Dasu power project: Formal signing ceremony with WB on 18th

ISLAMABAD (Online): Pakistan and World Bank would ink an agreement on August 18 for starting of civil works on the 4,320MW Dasu Hydropower Project (DHP). To this effect a loan agreement signing ceremony would be held at the PM secretariat or the Ministry of Water and Power. The head of WB delegation and officials of the respective ministry would sign the agreement. The formal inking ceremony would be likely witnessed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. According to Finance Ministry officials, action plan is being given final shape for the start of civil work on the project and in this regard a 10 member WB review mission has arrived in Pakistan.

The 10-member mission will hold a series of meetings with senior officials of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and the Ministry of Water and Power.

Officials term arrival of the mission a significant development to speed up homework after approval by the bank’s executive board of directors of about $4.3 billion soft loan under a special package of the International Development Association (IDA).

According to the policy, the WB will pay about $700 million of the total loan to Wapda in order to execute various tasks related to the project.

Wapda tentatively planned to launch civil work on the DHP, a run-of-the-river project located 7km upstream of Dasu village in District Kohistan on Indus River, 74km downstream of Diamer Bhasha Dam and 350km from Islamabad, in March next year.


Pak-India business forum to meet

in India tomorrow

ISLAMABAD (APP):  The task force of Pakistan-India Joint Business Forum will meet in New Delhi on August 7 for two days to explore the possibilities for the promotion of auto, engineering and agriculture sectors in the two countries. Pakistan Business Council sources told APP Tuesday that the two task force meetings will be followed by 4th special meeting of the PIJBF on August 08. Pak delegation is also scheduled to visit Pak high commission in New Delhi on August 06 soon after arrival. The members of forum from either sides will discuss with threadbare the ways and means for accelerating the Pak-India bilateral trade in the days to come.

Implementation on recommendations of task forces, removal of non tariff barriers and visa related issues will also come under discussion.

A 25-member Pak delegation led by Syed Yawar Ali Shah will be comprising of members of the forum and heads of concerned task forces, including Noman Dar President HBL-member banking and Finance, Noor Muhmmad Kasuri member petroleum and gas sector, Bashir Ali Muhammad Chairman Gul Ahmed textile-member textile, Abdur Razzaq Dawood Chairman Descon-member Engineering Sector, Sikandar Mustafa Chairman Millat Group of Companies and Iftikhar Ali Malik,Guard Group of Industries.

India-Pak Joint business forum co-chairman (Indian side) Sunil Kant Munjal, members of the forum and officials from ministry of commerce and external affairs will represent India at the meeting.

The Forum was constituted by the governments of both the countries in 2013 by including members from private and public sectors with a view to take viable practical steps for advancing their trade relations.

First meeting of the forum was held in Islamabad in June 2013 and second in October 2013 in New Delhi and 3rd in February 2014 in Lahore. Mukta & Sunil Kant Munjal will host dinner in honor of visiting delegates of PIJBF on August 7.

Member of the forum Iftikhar Ali Malik who is already heading SAARC CCI delegation to India will join the meetings from New Delhi.



Govt taking steps for promoting fisheries sector in Balochistan

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Government of Balochistan is taking various measures for promotion and development of fisheries sector in the province. Official sources that the government has allocated more than 549 million rupees for the development of fisheries sector in financial year 2014-2015. Sources said that the Pasni fish processing unit would be functional at the cost of 25 million rupees during the financial year 2014-2015 while the boats used for fishing would be upgraded. Eight workshops will be set up for repairing of boats in the coastal area of Balochistan. Sources said loans will also be provided to the fishermen on easy installments for the development of fishing in the province.



Chamber demands visa on arrival

in Saarc countries

ISLAMABAD (APP): The SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday demanded the facility of visa on arrival in SAARC countries to boost socio-economic prosperity in the South Asia, which possessed 12 per cent of global natural resources. Addressing the concluding session of special meeting of SCCI chaired by its chief Islmail Asif from Maldives in New Delhi, SAARC CCI Pakistan delegation leader Iftikhar Ali Mailk said for the promotion of economic co-operation in South Asia, free movement of businessperson in the region was crucial and multiple-entry visa policy must be adopted on reciprocal basis, according to a message received here.

He said that in prevailing global economic scenario, India and Pakistan, two most powerful members of the SAARC, should enter a suitable trade regime.

“We all have seen that times have changed the concept of economic prosperity and member countries have taken the lead, which is much needed so that we all could take full benefits of the regional power to eliminate the poverty and bring self-reliance and prosperity in the region like other global blocs.” He stressed the urgent need for fully exploiting the indigenous natural resources and untapped mineral deposits to strengthen the socio-economic conditions in the region on the pattern of trade blocs like NAFTA, EU, ASEAN and COMESA.

Iftikhar Ali Malik said that while the socio-economic demography of the world was changing where 21st century was attributed as the century of Asia and in the prevailing global scenario, SAARC countries badly needed to work together with a shared vision and stronger economic linkage for the welfare of the people.

He said that it was the need of the hour that all eight nations in the South Asia must work to meet common challanges, especially those which threathen security, peaceful co-existence and progress in the region.

He said that SAARC was home to more than one-fifth of the world population making it the largest entity.

The region had 45 pc young population and possessed 12pc of the global natural resources and untapped resources.

He said that every SAARC country had its unique characteristics. India was the 4th largest economy, Pakistan was a hub of textiles, Bangladesh was the centre of garments industry, while Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka were emerging destination of tourists from all over the world.

Iftikhar Ali Malik said that it was unfortunate that the world development indicators presented a bleak picture of the region on global economic fronts despite having enormous potential. The contribution of SAARC countries in global GDP was less than 2 pc and its share in exports was only 1.5 pc, which did not reflect the potential.



Oil prices gain on ME supply risks

LONDON (AFP): Oil prices rose on Tuesday on fresh concerns over potential supply disruptions in the Middle East, analysts said. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September edged up three cents to stand at $105.44 a barrel in afternoon deals.  US benchmark WTI for September climbed 12 cents to $98.41 a barrel. “We haven’t seen signs so far that the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East could cause disruptions, but those concerns are still there at the back of investors’ minds,” Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, told AFP. WTI on Monday snapped a five-day losing streak to gain 41 cents in New York trade following continued violence in crude producer Libya, where at least 22 more people died in Tripoli over the weekend.

The death toll stands at 124 since July 13, with more than 500 wounded. Analysts have said the violence threatens efforts to restore oil production in the north African country, a member of the OPEC oil-producing cartel.

Fighting also raged on in Iraq, where Baghdad’s air force and Kurdish fighters from Syria joined forces with Iraq’s embattled peshmerga to push back jihadists, whose latest attacks sent thousands of civilians running for their lives.

Sunni militants have also seized two small oilfields in northern Iraq, which a North Oil Company official said had a combined capacity of 20,000 barrels per day.

Iraq is the second-biggest producer in the 12-nation OPEC, pumping 3.4 million barrels a day and possessing more than 11 percent of the world’s proven reserves.

Chua said investors are awaiting the release of the latest US petroleum stockpiles data on Wednesday for clues about demand in the world’s biggest crude consumer.

“There will be expectations of solid demand, with a decline of about 300,000 barrels of gasoline,” he said.

Gasoline inventory data is closely monitored at this time of the year, with the US summer holiday period representing the traditional peak demand for motor fuel.