Neelum-Jhelum transmission line to Gujranwala to cost Rs22.582b

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Neelum-Jhelum 500 KW transmission line to Gujranwala will cost around Rs.22.582 billion including Foreign Exchange Component (FEC) of Rs.13.553 billion. Official sources told APP here Thursday that the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has also approved last week in principle financing facility of Rs 17 billion from local banks for the laying of 500 KV double circuit transmission line from Neelum Jhelum Hydro Power Plant to Gujranwala. However, they said that it would be subject to approval of terms and conditions of borrowing by the Ministry of Finance.

As National Transmission and Despatch Company Limited (NTDCL) is implementing the project through its own resources, the local banks have also shown their willingness to provide funding against sovereign guarantee by the Government.

It is pertinent to mention here that first unit of 969 MW Neelum Jhelum Hydro Power Project will be operative by December 2015 for which NTDCL has to complete the priority portion of transmission line on or before September 30, 2015 for evacuation of power from the project.

Meanwhile, the committee formed under the chairmanship of Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal was also directed to expedite work on National Energy Plan and to submit its report within the time period of two months as promised by the committee on its inception.

Confederation of Indian Industry

delegation to visit Pakistan on 25th

ISLAMABAD (APP): A high level delegation of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will arrive Pakistan on August 25 on 4-day visit to further explore the possibilities of promoting bilateral trade ties between the two neighbouring countries. Talking to media persons here Thursday, VP SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iftikhar Ali Malik, who returned home after leading a SAARC CII delegation to India, said the CII delegation leader Rajesh Menon,(Head of South and Central Asia) would hold meetings with President FPCCI Usman Zakaria, CE of TDAP, S M Munir, Chairman of PIJBF Syed Yawar Ali, SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry and corporate sector leaders.

He said there was a need to address concerns relating to market access, tariff and non-tariff barriers. The Pak-Indo trade leaders stressed the need for “Trust Building Measures” between private sectors of the two countries to boost bilateral trade, he added.

He said the CII would extend support and training facilities to develop human resources in industrial sector on modern lines to meet the international standards of exports and modern trends in global marketing.

He said, “Pakistan wants a level playing field for strengthening trade ties with India”. The CII, FICCI, SAARC CCI and PIJBF would support Pakistan in health, agri, engineering and automobile sectors and help establish modern vocational training centres at all important industrial cities to produce the best quality skilled manpower.

Iftikhar Ali Malik said, “Leaders from both sides are pushing the need to liberalize the visa regime between Pakistan and India to promote business linkage.” The trade leaders from either sides stressed the need for confidence building measures between private sectors of the two countries to boost bilateral trade. He said the CII would work out viable strategies and mechanism to promote bilateral trade between the two neighbours.

Iftikhar Ali Malik said the CII, FICCI, SAARC CCI and PIJBF would hold joint seminars and workshops in different big cities of Pakistan in collaboration with Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry to help develop modern infrastructure and boost existing bilateral trade relations for strengthening economy.

Seafood exports increase

5.68pc in July

ISLAMABAD (APP): The exports of fish and fish preparations increased by 5.68 percent during the first month of fiscal year 2014-15 as compared to the same month of last year. According to the latest data released by PBS, the fish exports during July 2014-15 were recorded at $21.246m against the exports of $20.104m in July 2013-14. In terms of quantity, the seafood exports in July 2014 were recorded at 10,463 metric tons compared to the exports of 8,397m in July 2013, showing increase of 24.60 percent. Meanwhile, on month-on-month basis, the seafood exports, however, decreased by 33.03 percent in July 2014 when compared to the exports of $31.726 million in June 2014.

It is pertinent to mention here that country’s trade deficit narrowed by 16.58 percent during the first month of the ongoing fiscal year (2014-15) compared to the same month of last year, mainly owing to decline in imports into the country.

The imports into the country decreased by 11.80 percent in July 2014 compared to the imports of July 2013.

The imports into the country were recorded at $3.364 billion in July 2014 compared to the imports of $3.814 billion in July 2013, the PBS data revealed.

Exports from the country, however, also decrd by 7.88 per cent by going down from $2.095 billion in July 2013 to $1.930 billion in July 2014.

Based on the figures, the overall trade deficit in July 2014 was recorded at $1.434 billion compared to the deficit of $1.719, showing a deficit of 16.58 percent.

World oil prices down on fading

supply fears

SINGAPORE (AFP): Oil prices edged lower in Asia Thursday on fading fears that conflicts in crude producers Libya and Iraq could result in a major supply disruption.  US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery was down six cents at $93.39 while Brent for October eased 24 cents to $102.04. “Benchmark prices weakened further as there has been no disruptions in crude supply despite ongoing crises in Iraq and Libya,” said Sanjeev Gupta, head of the oil and gas practice at consultancy EY. In Iraq, the OPEC cartel’s number-two producer, US air strikes that began on August 8 have pinned back the Islamic State group who have overrun large swathes of the country’s north and west as well as parts of Syria.

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday demanded the world take firm action against the “cancer” of jihadist extremism in Iraq and Syria, a day after the militants released a video showing the beheading of US reporter James Foley.

The jihadist expansion has not affected oil production in Iraq’s south, where most of its oil infrastructure is situated. Supply to neighbouring Turkey and Jordan have however been disrupted.

In Libya, output has been increasing in the vital oil sector despite ongoing fighting between Islamist militia and government forces.

Mohamed Hrari, spokesman for Libya’s National Oil Corporation, said production on Monday reached 550,000 barrels a day, from around 400,000 barrels previously.

Output in the north African state, an OPEC member, had been severely limited for a year after rebels last summer blockaded terminals as part of a campaign to restore autonomy in the country’s eastern region.

The terminals were reopened after Tripoli struck a deal with the rebels in April.

Gupta said investors will next focus on a three-day meeting of US and European central bank heads in Jackson Hole, Wyoming that begins Thursday.

“The market is looking for clues from the outcome of the two-day meeting of the world’s top central bankers, who will air their views on central bank policies and labor market situation this weekend in the US,” Gupta said.

Reserves stand at $13.92 billion

KARACHI (Staff Reporter): The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $13,925.8 million on 15 August 2014. The break-up of the foreign reserves position as foreign reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan: $8,902.7 million, net foreign reserves held by banks: $5,023.1 million and total liquid foreign reserves are: $13,925.8 million. During the week ending 15 August 2014, SBP’s Liquid FX Reserves decreased by $285 million to $8,903 million compared to $9,188 million in the previous week. The decrease in SBP reserves is mainly attributed to payments of $295 million on account of external debt servicing, which includes $147 million paid to IMF under Stand by Arrangement.