PDF approves development schemes of Rs9.6 billion

Lahore (Staff Reporter: The Punjab Provincial Development Working Party approved four development schemes of various Development Sector with an estimated cost of Rs. 9611.233 million. These schemes were approved in the 26th meeting of Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) of current fiscal year 2015-16 presided over by the Punjab Chairman P&D Board Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan. Provincial Secretary P&D Iftikhar Ali Sahoo, members of the Planning & Development Board, Provincial Secretaries concerned and other senior representatives of the relevant Provincial Departments also attended the meeting.

According to Spokesman for P&DD, the approved development schemes included: Flood Protection Bund Basti Darbar Hazrat at Sultan Bahoo, District Jhang at the cost of Rs. 303.043 million, Construction of Spur at Basti Rindan, D.G. Khan at the cost of Rs. 857.110 million, Bulk Water Supply from River Jhelum to Murree (Revised) at the cost of Rs. 8449.000 million and Consultancy Services for Study of Rehabilitation of Sewerage scheme Kotmomin, Sargodha (PC-II) at the cost of Rs. 2.080 million.

All set to launch National

Volunteer Programme

Lahore (Staff Reporter: The TBL – Triple Bottom-Line, a sustainability advocacy platform working to promote CSR in Pakistan since 2007, is now launching a unique initiative, the National Volunteer Programme (NVP), initially in Karachi, and later expanding it nationwide. NVP’s Vision is “to strive for a just and prosperous society in which the marginalized will emerge from distress through the caring support of other, more privileged and compassionate people serving as volunteers.” While volunteerism does take place in society, the NVP is unique in terms of a structured platform and service that optimizes the benefits of volunteerism for both the volunteers and the beneficiary institutions.

The NVP achieves this by matching the specific skills and interests of volunteers with the matching needs of beneficiary institutions, through a customized software and dedicated portal, www.nvp.com.pk. Focusing particularly on corporate executives as volunteers in the first phase, the NVP will act as a facilitator and a medium, providing corporate volunteers meaningful opportunities to serve in Beneficiary Institutions working in a range of focus areas. As such the NVP will be constantly monitoring and filling the ongoing demand for skilled workforce requirements at Beneficiary Institutions, and will be working together with volunteers, the corporate sector and others to build a more just and benevolent society.

Millions of marginalized in Pakistan - the poor and the uneducated, the physically and mentally challenged, widows and orphans and others - are deprived of even basic necessities. A number of NGOs and other institutions are working tirelessly for their uplift, but their efforts are hampered owing to lack of regular funding and insufficient workforce. The NVP seeks to address the lack of qualified human resource, by bringing together compassionate volunteers giving their time and skills to beneficiary institutions which need these the most. Through the work of the volunteers, the impact of the welfare institutions can be substantially enlarged. Globally, the corporate sector too has come forward, allowing and encouraging their executives as a part of their CSR outreach, to do volunteer work for a certain number of hours every week during their work hours. There is ample research to show that corporate volunteerism is highly beneficial for all 3 stakeholders – the company, the volunteer and the beneficiary institution.

The NVP Project has received start-up support and funding from Coca-Cola Pakistan, and its soft launch will take place at the Karachi Literature Festival 2016, being held from February 5 to 7. Coca-Cola has been a supporter of KLF as well for the past 4 consecutive years, sponsoring the Award for the Best Non-fiction Book in English language by a Pakistani author, as well as offering complimentary bottled water and soft drinks to thousands of visitors to the KLF over its 3 days run.

PCJCCI celebrates approaching Chinese new year

Lahore (Staff Reporter): Mr. Shah Faisal Afridi president PCJCCI celebrated the approaching Chinese New year at PCJCCI premises with grand fervor. The ceremony was held to greet Chinese friends, businessmen and Colleagues and to divulge a friendly gesture of bonding and brotherhood. At the auspicious occasion Shah Faisal Afridi said that Pak-China ties in the fields of trade, investment and culture had reached the climax at present. This mutual collaboration beyond trade and investment is increasing economic and cultural credibility of Pakistan at international level, he added. He expressed heartiest congratulations on traditional New Year to the Chinese people, the overseas Chinese nationals and the Chinese companies in Pakistan.

While expressing his contentment, he said that China and Pakistan together would give rise to a new paradigm of Regional co-existence. He appreciated the Chinese Endeavors for enhancing the South-South integration through infrastructural investments in trade and business. He said that Pakistan should enhance the capacity of the current system rather than any intention to overthrow it. Pakistan should realize that, if we become the bridge between the engines of growth, we will be able to carve out a large economic bloc of about 3 billion living in this part of the world nearly half of the world.” “This is going to be a Fate-Changer for Pakistan,” said Shah Faisal Afridi.

Afridi adding that Pakistan was proud of being the best friend of a great country like China and assured to continue his efforts for maintaining the sincere and cordial relations with business community of China. He mentioned that China’s role in the current international financial system is constructive and we had to make some efforts and contributions on our part.

Afridi observed that One Belt, one Road would bring a major breakthrough in socio-economic ties between Pakistan and China by enhancing the scope of people-to-people contacts between the two nations. Moreover the revival of Silk Route would be a big advantage to all those countries situated alongside economic belt of this route, which will ultimately add strategic and economic value to Pakistan, he added.

He said that the decision by Pakistan to join hands with China and other Asian countries in the projects such as CPEC, One Belt, One road, AIIB, SCO and BRICS stems from the new narrative evolved by the present government for building economic and political linkages with neighbors and Asian countries. He said that Pakistan’s security and economic progress is inextricably linked to the region where it belongs. The emphasis on finding solutions to the security and economic challenges confronting it, through the collective efforts of the countries of the region is a pragmatic and visionary initiative, mentioned Afridi.

Afridi paid special tribute to the Chinese communities who have built friendship and lived in harmony with the local people, and made indispensable contributions to the economic and social development of Pakistan. He expressed hope that all Chinese in Pakistan will carry forward the fine Chinese culture and traditional virtues, reveal the spirit of diligence, bravery, intelligence and self-improvement, and make more contributions to a better Pakistan by fulfilling friendship between China and Pakistan.

LCCI starts Chinese language classes

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): The LCCI 2nd Chinese Language Course started on Thursday with an objective to upgrade the communication skills of its members. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the language classes, the LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad, Senior Vice President Almas Hyder and Vice President Nasir Saeed said that understanding to a foreign language always give an added advantage to the business-doing people besides improving international business relations. They said that literacy in a foreign language is a tool that enables a person to research markets, sell products, and develop business relationships with foreign community and despite impressive export performance.

, Pakistan’s exports are highly concentrated in a few items and this is only because of language barriers coming in the way of the businessmen.

They said that in order to reduce dependence on a few countries for exports, it is high time to focus on non-traditional markets like Africa, Eastern Europe, South East Asia and Central Asian States.

The LCCI office-bearers said that Pakistan is a developing economy and its historic weakness in foreign languages often creates commercial disadvantages for the businessmen when they try to exploit the industrial markets abroad.

They said that foreign language is one of the most practical skills one can acquire. It gives one the ability to move freely in a non-Urdu-speaking environment without the aid of an intermediary. 

Oil market rebounds slightly

LONDON (AFP): Oil prices extended their rebound Thursday, buoyed by a weaker dollar, bargain buying and fresh speculation of a possible output cut by the OPEC producers' group. Gains were however capped by bearish data showing another increase in commercial crude inventories in the United States, the world's top oil consumer. In late morning London deals, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in March rose 21 cents to $32.49 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for April delivery added five cents compared with Wesnesday's close to $35.09. The US Department of Energy said Wednesday that commercial crude stockpiles soared by 7.8 million barrels in the week ending January 29.

That was almost double market expectations and took total crude inventories to 502.7 million, topping 500 million barrels for the first time on record, exacerbating market concerns over the global glut that has depressed prices for nearly two years.

Daniel Ang, an analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore, said prices initially dropped on the inventories surge, but bargain hunters moved in as the dollar weakened, reversing the trend.

Oil is traded in dollars so a softening of the US currency makes crude cheaper for holders of other units, perking up demand.

"When oil becomes cheaper, discount buying kicks in, pushing prices higher. So you see a bullish momentum forming," Ang told AFP.

Comments by Ecuador, one of OPEC's poorer members, that there might be a special OPEC meeting later this month have also revived hopes for an output cut, according to other analysts.

But Ang said any price rise must have a solid foundation, otherwise it would not last.

"The current trend now is that producers which are hurting very badly from the low oil prices would say there might be an output cut. But the countries that really have the influence are not saying anything," he said.

"So I think we should wait for concrete movements not just hearsay."

A price rebound last week driven by talks of possible coordination between Russia and OPEC to slash production fizzled out after traders realised there was no substance to it.