Punjab can expand rice, fruits trade with Iran: Mujtaba

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Punjab Minister of Law, Excise & Taxation and Finance Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman has said that a vast scope of expanding trade in rice, fruits, vegetables, meat and others items of use existed between Punjab and Iran and for having brotherly ties, both can also work together for promoting Islamic culture at the international level.  He said Iran and Pakistan have rich cultural heritage and common traditions and their bilateral relations are bound to get stronger with the passage of time. He said that in result of visits of Chief Minister Punjab, Iranian traders have invested in Punjab and interested for further investment in various sectors.

He expressed these views while reviewing chances of enhancing trade between Punjab and Iran at Punjab Business & Investment Trade Board. The meeting was attended by high ranking officials of industries, agriculture, livestock & dairy development, energy and other concerned departments.  

Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman said Punjab government is providing maximum facilities to foreign investors for trade and investment and an autonomous institution has been set up for the guidance and help of the traders community. He said that Iran is our friendly country and we will welcome the Iranian companies to invest in public welfare projects. He said that leadership of Punjab is well-aware of the latest requirements of the modern era, therefore, the provincial government has given top priority to attract foreign investment in the province and the concept of public-private partnership has been promoted in the province through good governance and economic cooperation programme. The foreign investment companies like Turkey, China and other friendly countries are investing in Punjab, whereas exchange of students and trade delegations will further expand the trade between friendly countries and Punjab, he concluded.

Dar reiterates govt’s resolve to switch to Islamic banking

ISLAMABAD (APP): Minister for Finance, Muhammad Ishaq Dar Friday reiterated the government’s resolve to switch over from conventional banking to Islamic banking and finance to enhance shariah compliant assets. “The Shariah compliant assets currently stand at 10 percent of the total banking products in the country,” Dar said while addressing a seminar here.  The Seminar titled “Promoting excellence in Islamic Finance”, was organized by State Bank of Pakistan in collaboration with UKaid, Department of International Development with an aim highlight the importance of Islamic banking.

Dar said that Pakistan has been the early promotor of shariah compliant as government has taken several steps to promote Islamic banking and finance in the country. The government has issued sukuk bonds in international market which received overwhelming response and Pakistan was entered in the Sukuk market after nine years, he added.

He said that government has also formed a steering committee headed by SBP Deputy Governor which was actively working on the development of reliable database and human resource needed by the Islamic banking.

Ishaq Dar said at present, the Islamic finance industry of Pakistan consists of 19 Islamic banks with a network of 1,200 branches spread across 80 districts,27 Mudaraba companies, 15 mutual funds and 5 Takaful companies.

The industry now constitutes over 10 percent of the country’s financial system and maintains strong growth momentum adding that Islamic finance industry in Pakistan needs trained human resource in order to realize the true market potential and emerge as a strong player in the global financial arena, he added.

He said that various local institutions are offering educational programs related to Islamic banking and finance, however, these are relatively few while the demand and supply gap is huge.

He said that 10 percent share of Islamic banking against the total banking sector was much below than the existing potential and needed to further enhanced as globally shariah compliant assets are expected to grow by 15-20 percent per annum over next few years.

He informed that Islamic financial assets are likely to hit $5 trillion mark by 2020 and there were opportunity to find Islamic finance solutions to find achieve the millennium development goals.

He stressed the need for introducing different short and long term courses for preparing the skilled Islamic financial experts as skill human resource play vital role in development.

Replaying to a question, he said that 80-85 percent concerns regarding constitution of Judicial Commission were addressed and negotiation on three clauses were in progress.

Speaking on the occasion, Governor SBP, Ashraf Mahmood Wathra said that the event was aiming to promote excellence in Islamic banking, adding that about 2 billion people across the glob have no access to finance.

SBP, he said has taken several steps for marginalized segments of the society and started financial inclusion programme adding that over 10 billion earmarked for the programme.

Globally the size of Islamic finance industry had reached to $1.8 trillion in 2013 and according to some estimates it is likely to reach $5 trillion by 2020, he remarked.

He said that the total assets of Islamic banking in country reached over one trillion by end of December 2013 from adding that the total Islamic Banking deposits reached Rs. 868 billion in December 2013 which accounts 10.4 percent of the total deposits of the banking sector.

SBP Governor said that the bank has fixed a target to enhance the share of Islamic banking up to 20 percent which currently stood at 10.4 percent by increasing banking network up to 2,000 branches from existing 1,400 branches.

KCCI asked to devise mechanism to boost trade with Libya

KARACHI (Staff Reporter): Pakistan’s Ambassador for Libya Javed Zia asked the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) to devise a mechanism for enhancing trade with Libya which has the potential to become one of the most powerful states of the world. Speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Javed Zia said that Libya was an important country which offers excellent trade opportunities as, despite serious crises due to civil war, it still holds strong foreign reserves of $120 billion along with a stable Libyan Dinar since Libya was also the 9th largest oil producer of the world.

Libya’s ideal geo-strategic position and a small population of 6.5 million only provide a lucrative opportunity to Pakistani businessmen and industrialists, who would surely benefit by immediately penetrating their products and services into the Libyan market, Javed Zia added, who is also Pakistan’s Ambassador for Malta, Burkina Faso and Togo.

Javed Zia was fairly confident that Libya would one day become one of the most powerful states of the world and it was the right time for Pakistani businessmen to explore trade opportunities in this country in an efficient manner otherwise other developed countries, particularly Pakistan’s neighboring countries, would take over this important market and Pakistan will be left behind.

Earlier while welcoming the Ambassador, President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra said that Libya, being an emerging economy, offers immense opportunities to Pakistani business community to exports various products and services.

Ziaul Haq TIP’s new MD

islamabad (Staff Reporter): 181st Board of Directors meeting of Telephone Industries of Pakistan (TIP) was convened here in Islamabad on Friday. The meeting was chaired by the Minister of State for IT Ms. Anusha Rahman. Federal Secretary IT Azmat Ali Ranjha, Acting MD T.I.P Muddassar Hussain, Member Legal Ms. Amina and other Board Members were also present in the meeting. Initially, three names for the appointment of new MD T.I.P were proposed by Establishment Division to Ministry of Information Technology. The TIP Board as culminate of the nomination process has unanimously approved the name of Zia-ul-Haq for the appointment of MD T.I.P.

The Minister also appreciated the invaluable services of Mudassar Hussain which he rendered as acting MD, T.I.P for revitalisation of the organisation. It has also been decided by the board that Mudassar Hussain would continue his assignment as MD TIP till the issuance of formal notification of new MD.

Weekly inflation down by 0.26pc

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) for the week ended on January 08, 2015, for the lowest income group up to Rs 8,000, registered a decrease of 0.26 percent as compared to the previous week.  The SPI for the week under review in the above mentioned group was recorded at 202.58 points against 203.10 points registered in the previous week, according to data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The weekly SPI has been computed with base 2007-2008=100, covering 17 urban centers and 53 essential items for all income groups and combined. The SPI for the combined group also decreased by 0.35 percent as it went down from 211.28 points in the previous week to 210.53 points in the week under review.

As compared to the corresponding week of last year, the SPI for the combined group in the week under review increased by 0.53 percent. As compared to the last week, the SPI for the income groups from Rs.8001-12,000, Rs.12,001-18,000, Rs.18001-35,000 and above Rs.35,000 decreased by 0.32 percent, 0.35 percent, 0.37 percent and 0.37 percent respectively. During the week under review average prices of 15 items registered decrease, while that of 09 items increase with the remaining 29 items’ prices unchanged.

The items which registered decrease in their prices during the week under review included chicken (farm), LPG cylinder, tomatoes, potatoes, cooking oil, eggs (farm), vegetable ghee (loose), vegetable ghee (tin), wheat flour, bananas, masoor pulse, mash pulse, rice (irri-6), mustard oil and wheat. The items which recorded increase in their average prices included onions, garlic, firewood, moong pulse, tea (prepared), gur, rice basmati (broken), sugar, red chilly. The items with no change in their average prices during the week under review included bread, beef, mutton, milk (fresh), curd, gram pulse, salt (powdered), tea (packet), cooked beef, cigarettes, long cloth, shirting, lawn, georgette, sandal (gents), chappal, sandal (ladies), electricity charges, gas charges, kerosene oil, electric bulb, washing soap, match box, petrol, diesel, telephone local call and bath soap.