CIMMYT to launch ICT-based agri system

ISLAMABAD (APP): International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) has planned to launch a working paper on the productive use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) based agricultural extension system in Pakistan for the betterment of farmers. This was stated by Abid Javed, Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research while addressing on the occasion of Working Paper Launch Ceremony Organized by AIP for Pakistan here on Thursday. "We should ensure the prosperity at grassroots level and that we will come up with solutions of problems faced by farmer," he said adding that in this era of technology, use of ICT tool had improved efficiency of agricultural development across the globe.

This is the right time to adapt and make use of ICT to promote agriculture sector development in Pakistan as agriculture is the lifeline of Pakistan's economy. "Our productivity is very low and there are huge yield gaps yet to be addressed", he added. In this context, he said use of ICT could quickly help in achieving the productivity gains but also for timely provision of the much needed information to the farmers and empowering them to take informed decisions regarding their agricultural produce.

SECP holds session about

electronic filing, VOSS

ISLAMABAD (INP): In order to create awareness about electronic filing system and the newly launched Virtual One Stop Shop (VOSS), the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) organized a seminar on "VOSS and mandatory online submission of returns/documents through e-Services portal” at the Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The event was organized by Company Registration Office, Lahore, under the annual work plan of the Corporatization and Compliance Department. A large number of industrialists and corporate consultants attended the event. The participants were briefed about online/electronic filing of the SECP by Shahbaz Sarwar, joint registrar, and Shaukat Hameed, joint registrar.

It was followed by a presentation by Muhammad Hasan Zaidi, deputy registrar, on VOSS, which is a web portal for incorporation of companies.

The data of companies incorporated through VOSS shall directly be available to Federal Board of Revenue and Employee Old Age Benefit Institution for registration. In future, more departments (excise, electricity, labour etc.) shall also be added to VOSS. The session concluded with a question-and-answer session whereby queries of the audience were addressed by the SECP officials.

FFC to pass gas price cut

benefits to farmers

ISLAMABAD (PR): Fauji Fertilizer Company has vowed to pass the benefits of rollback in fertilizer feed gas price by the government to farmers in the shortest possible time with maximum efficiency. To ensure that the benefits of this welcome gesture of government reach the farmers community, CE&MD FFC Shafqaat Ahmed visited the FFC field force in distant areas of north and central zones constituting of Punjab, KP and Azad Kashmir. He stressed that FFC field force must rise to the challenge at this trying time of agro-economy in Pakistan. “Farmers, government and fertilizer producers stand as partners to improve agro economics of Pakistan,” he stated while addressing the FFC field force.

He further emphasized that FFC field force must ensure that they push maximum benefits to the farmers not only in the form of cost benefit but also make maximum use of their farm advisory & research services to facilitate the farmer community, so that farmer economics reap and feel the accumulated effects of positivity in Kharif crops.

Bestway Cement earns Rs12.64b PBT in nine months

KARACHI (Staff Reporter): Bestway Cement earned Rs12.64 billion profit before tax in nine months. Bestway’s turnover on a consolidated basis soared by more than 49% percent from Rs. 22.03 billion to Rs. 32.91 billion. This was largely due to acquisition of Pakcem Limited and increase in domestic demand. Increase in turnover was somewhat subdued by shrinking export volumes and a decline in retention prices during the period. Gross margin of Rs 14.39 billion grew by more than 68% percent over the same period last year. Profit before tax for nine months amounted to Rs. 12.64 billion, depicting an increase of 45% as compared to Rs. 8.69 billion during the nine months ended 31 March, 2015.

The company's consolidated profit after tax also registered a growth of 49% to reach Rs. 9.24 billion in the period under review against Rs. 6.22 billion from the corresponding period of last financial year.

Oil market jumps on output woes in Canada, Libya

LONDON (AFP): Oil prices rallied Thursday with Brent breaching $45 a barrel on worries over output from Canada and Libya, while traders reacted also to falling US production. Around 1100 GMT, New York's WTI for delivery in June was up $1.02 at $44.80 a barrel. European benchmark Brent crude for July delivery jumped $1.07 to $45.69 a barrel compared with Wednesday's close. "Oil prices are rising today after three consecutive lower closes," said analyst David Cheetham at London-based brokerage XTB. "Firstly, a huge wildfire -- which has forced the evacuation of 88,000 people in the western Canadian oil city of Fort McMurray -- has seen some pipelines in the region being shut and disruptions to output at several facilities," Cheetham told AFP.

"On top of that a political stand-off in Libya which prevented a Glencore cargo from loading raises concerns about the sustainability of the recent levels of output, which at over two million barrels per day are their highest in over five years."

Cheetham added: "In the grand scheme of things both these developments are unlikely to be significant driving factors for the market going forward, but the timing coinciding with some short term oversold conditions has seen the price move higher so far today."

Authorities say wildfires are burning out of control in the Alberta oil sands region of Canada, which mines and ships heavy crude to the US, and oil companies have reduced operations as non-essential employees are evacuated.

- Lower US oil output -

News of the Canada fires came as official data showed that US oil output sank last week by more than 100,000 barrels a day to 8.83 million, its lowest level since September 2014.

While US commercial crude oil inventories rose in the same week, investors focused more on hopes the production decline would help ease a global supply glut.

"US oil production at its lowest in eight months, as well as a wildfire limiting Canadian output, have buoyed prices," added CMC Markets analyst Jasper Lawler on Thursday.

The wildfires pressed in Thursday on the Canadian oil city of Fort McMurray after more than 80,000 people were forced to flee and authorities warned that the next 24 hours would be critical for the city's survival.

BMI Research said it expects US shale oil production to continue to decline over the long term and this should help ease the saturated market.

"We maintain that a strong decline in US shale output will underpin the beginning of a two-year market rebalancing whereby prices will recover gradually over the next few quarters," it said in a note.

Strong production from the US and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are key contributors to the glut that has sent prices plunging more than 60 percent from peaks above $100 in mid-2014.

But Aw said the market is brimming with oil and "it is foolhardy to think that the supply glut issue is going away any time soon".