Govt making all-out efforts for

promotion of kinnow exports

ISLAMABAD (APP): Parliamentary Secretary Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Mohsin Ranjha said on Friday that the government was making all-out efforts for the promotion of citrus and kinnow exports. Talking to media persons after inaugurating the Mandarin Festival being jointly organized by Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and Sargodha Chamber of Commerce, he said that this festival was being organized on the special directives of Prime Minister to introduce new kinnow varieties to the world. He said that the citrus and kinnow growers and exporters were also attending the festival.

 Pakistan is on the largest kinnow growing country in the world but unfortunately exports in this sector are not matchable as compared to competitors due to improper handling, packaging and exporters less awareness about various issues relating to kinnow export to Indonesia.

Ranjha said that Sargodha is main area of Citrus and kinnow production and the plan was afoot to shift to eco-based economy which would benefit the growers.

HE said that the government would set up an institution for capacity building of the kinnow and citrus growers of the country. He appreciated TDAP efforts for the promotion of the country's trade.

He said that the produce of the citrus and kinnows would be increased further and a processing zone for citrus would also be set up soon. Moreover, a kinnow research institute would also be set up and seedless varieties of the fruit would be developed, he added. Ranjha appreciated the role of TDAP in promotion of kinnow exports.

President SCCI Mirza Fazalur Rehman and Director TDAP Khalid Rasool were also present on the occasion.

PTA raids 2 illegal gateway exchanges

ISLAMABAD (APP):  PTA, in its ongoing efforts to control grey trafficking, has unearthed two illegal gateway exchanges in Multan and Bhahwalpur. According to details, two successful raids against the grey operator were carried out along with FIA team in Multan and Bhahwalpur, said press release issued here on Friday. First raid was carried out at Liaqatabad, Multan and an illegal exchange comprising of two gateways, Switches, SIMs, Laptop and Modems were confiscated.Two persons were arrested who were in FIA custody for further investigation. Second raid was carried out at Bhahwalpur where an illegal exchange comprising of six gateways, Switches, hundreds of SIMs, Laptop and Modem was confiscated.

One person was arrested who is in FIA custody for further investigation.

The successful raids against the grey operators were made possible because of continuous monitoring, commitment and persistent efforts by PTA in curbing the menace of grey traffic thus curtailing the loss to the national exchequer because of grey traffickers in the country.

Oil prices up in Asian trade

SINGAPORE (AFP):  Oil prices rose in Asia Friday, extending solid gains in the previous session in response to news that leading petroleum producers are curtailing investment. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery rose 52 cents to $51.73 while Brent crude for April was up 53 cents to $59.81 in afternoon trade.  WTI gained $2.37 in New York while Brent for March surged $2.39 on its last day of trading. But Daniel Ang, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, said dealers are wary about the impact of such cuts in the immediate term.  "We will continue to see range-bound trading in the immediate term with little change to fundamentals," Ang told AFP.

"The main thing is crude production. As long as production levels don't go down for now, it is hard to see a reversal of low oil prices," he said.

"Markets seem to be ready for prices to go up again. They are just waiting for a sign that production will be significantly cut."

A US stockpiles report Wednesday showing crude reserves standing at an 80-year high for this time of the year has exacerbated concerns about a global supply glut.

Oil prices have been under pressure for months, plunging about 60 percent to just over $40 a barrel between June and the end of January.

However, they have recovered slightly in recent weeks as the number of drilling rigs has fallen and oil companies such as Total and Royal Dutch Shell trimmed some investment.

Askari Bank announces result

LAHROE (STAFF REPORTER): Askari Bank Ltd (AKBL) announced its 2014 result Friday, posting a PAT of Rs4.02b (EPS: Rs3.19), against LAT of Rs5.48b reported in 2013. The result came in line with experts EPS expectation of Rs3.20. The bank also announced a final cash dividend of Re1 per share (cumulative 2014 dividend of Rs2 per share).  Key highlights of 2014 results were: 38% YoY jump in NII, minimal provisioning expenses at Rs321mn, down 97% YoY and 48% YoY growth in Non Core Income. AKBL has also notified acquisition of Foundation Securities (Private) Ltd (FSL) by purchase of 95.75%-100% of the company’s paid up share capital at Rs8.16/share. The transaction is subjected to regulatory approval.

Workshop on competition law

ISLAMABAD (STAFF REPORTER): The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), in collaboration with the USAID, US Department of Commerce's Commercial Law Development Programme (CLDP) and US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) conducted a two-day workshop on Competition Law for its professional staff. The aim of the workshop was to build capacity of the CCP's professional staff in key enforcement areas i.e. investigating cartel agreements, abuse of dominance, merger review, deceptive marketing and to enable them to learn from international best practices. US FTC is the US federal agency responsible for anti-trust and consumer protection.

The workshop was conducted by experts from the FTC Russell Damtoft, Associate Director, (Office of International Affairs) and Krisztian Katona, Counsel for International Anti-trust.

Damtoft presented the analysis deployed by the FTC in identifying and investigating cartels and dealing with deceptive marketing practices. Katona focused on how to identify instances where a firm was abusing its dominant position and merger review. The international experts shared the analytical techniques and practices deployed by the US FTC, which could also be adopted by the CCP.

Ms. Vadiyya Khalil, Chairperson CCP, thanked Joe Yang, Attorney Advisor, CLDP and the experts from US FTC for organising the training and hoped that such collaboration between the two agencies would continue in the future. The Chairperson awarded certificates to the participants of the workshop.