Pakistan’s e-commerce market growing rapidly

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan’s e-commerce market has grown at an exponential rate in the past few years, giving way to a number of online ventures and increasing the country’s annual revenue by 30 million dollars, Gulf Today reports. The daily has said in Pakistan, new online ventures are springing up every other day and existing ones are registering unprecedented growth rates. The newspaper mentioned unofficial estimates and projections by stakeholders, saying that the annual revenue of the country’s e-commerce sector has passed $30 million. “There is still a lot that needs to be done if we have to reach the real e-commerce potential in the country and compete with other big players in the region,” said Adam Dawood, the country manager for a venture by Rocket Internet is one of the many portals in Pakistani e-commerce market and the management says that daily orders have grown more than three times since it completed its first year in the country.

E-commerce is widely categorised as a booming sector of the economy.

The statistics from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) reveals cellular mobile operators managed to pass 10 million mobile broadband subscriptions as biometric verification of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards slowed down growth in February 2015.

The total number of third-generation (3G) mobile subscriptions increased to 10.3 million as CMOs added 1.2 million new users to

their 3G network in February, according to the PTA, translating to a 14 per cent increase over 9 million 3G subscribers the previous month.

February figures indicate a slower growth in 3G sales because the CMOs had recorded a staggering 58 per cent month-on-month increase in 3G subscriptions in the month of January. The overall cellular user base, too, remained almost stagnant in February.

Telecom sector’s overall subscriber base reached 136.6 million during the month under review, a meagre increase of 10 basis points or 0.1 per cent compared to 136.4 million of the previous month.

Both the telecom regulator and industry expert had predicted slower growth for the months of February and March because of the on-going biometric SIM verification campaign.

The telecom regulator stated that since the launch of the BVS campaign, 10.9 million SIMs were disowned by users for blocking till March 8 the number includes 8.2 million SIMs that were blocked already.

The number of subscriptions came down significantly in February as millions of SIMs were blocked by CMOs recently.

Moreover, the cellular operators were barred from selling new SIMs through retail channels, which further slowed their sales.

As per current statistics, Telenor Pakistan is leading the mobile broadband market with 3.14 million 3G subscriptions as of February-end, 2015, up 15 per cent from 2.7 million the previous month. It was followed by Mobilink, which had 2.6 million broadband users at the end of February, up 19 per cent compared to 2.1 million of the previous month. Ufone had 2.4 million 3G subscriptions at the end of February, up 10 per cent from 2.2 million of January while Zong had 2.1 million 3G connections at the end of February, up 14 per cent from 1.8 million of the previous month.

The number of 4G or Long Term Evolution (LTE) subscribers increased to 68,184 subscriptions at the end of February, up 39 per cent compared to 49,098 the previous month. Warid Telecom had 60,923 LTE users while Zong had 7,261 4G users at the end of February.

MRI recommends measures to counter threats to mango after rain

MULTAN (APP): Mango Research Institute (MRI) Multan Director Dr Hameedullah has advised farmers to immediately drain out rain water and opt for anti-fungus treatment to mango orchards for protection against diseases and pests as the mango passes through delicate flower stage. In a release issued by Punjab Agriculture Department, he said that recent rains increased moisture in the air and raised the risk of Anthrecnose and Bacterial Blight diseases besides attack of a fly called inflorescence midge on mango orchards. Farmers should give some suitable anti-fungus treatment to their orchards after consulting experts while keeping in view the weather conditions.

They should immediately drain out stagnant rain water from orchards to avoid threat of ‘Sudden Death’ disease, he added. The director said that the orchards which have not yet reached flower stage should immediately be treated with spray of one percent Potassium Nitrate.

He said that one kilogram Urea per plant be applied when flowers gain maturity. Moreover, spray be applied to counter Powdery Mildew, owever, anti-fungus spray be applied while maintaining duration of 10-14 days

Govt to resolve key issues of traders for revival of economy

ISLAMABAD (INP):  Senator Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qayyum has said that revival of economy was on high priority of the government and it was making strenuous efforts to create an enabling environment for better growth business and economic activities. He was talking to a delegation of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by its President Muzzamil Hussain Sabri and Abdul Rauf Alam Chairman Founder Group called on him to congratulate him on being elected as Senator. Senator Qayyum said that businessmen were playing an important role in the economic development of the country and government was determined to resolve all issues of business community to facilitate them in smooth growth of entrepreneurial activities.

 He said that ICCI should share concerns of its members and assured that he would take up them with relevant authorities for redress.

Speaking at the occasion, Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry highlighted various issues of trade and industry and stressed that government should pay priority attention to resolving energy crisis that was badly affecting business and industrial activities. He said due to high energy prices, cost of doing business in Pakistan was quite high as compared to regional countries and emphasized that government should focus on exploiting cheap energy sources including hydel, coal and renewable to bring down production cost. It will improve competitiveness of our products and help in promoting exports.

Abdul Rauf Alam, Chairman Founder Group said that the prevailing complicated tax system was main hurdle in tax compliance and urged that FBR should simplify tax return forms as well as streamline tax regime in order to promote a fair taxation system that will contribute more effectively in improving tax revenue of the country.

Muhammad Shakeel Munir Senior Vice President and Muhammad Ashfaq Hussain Chatha Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry also highlighted various CDA related issues of business community and said that government should ensure better infrastructure in markets and industrial areas in order to facilitate the growth of trade and industrial activities.

Khalid Javed lauded the efforts of Lf. Gen. (Retd) General Qayyum as Ex-Chairman Steel Mills and said that government should focus on steel industry which has great potential to strengthen the economy. Mian Shaukat Masud highlighted textile industry problems and added that without resolving textile sector issues, Pakistan would not be able to take full benefit of GSP Plus concession. Khalid Iqbal Malik also offered many useful suggestions for the government.

Khalid Iqbal Malik, Mian Shaukat Masud, Muhammad Ejaz Abbasi, Zahid Maqbool, Malik Sohail Hussain, Khalid Chaudhry, Tahir Abbasi, Syed Adil Anis, Salahuddin Awan and Musharraf Janjua were also in the ICCI delegation.

NIM delegation visits CCRI Multan

MULTAN (APP): A delegation of 19th Mid Career Management Course (MCMC) at the National Institute of Management (NIM) Lahore visited Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI) here on Tuesday. The delegation visited different sections of cotton research facility. They appreciated the standard of research on cotton and congratulated the agriculture scientists on their achievements. CCRI Multan Director Syed Sajid Masud said that the research facility met international standards and has so far developed 20 high yielding varieties including Bt cotton varieties, says an official release. He said that experiments were yielding good results in line with research to control BSCV and hoped that a virus-free cotton variety would be developed soon.

He said that Pakistani cotton was famous for its fiber strength and white colour, adding that research was in progress to further improve quality to fetch more foreign exchange through exports.

Business idea competition

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Fast School of Management is organising a two-day Annual Business Idea Competition from March 20. Minister for planning and development Ahsan Iqbal and PTI leader Asad Umar will be the panel guests. Students from across Pakistan will share their entrepreneurial ideas in the event. The best ones are offered internships and jobs.With the participation of more than 650 students each year from all mainstream schools, colleges and universities, BIC has earned its reputation across Pakistan. For the first time, JUMPSTART has taken the initiative of hosting the event in a joint venture with Fast Business Club, providing maximum publicity, participation, security and activities for participation.

 Around 10 venture capitalists from international and national circles will provide on-spot funding to potential ideas in exchange of some shares of equity. Microsoft’s regional head will be conducting a session to mentor IT oriented start-ups. Five qualifying teams from this competition will qualify for an international business idea competition to be held in Switzerland next quarter.