PTA steps up efforts for distribution of cash among IDPs

ISLAMABAD (Staff Reporter): Owing to the reports regarding problems faced by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), lodged in different areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in getting financial relief through SIMs, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has stepped up efforts to facilitate the affected people from NWA. The government has announced a financial relief as compensation to IDPs which was to be disbursed through mobile phone SIM cards. For this purpose, Zong (China Mobile Pakistan - CMPak) has signed an agreement with Fata Disaster Management Authority and it is offering free SIMs to IDPs for seeking speedy relief in a transparent manner.

In order to streamline the process of distribution of Zong SIMs among the IDPs, Dr Ismail Shah, Chairman PTA, recently sent a team to IDP Centers in Bannu and adjourning areas. These SIMs will be used for distribution of cash to IDPs.

The PTA team conducted a comprehensive survey of these Centers and conveyed their findings to Zong for improvement. PTA has taken up the matter with top management of Zong and as a result of PTA’s efforts; Zong has provided a huge stock of SIMs for IDPs and also started to increase manpower dealing with the said operation.

PTA team has also visited Bannu Commissioner Office to know the problems of IDPs. A process of constant follow-up and feedback has been arranged by PTA so that problems in distribution of SIMs to IDPs are minimized. The operation is being closely monitored by Abdul Samad, Member (Compliance & Enforcement), PTA.

Sensitive list should be revisited

to promote bilateral trade: FPCCI

KARACHI (NNI): FPCCI President Zakaria Usman said that the respective governments of SAARC member countries should be encouraged to review the country-specific list of products that have export capacity but less trading volume to devise strategies for trade promotion and development, and to remove trade barriers. The causes of lower trade among the SAARC countries should be identified and in the light of this analysis country specific list of products should be revisited. In a statement issued here on Thursday, he said that sensitive list should be revisited to liberalise trade among SAARC countries for those products which are being imported from other countries.

Zakaria Usman informed that presently Nepal maintains 25.5 percentages of total lines in sensitive list which indicates that 25.5 percent products lines are not contributing in regional trade with Nepal. Similarly, 22.6 percent of total products lines are included in sensitive list of Pakistan it means have no contribution in regional trade, sensitive list of Sri Lanka contains 20.3 percent, Maldives 12.8 percent, India 16.9 percent and Bhutan 3 percentages of total products lines are in sensitive list.

Oil prices down in Asia

SINGAPORE (AFP): Oil prices fell in Asia Thursday following a mixed US supply report and easing concerns over tensions in the Middle East, analysts said. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery declined 49 cents to $101.80 while Brent crude dipped 13 cents to $108.15 in afternoon trade. “Oil tumbled as a rise in US gasoline inventories signalled weak demand, and a restart of a Libyan oilfield helped ease supply worries,” Singapore’s United Overseas Bank said in a note. The US Department of Energy on Wednesday said crude inventories tumbled 2.4 million barrels in the week ended July 4, more than the 2.0 million barrels analysts had expected.

Gasoline stockpiles, however, rose 579,000 barrels to 214.3 million, upending analysts’ expectations of a 300,000-barrel decline.

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.

A rise in inventories typically indicates weak demand, sending prices lower.

Analysts said oil prices remain under pressure over the expected return of disrupted Libya exports and Iraq unrest not yet affecting exports.

Brent crude has fallen more than $3.0 since July 3 after Libya’s interim Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thani declared that authorities have regained control of two export terminals blockaded by rebels.

The ports at Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra could add about 500,000 barrels of crude per day to global energy markets, analysts say.

In Iraq, a jihadist insurgency that has overrun large swathes of Iraq north and west has yet to impact on the country’s key oil assets in the south.

Investors are also digesting an upbeat assessment of the US economy by Federal Reserve policymakers in the minutes of their June board meeting released Wednesday.

The minutes showed the US central bank plans to end its five-year-long, economy-boosting bond-buying scheme in October.

Khaqan, Turkmenistan President

discuss construction of TAPI pipeline

BISHKEK (INP): Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met with President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and discussed the TAPI Natural Gas Pipeline Project. Khaqan Abbasi arrived in Ashgabat to attend the regular meeting of the Steering Committee of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI).The President highlighted Turkmenistan’s interest in strengthening of economic, trade and cultural ties with it partners in implementation of major projects of regional and inter-regional significance, including TAPI construction.

The Pakistani Petroleum Minister, in turn, stressed the relevance and timeliness of the project, as well as confirmed high interest in its early implementation to promote development of constructive international cooperation in gas sector.

Liquid foreign reserves

touch $14.63 billion

KARACHI (NNI): The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $14,637.7 million on July 04, 2014, stated in a stated issued by State Bank of Pakistan here on Thursday.  Foreign reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan are $9,602.3 million whereas net foreign reserves held by banks $5,035.4 million and total liquid foreign reserves $14,637.7 million. During the week ending 04 July 2014, SBP’s Liquid FX Reserves increased by $569 million to $9,602 million compared to $9,033 million in the previous week. The increase in SBP reserves is mainly attributed to receipts of $556 million from IMF under EFF. 

During the week ending 04 July 2014, on account of external debt servicing and other official payments, SBP has made payments of $78 million from its reserves.