on basis of their education in the field of commerce and business management, coupled with their inherent aesthetic sense, attempted to discuss modes that could add to the value of the available resources and relevant products of associated industries. 

The chief guest and known industrialist, Mirza Ikhtiar Baig highly appreciative of the efforts made by the students announced internships and training of girl students in the textile units.  He said events organised by students of Jinnah University for Women polish the talent of students and needed to be replicated by other post graduate level educational institutions.  On the occasion Chancellor of the University, Wajihuddin Ahmad presented souvenir to the chief guest.

Plan to drill 110 oil, gas wells during 2013-14

ISLAMABAD (APP): Ministry for Petroleum and Natural Resources would drill 110 wells during the current fiscal 2013-14 for increasing the production of gas, while the total cost incurred on excavating oil and gas wells will US $ 5 to 40 Millions. Cost depends upon the area of operations, depth of the well, formation evaluation and testing programme, while well cost in southern and central parts were less than the Northern areas of the country. According to official sources, government is making all-out efforts to mitigate the shortage of gas which increase the indigenous production of gas through enhance exploration activities and providing incentives to the investors under Petroleum Policy.

Besides efforts also being made to import gas under transnational pipeline and LNG projects, official said. “Natural Gas Allocation and management Policy 2005 was introduced to promote efficacious utilization of natural gas”.

Keeping in view the energy crisis in the country, the sectoral priority order for supply of gas was revised in January 2013 by the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet, thus moving power sector at second number. “Exploration activities ar place in the offshore area of Pakistan and three oil and gas reservoirs have been discovered at Sibi and Dera Bugti Districts of Balochistan during last five years”.