Govt decision to lift ban on new gas connections lauded

ISLAMABAD (INP): Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) President Mian Zahid Hussain has said that business community supports the decision of the PM Nawaz to lift ban on gas connections. The decision will help masses to get new connections while trigger economic activities across the country therefore it will go down very well with the business community, he said. Hussain said that the decision will benefit many sectors of the economy including urea, textile, general industry, power sector and CNG. He said that the government has initiated serious efforts to import gas from Iran and Turkmenistan while deal to import LNG from Qatar was also finalised by the incumbent government. Presently, one LNG terminal with capacity of 600 mmcfd is operational while another terminal with the matching capacity will start commercial operations within few months that will boosting the supply of gas to 1200 mmcfd, he added. He informed that ban on new gas connections was imposed in 2011 which resulted in many problems.

 Mobile phone import declines 7.61pc in 8 months

ISLAMABAD (APP): The import of mobile phones during the period July-Feb (2016-17) fell by 7.61pc as compared to same period of previous year. The mobile phone import during the period under review was recorded at $459.377m against the import of $497.189m in July-Feb (2015-16), according to PBS. On month-on-month and year-on-year basis, the mobile phone import in Feb 2017 also fell by 14.46pc in Jan 2017 and 6.08pc in February 2016. The import in February 2017 was recorded at $60.026m as compared to the import of $70.171m in Jan 2017 and 63.913 million in Feb 2016. Similarly, the overall telecom import also decreased by 4.58pc in July-Feb (2016-17) to $882.613m from $924.98m in same period of the preceding year. Likewise, on month-on-month and year-on-year basis the telecom import also witnessed a down trend as it fell to $101.403m in Feb 2017 from $120.787m in January 2017 and $125.724 million in February 2016 thus showing a decrease of 16.05pc and 19.34 percent, respectively.

 IMF calls for tax reforms to boost productivity

WASHINGTON  (Special Correspondent): IMF on Thursday called on nations to improve the design of tax system in order to increase productivity. In the analytical chapters of its flagship Fiscal Monitor report, the IMF said that badly designed policies, such as tax incentives that depend on firm size or type of investment, weak tax enforcement and tariffs applied to particular goods, have constrained the increase of productivity. The IMF research found that weak tax administration, such as tax evasion, not only hurts revenue collection, but also hurts productivity. It also found that eliminating such barriers would lift annual real GDP growth rates by roughly 1 percentage point over 20 years. It suggests authorities should seek to minimise differentiated tax treatment across assets and financing, and level the playing field across firms to encourage growth of productive firms. "Tax reform priorities for each country will need to take into account not only their impact on productivity, but also other govt objectives, it added.

 Weekly inflation down by 0.82pc

 ISLAMABAD (APP): The weekly inflation for the week ended on March 30 for the combined income groups decreased by 0.82 percent as compared to the previous week. According to the data released by PBS on Friday, the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) for the week under review in the above mentioned group was recorded at 222.67 points against 224.51 points last week. As compared to the corresponding week of last year, the SPI for the combined group in the week under review witnessed an increase of 3.02 percent. The weekly SPI has been computed with base 2007, 2008=100, covering 17 urban centres and 53 essential items for all income groups and combined. Meanwhile, the SPI for the lowest income group up to Rs8,000 decreased by 0.93 percent as it went down from 213.94 points in the previous week to 211.95 points in the week under review. As compared to the last week, the SPI for the income groups from Rs8001 to 12,000, Rs12,001 to 18,000, Rs18,001 to 35,000 and above Rs35,000, also decreased by 0.89 percent, 0.89 percent, 0.84 percent and 0.75 percent, respectively.