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Digital world’s giants to support Pakistani entrepreneurs, startups

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Digital world’s all-time giants like Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft are going to mentor and support with tools and funds the Pakistani entrepreneurs and startups in the 2018 edition of Momentum Pakistan, a mega event being held in Karachi on February 19 and 20 next year, which connects startups with donors and industry. The international companies were arriving in Pakistan to tap the talent as most of the talent of Pakistan remained undetected thanks to the lack of opportunities, mentorship, exposure and connectivity with the right people. The two-day event will have several workshops and one-on-one sessions of successful ventures. The representatives of Facebook, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft are coming with plans for the Pakistani ventures. The Facebook team will share the insights about their FB Start Programme that helps startup to bootstrap by using tools from different partners. These tools help startups grow hacking and scaling the market to the relevant industry.

Amazon will provide startups with data centre facilities. As the world over companies are going to clouds, Amazon will offer free clouds worth $5,000 to $50,000 to selected entrepreneurs. IBM is coming to the Momentum Pakistan with exciting hackathons and workshops on its IBM Watson Programme.

 Political stability key to economic development: LCCI

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Pakistani economy is paying heavy cost of the political instability and chaos-like situation. Country has already suffered gigantic loss of $120 billion due to war against terrorism during the last two decades and is not in a position to bleed more to the political adventures. In a statement, LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeshan Khalil said that prolonged political instability and protests etc have aggressively harmed economic growth of the country. They said that political stability is the major tool for economic development. “Political instability is overlapping the major issues like rupee devaluation, miserable balance of trade, nose-diving stock market, unimpressive annual GDP growth rate of 5.28%, industrial growth rate of just 2.47%, unemployment rate of 5.9%, current account deficit, huge debt-to-GDP ratio and discouraging ranking of 147 in ease of doing business that should be a matter of concern for all”, they added.

LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that a week of stalled economic activity costs the country $500 million or $2 billion per month and a weak economy like Pakistan cannot afford to lose even one million dollar loss to exports.

Consultative sessions on gas reforms held in Quetta

QUETTA (NNI): Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority in collaboration with the World Bank has initiated country-vide consultative sessions on Third Party Access Rules 2012, Network Code and Tariff Regime for the Gas Sector Reforms. In this regard, fourth session was held at Quetta on Friday. A large number of stakeholders attended the session which include Sui Southern Gas Pipelines Limited, Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry, parliamentarians, lawyers and general consumers/public. The World Bank consultant gave a detailed presentation on the TPA Rules and Network Code whereas Misbah Yaqub, Executive Director OGRA, gave presentation on tariff regime. The session was chaired by Chairperson OGRA, accompanied by Member Finance, Member Oil and senior management of the Authority. While concluding the session, Ms Uzma Adil Khan, Chairperson OGRA, said, “We have concluded provincial consultative sessions today. We are here to get the feedback of provincial stakeholders on TPA rules, Network Code and Tariff Regime.”

Authority will positively consider valid suggestions of all stakeholders and will formulate effective and efficient regulations. Nothing is final yet once we conclude all sessions Authority will take decision based on collective wisdom and stakeholder inputs. Moreover, we shall also consult federal government in this regard”. The consultative sessions will now be held in Islamabad on December 12.

Govt should ensure transparency in mega projects: PBIF

ISLAMABAD (NNI): President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said the government should ensure transparency in mega projects and ensure fair and equitable treatment to local and foreign investors. Unbiased and even-handed treatment will help government win the trust of local and foreign business community, he said. Mian Zahid Hussain said that the trust of the local and foreign private sector is necessary to make these projects successful in the long run which will result in expanded production, more jobs and additional revenue. He said that recently the government decided to make payments to five power projects under CPEC on preferential basis and keep them insulated from the infamous circular debt. On the other hand the local investors who have established power plants were never paid in time majority of them is still awaiting payments to the tune of tens of billions.

Such decisions can be termed preferential treatment which is not good for the country and the business community which is still willing to invest in heavily these projects, the former minister warned.

He noted that secrecy will never help promote confidence of investors in the economic corridor and other related projects which is set to change the fate of Pakistan by providing uncountable opportunities.

Transparency will not only help investors to take critical and timely decisions but it will also improve the image of the country while unnecessary confidentiality and non-disclosure can damage the projects, the veteran business leader observed.

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