Goods transport strike hits trade activities

KARACHI (Online): The trade activities of the country are suffering colossal financial losses as the strike called by the goods transporters entered fourth day on Saturday, resulting in piling up of export shipments and outbound cargo at Karachi port and PQ. The transporters are demanding the reversal of the decision to increase income tax and action against the frequent incidents of extortion and kidnappings. The strike has entered fourth day, yet no government official bothered to contact them to listen to their demands. They said that hundreds of their containers were being lifted by the civil administration of Sindh and Punjab for blocking roads and streets during Muharram processions.

The strike will continue till their demands are met by the government, they added.


PWC celebrates Allama Iqbal’s 136th birth anniversary

LAHORE (PR): The 136th birth anniversary of poet, philosopher Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal was celebrated at Bakhtiar Labour Hall with national zeal, fervor and enthusiasm here on Saturday. The speakers at event highlight the role and services of Dr Allama Iqbal for Muslims of sub-continent and getting separate homeland. Trade union leader Khursid Ahmed also addressed the participants. A photographic exhibition based on life and political struggle for Pakistan of Dr Allama Iqbal was also arranged to mark the day in a befitting manner and pay homage to the great. The house by a resolution urged the PM to adopt national self-reliance economic policy and introduce reforms.


Companies to audit abattoirs for meat export to Malaysia

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): The Malaysian govt has deputed anauditors’ delegation comprising 3 members namely Dr. Zurina, Muhammad Reza and Noor Azmi from “Malaysia Department of Islamic Development” to audit and approve Lahore based abattoirs for meat export to Malaysia. An opening meeting with Malaysian delegates was held at local hotel where all the stakeholders from meat industry including Dr. Hamid Jalil representative USAID, Dr Ilyas, Director Animal Quarantine Department, Yasir Hussain, Assistant Director TDAP, Zaurez Afshar, Registerar Punjab Halal Development Agency and all Lahore based meat exporters participated in the meeting.

 and discussed the potential of Pakistan regarding Livestock and raised questions about Malaysian standards. While talking on the opening meeting, Dr Hamid jalil, representative of USAID said that our organization is striving to revive Pak-economy through Agriculture and Livestock with the collaboration of local farmers and meat exporters that’s why we have sponsored the Malaysian delegation to boost up meat export from Pakistan to Malaysia and we are launching other incentive programs for livestock farmers for the enhancement of backward supply chain shortly, he added.

On the occasion Malaysian auditors appreciated the Government efforts taken for the betterment of Livestock sector in the Province.


WFP contributes kits to Passco for wheat storage

ISLAMABAD (APP): The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has provided 165 High Density Polyethylene Stack Packages (known as Gunji kits) worth Rs.14.7 million and enabling storage of 58,000 metric tons of wheat to Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) in a joint effort to reduce post-harvest losses. Previously, WFP supplied 500 kits along with 10 wheat cleaning/grading machines to PASSCO in 2012, said a statement of the WFP. During a ceremony organized at PASSCO, WFP Representative and Country Director, Lola Castro, handed over these kits to the acting Managing Director, Lt. Col. (Retd.) Muhammad Younis.

WFP Punjab's Chief of Provincial Office, Shahzada Rashid, and senior PASSCO General Managers and officials were also present on the occasion.

According to recent national studies, post-harvest losses in Pakistan are estimated at 10 to 15 percent. About 78 percent of wheat is stacked in the open and the organization has started to gradually improve its storage capacity in order to protect the wheat.

The contribution of kits over the past two years is part of WFP's co-investment with the Government of Pakistan in achieving enhanced and effective storage of wheat in order to reduce post-harvest losses due to spoilage and infestation and to obtain improved shelf-life and quality of stored wheat.

This initiative has the added benefit of improving food security in Pakistan by increasing the amount and quality of wheat available for consumption by the population" said Lola Castro.

"The kits provided by WFP will enhance protection of wheat stacked in areas where PASSCO does not have any concrete godowns. Since tarpaulins we used to cover the grain with are no longer resistant to climatic conditions, these Gunji kits come in very useful and will last for at least two years. We are very pleased to acknowledge the support provided by WFP which will enable PASSCO to further improve its wheat storage capacity and the quality of wheat", said Lt. Col. Retd. Muhammad Younis, Managing Director, PASSCO.

The WFP works in close collaboration with the Government of Pakistan and aligns its strategies with national priorities addressing food security and nutrition in the country.


Moody’s raises rating outlook for Portugal

WASHINGTON (AFP): Moody’s raised its rating outlook for Portugal to stable from negative Friday, citing the government’s improved finances and the declining risk of a debt restructuring. The move removed the threat of a possible near-term downgrade to Portugal’s Ba3 sovereign rating, and came after the troika of bailout lenders to the country—the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank—approved the country’s reform progress after a performance review. Moody’s cited the “improving trend in Portugal’s fiscal position and the government’s commitment to fiscal consolidation, as confirmed in the recently presented 2014 budget.”

It also noted a slowly improving economic outlook for the short and medium term, with exports growing and unemployment falling.

Thirdly, Moody’s said the improvement in the government’s liquidity meant it was less likely to have to restructure its debt, and more likely to receive fresh financial support from the European Stability Mechanism when the current bailout program ends next June.

“While Portugal’s borrowing requirements will be relatively large in 2014 and even more so in 2015, Moody’s expects the government’s market access to be supported by the availability of further official funding, if needed,” it said.

Earlier Friday the IMF released to Lisbon 1.91 billion euros ($2.55 billion), the newest installment in its part of the troika’s rescue program.