NMC delegation briefed on trade promotion steps in Punjab


LAHORE (APP): Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) arranged a briefing for a delegation of National Management College (NMC) on steps taken by the government for promotion of trade and investment in Punjab here on Saturday. The delegation consisted of 15 members of the senior management wing and faculty members of the college. Senior officials of PBIT informed the visiting delegation about initiatives taken by the board and highlighted various achievements and incentives given by the provincial authorities to encourage investment opportunities in the province.

They informed the visitors that Punjab offered rich opportunities of investment in energy sector and various other sectors of economy for local and foreign investors.

   Other important aspects were also discussed during the briefing and individual sittings on the occasions.

   A detailed presentation was also arranged for the delegation regarding commerce and industry in Punjab.

Soil analysis, fertilizer prediction being strengthened in Punjab 

FAISALABAD (APP): Soil analysis and fertilizer prediction model through Information and Communication Technology is being strengthened in the 36 districts of the Punjab by the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) in collaboration with Punjab Agriculture Department.  This was informed by the Vice Chancellor UAF Professor Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan while chairing a meeting here on Saturday. Dr. Iqrar Ahmad said that the soil analysis and fertilizer prediction programme provided the information about inputs requirements and latest practices to the farming community through SMS, call centre and web in order to increase the productivity and solve their problems.

   He said that the farming community needed awareness regarding the latest practices.

He was of the view that the project would prove the milestone as the information will be provided to farmers for solving their problems through discussion with experts on phone and internet also. He also said that farmers’ facilitation centre would be set up at the UAF.

   Dr Anjum Bhuttar said that his department was making all out efforts to sensitizing the farming community about balance use and modern practices in order to ensure the food security. He said the project was a complete package for the farmers providing experts opinion.

Excise minister warns profiteers of strict action


LAHORE (APP): Punjab Minister for Excise, Taxation and Finance Mian Mujtaba Shuja ur Rehman has warned hoarders and profiteers of strict action. Talking to the officials of Shalimar Town here on Saturday, he said that provision of quality essential items to the people at cheaper rates would be ensured. “Ministers, civil and police administration have been mobilized for ensuring continuous provision of vegetables, fruits and other edible items at fixed rates”, he said.   Mujtaba said, the government had announced subsidy for the poorest families under a targeted subsidy programme of Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif.

The government would ensure that the deserving people could reap fruits of the subsidy by removing all hurdles in this regard, he added.

   “Whole-sellers and retailers involved in selling of substandard and adulterated items and charging exorbitantly high rates would not be spared”, he said.

KCCI urges member associations to contribute in budget recommendations

KARACHI (APP): Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) will organize pre-budget seminar on Saturday (Jan 18) here to gather inputs from trade and industrial associations of the city on the Federal Budget 2014-15. The chairmen/presidents of these associations have been advised to complete their home-work and participate in this important seminar with very practical recommendations /findings in writing. In a statement issued here on Saturday, President KCCI Abdullah Zaki said KCCI’s seminar will be focusing on highlighting a number of issues pertaining to sales tax refunds and of the Afghan Transit Trade.

It will provide an opportunity to identify customs anomalies, besides exploring ways and means on how to improve Pakistan’s exports,

He informed that the seminar will also suggest incentives for business community and discuss various issues pertaining to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Karachi Chamber has also advised trade associations to come up with suggestions on how to improve the on-going energy crisis, law and order situation, how to strengthen industry, trade, real estate and construction sectors so that these suggestions could be forwarded to the government authorities.

Abdullah Zaki said that this seminar would provide the business community of Karachi a very good opportunity to compile comprehensive budget recommendations to create an enabling environment for the private sector as “ we strongly believe that only a pro-business budget can pave way for a prosperous economy.”

The Karachi Chamber has requested trade associations to submit their proposals in writing so that these could be thoroughly reviewed and a comprehensive budget recommendations’ document is submitted to the concerned Government authority at the earliest.

Turkmen leader sacks state gas head over lack of diversification

ASHGABAT (Reuters): Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has fired the head of state gas company Turkmengaz for doing too little to diversify the vital gas industry that underpins the Central Asian state’s economy.Turkmenistan, a mainly Muslim nation of 5.5 million with the world’s fourth-largest natural gas reserves, has been ramping up gas exports to China via a pipeline built in 2009, while exports to Russia have dwindled in the last few years. Berdymukhamedov, who enjoys a personality cult and is titled Arkadag (The Patron), was shown on Saturday on state television saying that the gas sector was underperforming despite billions of dollars invested there in recent years.

“For example, we could have raised production and exports of liquefied gas and other products which are in great demand on world markets,” he told a government meeting.

He then sacked Turkmengaz head Kakageldy Abdullayev, who had held the job for just one year. His predecessor was also fired in January 2013 after the autocratic ruler cited faults in his work.

Little-known Charymuhammed Hommadov, described by state media as “a person with great experience of work in the gas sector”, was appointed as the new head of Turkmengaz.

While criticizing the mainstay state company, however, Berdymukhamedov said that fast economic growth continued in 2013. Gross domestic product expanded by 10.2 percent last year, he said. GDP rose by 11.1 percent in 2012.

Turkmenistan’s growth is largely in line with projections made by the International Monetary Fund, which in November forecast Turkmen GDP to grow by 10.1 percent in 2013 and by 10.7 percent in 2014, owing mainly to rising gas exports to China.

Berdymukhamedov and Chinese President Xi Jinping inaugurated Galkynysh, the world’s second-largest natural gas field, in September.

Turkmenistan has won the support of the United States and the European Union for alternative pipeline routes to sell its gas to Europe and to Pakistan and India. But to date, these projects exist only on paper.

Turkmenistan had planned to produce 76.9 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas last year and export 43 bcm. Output data for 2013 are not yet available. The desert nation aims to more than triple gas output in the next two decades.