CCAC expects 10.85 million bales cotton production

ISLAMABAD (APP): As many as 10.85 million bales of cotton production has been expected for the current crop season, according to the Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC). Out of this production, 7.4 million bales is expected from Punjab, 3.4 million bales from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 0.057 million bales from Balochistan and 0.0029 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The meeting was held here which was attended by representatives of Provincial Agriculture Cotton Committee, Pakistan Cotton Standards Institute, Trading Corporation of Pakistan and grower member from Sindh. Cotton Commissioner apprised the committee about crop condition, pests and disease pattern and impact of heavy rains and floods to the cotton crop 2015-16.

He stated that current year cotton production was mainly affected by heavy rains in June-July, especially in cotton belt of Punjab, increased pest pressure of whitefly and pink ballworm. The environmental changes are casting adverse impact on cotton yield. The availability of fake and inferior pesticides coupled with high prices of branded inputs.

Moreover, the declining trend of required plant population per acre over the last few years is also resulting in decreased production.

Smeda starts awareness move for PYMBL scheme

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): The SMEDA has included the awareness move of the Prime Minister Youth Business Loan Scheme in its 150 training programmes to be held across the country during current year. This was disclosed by Muhammad Alamgir Chaudhry, Chief Executive Officer of SMEDA, in a press statement issued here Wednesday. He observed that PMYBL Scheme was the best source for educated youth to become part of the nation’s struggle for economic prosperity. We have supplemented the awareness operation of the Scheme by initiating a series of training programs on “How to start a Business” in Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and KP , in which a comprehensive presentation on PMYBL is also given to the participants, he added .

Muhammad Alamgir Chaudry further told that SMEDA website was popular for bearing complete information about PMYBL including well made pre-feasibility Studies, Business Plans, training videos and Financial Calculators, which are available for free of cost down loading and are thus being down loaded by a number of people daily.

PML-N Traders Wing welcomes TAPI project

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): PML-N Traders Wing general secretary Shahid Nazir has termed the launching of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project a revolution in energy sector. In a statement, he said that leaders of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India have laid the foundation of a new era of progress and prosperity in South Asia. He hoped that this mega project having annual capacity of 33 billion cubic meters of gas would be fully operational during the given time span. He said that it was a good omen that the present regime was utilizing all the options to fulfill the energy needs. He said that TAPI is a game changer for all stakeholders and, therefore, the mega project has to be monitored continuously.

He said that the TAPI project is of great regional significance.

They said that early execution of the project would help energy-starved Pakistan to overcome ongoing crisis, which is hitting the industrial sector hard. He urged the government to remove all obstacles in the way of the project as it has a vital importance for the national economy in general and export-oriented industry in particular.

3500MW wind energy to be added to national grid by 2018

ISLAMABAD (APP): The AEDB has embarked upon a plan to enhance the energy mix up to 20-25 per cent by adding 3000-3500MW wind-based electricity to the grid system by 2018. "Out of this, as many as 1396 megawatts wind-based electricity will include in the system by 2017 as the AEDB would complete several projects initiated for alternate power generation," CEO, Amjad A. Awan said. Awan said that currently the wind projects having 255.4MW generation capacity are operational across the country including FFC Energy (49.5 MW) Jhampir, ZorluEnerji Pakistan (56.4 MW) Jhampir, Three Gorges First Wind Farm Pakistan (49.5 MW) Jhampir, Foundation Wind Energy - II (50 MW) Gharo and Foundation Wind Energy I (50 MW) Gharo.

He said that 28 ongoing wind projects of 1396.4 capacity would be completed by 2017, which would play a major role in overcoming the energy crisis on which the government is focusing.

He said out of these, 9 projects (477 MW) have achieved financial close and are under construction. These projects include Sapphire Wind Power Company (50 MW), Yunus Energy (50 MW), Metro Power Company (50 MW) Jhampir, Tapal Wind Energy (30 MW) Jhampir, Gul Wind Energy (50 MW) Jhampir, United Energy Pakistan (99 MW) Jhampir, Hydro China Dawood Power (50 MW) Gharo, Master Wind Energy (50 MW) Jhampir and Tenaga Generasi (50 MW) Gharo.

Fourteen wind power projects with a cumulative capacity of 664 MW are at different stages of project development and are expected to be completed by 2017-2018.

He said that there has been strategies that favour that one percent of energy should come through alternate sector, however we aim to rise it up to 20-25 percent by 2018.

He said that power tariff for wind power projects has been reduced to 10.4 cents which indicates that this could prove a promising sector for future investments.

He was of the view that Pakistan was having huge wind-power generation potential and if exploited properly, it could become a very lucrative and feasible source of alternate energy.

"Pakistan naturally is gifted in alternate energy resources and this has been identified by mapping assessment of wind, solar and biomass in the country through ESMAP's (World Bank) assistance.

He said that although the wind potential has been evaluated at a huge scale, however, as far as our studies and surveys are concerned, we have specifically identified the wind corridors having power generation potential of 30,000 megawatt.

He said that the AEDB has identified the high-potential regions including in Southern Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab where electricity generation through wind has promising potential.

Awan said that some of the wind potential areas have also solar intensity, so in such regions both wind and solar energy could be generated simultaneously and this may also be very attractive for the investors.

He said that there has been good responses from the investors to invest in this particular field of energy generation and observed that when the investors are given confidence over the sustainability of the projects, they willingly come to invest.

The CEO said that historically Pakistan has been leading energy sector in the region as it has been pioneering to produced through various sources including coal, gas, bio-gas wind and solar.

We were the first to set up regulatory authority and initiated power generation through Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

Mobile phones imports up 8.7pc

ISLAMABAD (APP): The total imports of mobile phones in the country have touched $307.744 million mark during first five months of this fiscal year, showing 8.79 percent increase. During same period last year (July-November 2015-16), the mobile phones import was $282.875 million. This single digit growth in phone imports is organic and has very little to do with the uptake of newer 3G/4G technologies, indicating that after early adaption of 3G/4G for those who had smartphones already - mobile phone companies might struggle in converting their customers to 3G/4G networks from now onwards. Experts on Wednesday said after adding a good 20 million 3G/4G users during past 18 months, 2016 is going to challenge mobile phone operators in attracting new 3G/4G users.

While there's no authentic data available, experts said overall smartphone penetration in Pakistan is around 15-18 %. Other telecom apparatus imports witnessed significant decline of 25 percent during this period as it stood at $263.287 million during July-November (2015-16) against $352.292 million during the same period in 2014-15.