Heavy loam soil good for

mint cultivation

LAHORE (APP): Mint growers should select heavy loam soil with the capacity of proper water drainage for the cultivation of the crop. Agriculture experts told APP on Sunday that mint could be sown in September and October adding that 80,000 to 90,000 stems or branches of mint plants were needed to cultivate it on per acre of land. They said that growers should immediately water the crop after the sowing of mint and continue watering the crop with the interval of one week. During September and October the interval in watering of the crop could be increased, they added.

At the time of harvesting of mint growers should use one sack of urea and two bags of ammonium sulphate on per acre of land and later water the land as it would make the plants healthy.

Farmers should harvest mint when its plant grow 15 to 20 centimetres, experts added.

UK forces energy, mining firms

 show foreign state payments

LONDON (Reuters): Britain announced that energy and mining firms would have to disclose from next year any payments made to governments in countries where they operate as it aims to curb corruption in the natural resources sector. UK-registered companies will have up to 11 months after the end of their financial year to report payments to Companies House under the new rule, which will take effect from Jan. 1 2015. “The UK is determined to lead by example, which is why we have introduced reporting requirements on UK-based extractives companies early,” Business Minister Jo Swinson said in a statement.

“Oil, gas and mining can, if well managed, deliver precious economic benefits to the populations of developing countries. Too often, though, the assets from resource-rich countries are not benefiting local people or the local economy.”

The announcement on Friday follows a period of consultation with industry and the public on the proposal.

“While these reforms may be a step in the right direction to eradicate corruption, tax evasion and reduce extreme poverty in emerging markets, a disclosure regime is not of itself a cure,” Rachel Speight, a partner at law firm Mayer Brown, wrote in an email to Reuters.

“The changes may also negatively impact upon the commercial prospects for companies, with significant increased compliance costs and disclosure of sensitive information in circumstances where not all companies operating in the extractive industry are subject to the same regulations.”

In the consultation, oil and mining majors including BHP Billiton , Chevron and ExxonMobil expressed concerns about the potential costs of implementing such measures.

Some of them said that a British move ahead of other countries could hit companies as well as the attractiveness of Britain as a place to list shares and establish operations.

BP estimated costs of about $6.5 million to deliver the first filing and $2.5 million a year thereafter, mainly related to setting up a team to interpret the legislation, develop relevant processes and implement them in the various locations where the company operates.

The Association of British Independent Oil Exploration Companies (BRINDEX) said the requirements might affect its smaller members disproportionately, since their systems may not be as sophisticated as the large companies.

“There appear to be very few benefits to our members of publishing the new extractive report, but instead it is imposing another administrative and unnecessary burden on our sector at a time of other similar transparency initiatives,” it said.

Turkey’s Erdogan risks bumpier economic ride during presidency

ISTANBUL (AFP): President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan has based his political success on a strong Turkish economy, but a tricky external environment and concerns about the wisdom of some policies means he may have a bumpier ride ahead. The domination of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), which came to power in 2002, was built out of the ruins of Turkey’s economic crisis in 2001 when the stock market crashed and inflation soared. The AKP has since overseen average annual growth of five percent since 2003 and the rise of many ordinary Turks to European levels of prosperity, achievements which helped Erdogan win seven elections and two referenda in just over a decade.

The question now is whether Erdogan will be able to continue and build on these economic achievements when he moves from the office of the prime minister to the presidency on Thursday.

The external environment has grown less benign for Turkey in recent months, as the US Federal Reserve has tapered down its stimulus programme that benefited emerging economies and the strife in Iraq has robbed Turkey of a major export market.

But doubts have also grown about the wisdom of Erdogan’s economic thinking as he has challenged the independence of the central bank and pushed it to cut interest rates at a time of rising inflation.

Major structural problems remain, with Turkey burdened by a high current account deficit, chronically low savings rate, inflation well above the central bank’s target of 5.0 percent and stalling growth.

Meanwhile, Turkey could face political instability ahead of 2015 legislative elections, when Erdogan wants the AKP to win a crushing majority and change the constitution to hand more powers to the presidency.

“The economic imbalances that were allowed to build during the latter years of Mr Erdogan’s (tenure) as prime minister are likely to persist during his presidency,” said the London-based Capital Economics consultancy.

“The AKP’s reforming zeal has waned markedly in recent years,” it added.

- ‘Lack of stability’ -

Two major ratings agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, have both warned that the lack of political stability after the presidential elections risks harming the Turkish economy.

Moody’s said in a report that the “political landscape in Turkey has yet to reach stability”, pointing to the risk of political infighting within the AKP itself.

While it noted that GDP per capita had almost doubled since the AKP came to power, “maintaining that momentum will be difficult”.

“Looking ahead, the risks remain skewed to the downside,” it added.

Fitch, meanwhile, said that while Turkey had been “remarkably resilient” to recent economic shocks, “political risk will weigh on Turkey’s ratings”.

The Turkish government has taken none too kindly to their assessments, with Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci calling into question the impartiality of the agencies.

“It is not possible for us to consider as objective the institution that warns against political risks right after the most important, democratic and clear elections in our history,” he said after Fitch’s report.

- Pressure on central bank -

Markets have also been shaken by the government’s relationship with the central bank, which is nominally independent but has come under immense pressure from Erdogan to cut rates aggressively.

The central bank hiked interest rates drastically in January to ward off a currency crisis, and Erdogan — with a wary eye on flagging growth — wants rates cut back down to their pre-tightening level.

The bank has so far resisted, making only smaller cuts, and Erdogan has made no secret of his impatience with the body during rallies leading up to his election victory on August 10.

“The slowdown is likely to result in further government pressure on the central bank to provide support to the economy,” said Capital Economics.

“But additional rate cuts would be a cause for concern” and would “merely damage the central bank’s credibility,” it said.

By coincidence, the central bank will hold its latest meeting on monetary policy one day before Erdogan is to be inaugurated.

A litmus test comes in the coming week when the shape of the new government under incoming prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu and the future of its key economic players should become clear.

The fate of Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, the government’s pointman on the economy, and Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek is crucial for markets as they are seen as a guarantor of sensible economic policies under the AKP.

Reports last week indicated Babacan could be heading for the door but his prominence in recent appearances by Erdogan now hints otherwise.

“Recent news suggests that Ali Babacan and Mehmet Simsek, the two favourite ministers of markets, are likely to retain their positions in the new cabinet,” said Finansbank in a note to clients.

Protests damaging economy: Bossan

MULTANAPP): Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Bossan said the politics of protests was damaging the country. Addressing an open court at Union Council 127 Qasim Bela, Sikandar Bossan said the country could not afford the politics of protests and sit-ins. He observed that the country was already facing the energy crisis and the government was working on a war-footing bais.  He said participants in “Dharna” had held citizens of Islamabad and some important buildings of the state hostage which was damaging the economy. He also listened to public problems and assured them that they would be resolved on priority.

Swedish govt cuts growth forecast

HARPSUND (Reuters):  Sweden’s centre-right government delivered a gloomy message to voters on Saturday ahead of next month’s general election, cutting its growth forecast due to weakness in the global economy and saying it will further raise taxes if re-elected. With just weeks to go before the vote, the Alliance coalition hopes that by stressing its fiscal prudence it can catch the opposition which holds a big opinion poll lead ahead of the Sept. 14 vote. “A weak development internationally will mean a somewhat slower recovery in Sweden,” Finance Minister Anders Borg told reporters. “That, along with (planned) increased expenditure at the end of the next term of government, means that we must strengthen the budget.”

Sweden’s economy contracted slightly in the first quarter and barely grew in the April-June period as its key export sector was hurt by sluggish overseas demand, particularly in Europe.

The euro zone has stalled and recovery there could be further hampered by sanctions against Russia, imposed in July over its involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

Borg cut his forecast for growth this year to 1.9 percent against a forecast made in July of 2.5 percent. For next year he cut his forecast to 3.0 percent from 3.1 percent.

He said the public sector was expected to run a deficit of 2.2 percent of gross domestic product this year versus a previous estimate for a 1.6 percent shortfall.

To bring public finances back to a targeted 1 percent surplus by 2018, Borg said he planned to raise taxes on the financial services and commercial property sectors if reelected and would hike duties on tobacco and alcohol.

Those measures will strengthen the budget by around 25 billion crowns.


“We are in a position of strength now and so we need to build up buffers for the future, because there is one season that always returns and that’s winter,” he said.

However, with the economy still fragile, the new measures will be delayed until 2017-2018, Borg said.

The Alliance has already outlined plans to raise duties on cars, alcohol and tobacco, and to reduce tax breaks on pension savings. Schools, welfare, defence and asylum services are some of the areas that will get extra funding and the Alliance has pledged that 5 million Swedes will have jobs by 2020, 350,000 more than today.

Yet the warning that fiscal policy needs to be tighter is an about-turn for a government that has cut taxes by around 130 billion crowns since it took power in 2006. The opposition has also promised tax hikes, of around 30 billion crowns, and its message of more spending on welfare and schools has found favour with some voters.

The most recent polls show the four-party centre-right coalition government trailing the centre-left opposition by more than 10 points.

Social Democrat financial spokeswoman Magdalena Andersson on Saturday accused the government of creating the hole in public finances through its income tax cuts and adding that promised jobs had failed to materialise.