Punjab approves development schemes of Rs2 billion

Lahore (Staff Reporter): The Punjab Provincial Development Working Party approved three development schemes of Rs2.3 billion. These schemes were approved in the 36th meeting of Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) of current fiscal year 2015-16. According to Spokesman for P&DD, the approved development schemes included: Establishment of Flyover across Railway Track in Raiwind City, Lahore at the cost of Rs. 1047.034 million, Widening / Improvement of Palace Road from Pull Dari Sangi to UAE Palace length: 12.00 Km (Revised) at the cost of Rs. 938.024 million and Establishment of I.C.U. at B.V. Hospital Bahawalpur (Revised) at the cost of Rs. 319.119 million.

SBP for enhanced coop among

region’s central banks

ISLAMABAD (Staff Reporter): Governor SBP Ashraf Mahmood Wathra has emphasized the importance of enhanced cooperation among the central banks to develop regional correspondent banking channels for facilitating the trade and flow of remittances in the region. He was addressing to the inaugural session on the seminar on “Payment Systems and Correspondent Banking in the SAARC Region” organized by SBP under the auspices of SAARCFINANCE on Monday at National Institute of Banking and Finance (NIBAF) Islamabad. The seminar was attended by participants from central banks of SAARC countries. Local and foreign experts on the subject shared their views on different dimensions of correspondent banking.

The SBP Governor emphasized that there is a need for strengthening payment and settlement mechanisms. He said that the regulators of SAARC region need to interact, coordinate and discuss Payment Systems issues in order to find common solutions to address the challenges that are being faced in this domain with the objective of facilitating trade, commerce and remittance flows. He was of the view that the cost and time of monetary transactions can be reduced significantly if SAARC countries are able to develop their own corresponding banking system. He also made it clear that the regional countries cannot afford to ignore the risks and responsibilities relating to money laundering that are increasingly being faced by financial institutions in today’s world.

It may be mentioned here that this was the first ever Seminar on Correspondent Banking and Payment Systems at the SAARC level aimed at providing the regional central banks an opportunity to share policies and practices prevalent in their respective jurisdictions, and explore new areas of cooperation.

RCCI welcomes inauguration of CASA-1000 project

RAWALPINDI (Staff Reporter): The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) welcomed the inauguration of Central Asia South Asia (CASA-1000) project by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his recent visit to Tajikistan and expressed the hope that the government would use its influence for an early completion of this mega project. RCCI President Mian Humayun Parvez talking to media men on yesterday said that it was a gigantic leap towards fulfilling the rising gap between the energy demand and supply. This mega project would further improve the trade ties between the two countries. The economy was taking a sharp leap and we need more energy to meet our industry demands, he added.

The RCCI president said that CASA-1000 would not only be beneficial for Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, but would also pave the way for more linkages between the Central Asian States and South Asia.

He also appreciated the flight operation between Dushanbe (Tajikistan) and Lahore (one hour forty mine flight time ) and said that this would promote people-to-people contacts between the two friendly countries. This will be a major breakthrough in further cementing bilateral ties particularly in the business sector, he said, adding that it would also be a source of strength for promoting tourism and culture between the two countries.

Mian Humayun Parvez said that it is encouraging that the government targeted the key markets like Central Asian states. He also referred to the RCCI first Made in Pakistan Exhibition in Dushanbe October last year where an overwhelming response was received. It was a step ahead in RCCI’s efforts to introduce Pakistani products in Central Asian markets.  RCCI President said this year we will organize the second Made in Pakistan Expo in Tajikistan. 

He said that despite immense potential, the South & Central Asia regions are amongst the least integrated regions of the world. The intra-regional trade is less than 5% primarily caused by high costs due to low infrastructure facilities, energy crisis, missing links and lack of transit agreements, he added.

World Telecommunication Day

to be observed today

ISLAMABAD (NNI): World Telecommunication Day is to be observed today on May 17, with a focus on the theme, ‘ICT entrepreneurship for social impact’, in accordance with Resolution 68 and as endorsed by ITU Council 2015. The Day celebrates the constant evolution of one of the most important components of our lives: communication. The main goal of observing the Day is to highlight the importance of communication between humans, and how this communication takes place when information travels across the world. It also aims at increasing awareness about the significance of communication in our lives, and stimulating the development of technologies in the field.

Each year, on May 17, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) observes the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention, while it observed its 150th anniversary in 2015.

ICT entrepreneurs and start-ups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a particularly relevant role in ensuring economic growth in a sustainable and inclusive manner.

They are involved in the development of innovative ICT-enabled solutions with a unique potential to make a long-lasting impact on global, regional and national economies, and are an important source of new jobs, especially for youth, in the current knowledge based economy.

The theme for WTISD-16 is in line with ITU's work in unlocking the potential of ICTs for young innovators and entrepreneurs, innovative SMEs, start-ups and technology hubs as drivers of innovative and practical solutions for catalysing progress in achieving international sustainable development goals, with a focus on SMEs from developing countries.

Oil prices begin week with

2016 highs

LONDON (AFP): Oil prices hit new 2016 highs Monday, as a slowdown in US drilling added to growing expectations the global supply glut will gradually disappear. Brent North Sea crude reached $48.90 a barrel and US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) achieved $47.19 -- the highest levels since early Nov. Later around 1030 GMT, WTI for delivery in June stood at $47.05, up 84 cents compared with Friday's close. Brent for July jumped 93 cents to $48.76. US oilfield services firm Baker Hughes said that the number of US drilling rigs fell to its lowest level since Oct 2009, handing a further boost to prices. Crude futures had already rallied last week after advisory-group the IEA said the world oil supply glut could ease in the second half of this year.

, and as the OPEC oil producers said the oversupply "may be easing" on reduced output by its members.

EY oil and gas analyst Sanjeev Gupta said the market will be closely watching the release on Wednesday of US commercial crude inventories, a gauge for demand in the world's top oil consumer.