Low cotton output to affect exports, GDP

ISLAMABAD (INP): Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) on Thursday said low cotton output was hurting millions of families in the farming communities, which would ultimately affect exports and gross domestic product (GDP). The country would miss the target of cotton production by 4.6 million bales necessitating imports worth $4 billion to keep textile industry running which would hit balance of payment situation and forex reserves, PBIF President Mian Zahid Hussain said in a statement here. He said the cotton group, backbone of the national economy, needed immediate attention of the government as it held 8.5 per cent share in the GDP, fetched $12 billion through exports and provide jobs to 40 per cent of the labour said.

“The situation shouldn’t be allowed to take toll on sliding exports and drag down GDP by one per cent minimum,” he said adding that reasons behind the low cotton output included sudden and unpredictable rains, draught in some areas, low cotton prices and hike in prices of inputs by 15-20 per cent and use of substandard seed which had discouraged farmers.

He said that the sowing target of cotton was also missed as it was planted on 2.946 million hectares against the target of 3.122 million hectares which could result in disastrous consequences if the trend continued in future.

Mian Zahid Hussain lashed out authorities who discounted local wisdom to promote so-called genetically modified seed terming it pest resistant which proved otherwise.

The imported seed failed to withstand pink bollworm and whitefly attacks while sprays and medicine to tackle the pests were not available in the market which played havoc with the crop, he added.

Calling immediate action, he said that delay could hurt the economy badly while the country might not remain the fourth largest producer of the cotton.

The cotton group was backbone of the country’s economy but for the last few years’ its production had declined due to apathy of authorities, substandard seeds, fake pesticides, droughts, floods, and erratic weather patterns, he noted.

SECP registered 514 new companies in Jan

ISLAMABAD (Staff Reporter): The SECP registered 514 new companies in January 2016, indicating an increase of 23pc as compared to same month of preceding year. In Jan 2016, around 89pc companies have been registered as private limited companies, while around 8pc companies were registered as single member companies. Three percent of the companies were registered as public unlisted, associations’ not-for-profit and foreign companies. The services sector took the lead with the incorporation of 70 companies. Moreover, one foreign company was also registered by the CRO in Karachi. Foreign investment has been reported in 46 new companies.

These companies have foreign investors from, China, USA, UK, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Russia, Australia, Qatar, Singapore, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Philippines, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Mexico, France and UAE.

These companies are from trading, auto and allied, healthcare, education, information technology, mining and quarrying, logging, paper and board, fuel and energy, power generation, services, textile, tobacco, transport, construction, tourism, steel and allied, cables and electrical goods and miscellaneous sectors as well.

During the month, the highest numbers of companies, i.e. 173, were registered at the Company Registration Office (CRO), Islamabad, followed by 149 and 135 companies registered at CRO Lahore and Karachi respectively. The CROs in Multan, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Quetta and Sukkur registered 21, 21, 9, 3 and 3 companies respectively.

Businessmen be equipped with IT-based knowledge

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Dream of economic stability cannot come true without equipping the business community with IT based knowledge. The LCCI three-day Information Technology Exhibition will not only help promote Information Technology Activities in the province but will also encourage IT exports. This was stated by the provincial minister Mujtaba Shuja ur Rehman while addressing at the opening ceremony of the LCCI three-day Information Technology Exhibition here at Alhamra Art Gallery on Thursday. The function was also attended by LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad.The exhibition was organized in collaboration with Zong Pakistan and Punjab government.

Provincial Minister said that Punjab government is well aware of the fact and taking innovative measures to promote information technology in the province. While lauding the LCCI efforts, he said that this initiative would be proved a milestone in promotion of information technology amongst the business community. 

Pakistan International Trade Fair to be held in August

KARACHI (INP): Chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on Fairs & Exhibitions and Trade Delegations, has stated that FPCCI will organize Pakistan International Trade Fair in August for which he has called meeting of his Committee on 17th Feb to finalize arrangements of PITF and other Pakistan solo exhibitions. While discussing on PITF, Rahim Janoo said that Fair will be the first ever event of its kind in Pakistan which will make significant impact on our bilateral trade relations with the world. He expressed his optimism that FPCCI’s counterparts in different countries particularly from China, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran, Turkey, Nepal, Afghanistan, European and CIS countries will participate in this exhibition.

Moreover, its regional pavilions like SAARC, ECO, OIC, ASEAN and D8 may also be organized in PITF. He further said that this international exhibition will go a long way in projecting economic activities which would also become a source of attracting the foreign investment as well in Pakistan. Rahim Janoo further said that PITF will be a regular event of FPCCI.

He further informed that FPCCI will also organize Pakistan pavilion in different international exhibitions in China, India, Tanzania, Uganda, Turkey, Vietnam and solo exhibitions in Nepal and Norway.

Oil tumbles close to 13-year low

LONDON (AFP): World oil prices tumbled once more Thursday, nearing a 13-year low in New York, with no end in sight to the global supply glut. US benchmark WTI for delivery in March hit $26.32 a barrel, close to a 13-year low of under $26. Around 1200 GMT, the contract stood at $26.38 a barrel, down $1.07 compared with Wednesday's close. Brent North Sea crude for April shed 67 cents to $30.17 a barrel. "This irrefutable damage caused by the excessive oversupply in the saturated markets may have nullified any bullish reports concerning a decline in stockpiles," said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at trading group FXTM. Oil prices had rallied briefly Wednesday after a US Department of Energy report showed US oil stocks fell about 800,000 barrels for the week ending Feb 5.

But they soon dropped back as traders took note of higher supplies of gasoline, a rise in stocks at the key Cushing, Oklahoma trading hub and a scant drop in oil production.

"Swollen crude inventories in the US are putting increased downward pressure on the price of WTI, increasing its differential to the international benchmark Brent," BMI Research said in a note to clients.

Analysts said sentiment was marred also by a report this week from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that showed the cartel's production rose by about 130,000 barrels a day in January.

The OPEC report followed a bearish outlook released by the International Energy Agency, which predicted the global oil surplus would be larger than previously expected in the first half of this year.

"With the fundamentals of an unrelenting oversupply still in place and the conflict of interest between OPEC members pumping record high levels... low oil prices may be here to stay for an extended period," added Otunuga.