Poor man’s sector needs govt’s

attention: PEW

ISLAMABAD (NNI): The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said that the government should focus on the agricultural development and the poor man’s sector should not be allowed to fall prey to profiteers. “Among all the main sectors of the economy, agriculture is the most neglected in terms of investments and development; therefore farmers are among the poorest people in the country,” it pointed out. “Millions of farmers who make a living by generating most of the country's food supply are not supported to come out of the poverty,” PEW President Dr Murtaza Mughal lamented. He said that agriculture was one of the "real" sectors to which the society's poorest belonged, but it had been ignored for a long time. “Agriculture's contribution to the economy continues to dwindle due to unequal distribution of investments, which is one of the biggest mistakes of the successive governments,” he said, and added, “It is impossible to ensure national development while keeping agricultural development on the backburner.”

He admitted that although agriculture was no more the largest sector of the economy, but it continued to provide jobs to majority of the labour.

“Reduced production is contributing to poverty in the rural areas and widening the gulf between rich and poor while some policies continue to push farmers to prefer low cost crops over high value crops,” he said, and added, “Various packages announced for the farmers by the government have failed to achieve the desired results.

OPC offices in USA can promote

foreign investment

Lahore (Staff Reporter): The Pakistan Consul General in New York Raja Ali Ejaz hosted a dinner in honour of the overseas businessmen in the USA. The meeting discussed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s upcoming visit to the USA and his meetings with the overseas Pakistanis. Participants of the meeting stressed the need for granting voting rights to overseas Pakistanis and discussed its mechanism. They said that the facility of online voting should be provided to 8 million new overseas Pakistanis. Services of Overseas Pakistanis Commission (OPC) were also appreciated at the meeting. It was suggested to appoint OPC’s coordinator in each USA state to strengthen liaison with the immigrants and resolve their issues, besides attracting foreign investors to Pakistan. Participants of the meeting lauded Punjab CM for hosting the PSL final in Lahore, which, they hoped, would help promote the soft image of the country and improve confidence of the foreign investors.

The dinner was attended by Overseas Vice Commissioner Capt Khalid Shaheen Butt, PML-N USA President Rohail Dar, General Secretary Rana Saeed, Information Secretary Syed Anwar Wasti and PML-N New York President Mohammad Jan.

Over Rs482b released under PSDP

ISLAMABAD: (NNI): The federal government had released over 482 billion rupees till 10th of this month under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). According to the Ministry of Planning and Development, 150 billion rupees have been released for different road projects while over 118 billion rupees to WAPDA during the period. Likewise, over twenty-four billion rupees have been provided for Railway projects and over seventeen billion rupees to Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission for its projects. During this period, about fifty-two billion rupees have been released for the Temporarily Displaced Persons. Over thirty billion rupees were given for Special Areas, including AJK, Gilgit-Baltistan, SAFRON and FATA for development purposes. Similarly, twenty billion rupees have been released for Prime Minister’s Global Sustainable Development Goals achievement programme and about eight billion rupees for Prime Minister’s Youth and Hunermand Programme.

India has highest bribery rate in Asia

Berlin/New Delhi (AFP): India has got the dubious distinction of having the highest bribery rate in the Asia Pacific, with a survey showing on Tuesday that more than two-thirds of Indians had to pay 'tea money' or fork out other forms of bribe to get public services. The survey, conducted by international anti-graft rights group Transparency International, found 69pc in India as saying they had to pay a bribe, followed by 65pc in Vietnam. China was much lower at 26pc while the same for Pakistan was 40pc. Japan had the lowest incidence of bribery -- at 0.2pc. South Korea also fared well at a mere 3pc. However, it is China which seems to have seen the highest increase, with 73pc in the survey saying the bribery has gone up in their country over the past year while India comes in at seventh place (41 percent) -- higher than countries like Pakistan, Australia, Japan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. In the survey of more than 20,000 people in 16 countries spanning the Asia-Pacific region, an estimated 900 million said they had to pay a bribe at least once in the past one year.

The police topped the list of public services most often demanding a bribe while 38 percent of the poorest surveyed said they paid a bribe, which is the highest proportion of any income group.

The survey asked people how often they had to pay a bribe, give a gift, or do a favour, including for the police, judge or court officials, teachers, hospital staff or a government official for getting some documents or services.

"Governments must do more to deliver on their anti-corruption commitments. It's time to stop talking and act. Millions of people are forced to pay bribes for public services and it is the poor who are most vulnerable," said Jose Ugaz, chair of Transparency International.

The results show that lawmakers across the region need to do much more to support whistleblowers and governments must keep promises to combat corruption, including their commitments to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, Transparency International said.