PBIF asks govt to discourage wheat imports

ISLAMABAD (INP): President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday asked the govt to increase regulatory duty on import of wheat from 40 percent to 60 percent to discourage imports. Country has already surplus stock and all efforts to deal with it have backfired therefore wheat imports at this stage is against the national interest, he said. Mian Zahid Hussain said that federal and provincial govts have almost 10m tonnes of surplus wheat which is rotting in godowns. Earlier this year the govt increased regulatory duty on imports from 25 percent to 40pc but it failed to deter importers which must be reviewed immediately, he said. Surplus stock could not be sold in the international market due to low prices despite frequent extension of dates and upward revision in the export rebate which hit almost 90 dollars per tonne, he noted. The business leader said that the federal government allowed Punjab and Sindh to sell twelve hundred thousand tonnes of wheat but both the provinces could manage to sell only 416,650 tonnes, almost one third of the allowed wheat export.

He said that high support price has increased production of wheat but its prices has remain the same since three years, which if reduced will increase consumption which will reduce pressure on stocks and provide relief to masses while easing pressure on the central bank.


Dollar rises as markets await Fed chair speech

TOKYO (AFP): The dollar rose Wednesday with the Federal Reserve's policy plans in focus, while the South Korean won fell after the North tested a submarine-launched missile, bringing geopolitical tensions back into focus. Traders are awaiting a speech by Fed chief Janet Yellen at the Jackson Hole symposium of global bankers Friday hoping for clues about the direction of US monetary policy. On Wednesday, the dollar bought 100.36 yen against 100.23 yen in New York, while the euro slipped to $1.1295 from $1.1307. The greenback has been see-sawing this week as divergent views from Fed officials have kept dealers guessing about the central bank's plans. "The US dollar appears to be in consolidation mode ahead of the key risk event for the week, Fed Chair Yellen's scheduled speech at Jackson Hole," Kymberly Martin, a currency strategist at the Bank of New Zealand, said in a commentary. "The market has recently nudged up expectations for near-term Fed activity but still remains fairly reticent to fully price a rate hike."

The dollar also rose against most Asian currencies. It put on 0.4 percent against the won, partly in response to North Korea's missile launch early Wednesday morning, analysts said.

"The missile is one of the reasons why we're seeing a definite risk-off move in the (South) Korean won," Stephen Innes, a senior trader at OANDA Asia Pacific, told Bloomberg News.

"With emerging markets, it's about the uncertainty over the Federal Reserve. There's some expectation that interest rate hikes are going to eventually hit the market."

The dollar climbed against the Malaysian ringgit, Indonesian rupiah, Thai baht, Taiwan and Singapore dollars, and the Philippine peso.

The euro advanced to 113.37 yen from 113.33 yen.

South Africa's rand rose 0.5 percent against the dollar after diving three percent Tuesday on fears about the future of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who was summoned by police over his work as Revenue Service commissioner.


Major volume of mangoes exported to Iran, Middel East

ISLAMABAD (APP): Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) said on Wednesday major volume of mangoes was exported to Iran and Middle East during the current season. "Pakistan's mango export target is likely to be achieved during the current season due to opening of Iranian market and it is also expected that export will be around 120,000 tons," FPCCI Regional Standing Committee, Chairman Ahmad Jawad told APP. He said last week the chamber had a detailed meeting with Iran Ambassador and during the meeting the team was briefed that Pakistani horticulture products had a great demand in Iranian markets. "We also requested the mission that Iranian Embassy may play its due role so that Pakistani kinnow and potatoes could be allowed in the upcoming season, starting on December 1," he added. Jawad also appreciated the role of Department of Plant Protection (DPP) for facilitating the mango exporters.

"Currently a major hurdle to the expansion of Pakistani mango market is the inability to supply high-quality mangoes in a consistent manner by meeting demands of supermarket chains, he added.


SECP organises seminar on voluntary pension system

ISLAMABAD (INP): The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), as part of its investor education initiative, organized a seminar on voluntary pension system (VPS) at its head office on Wednesday for senior human resource professionals. In order to promote a culture of savings and investments and to facilitate a post-retirement income stream for individuals in a regulated environment, the SECP introduced the VPS rules in 2005. The VPS is a tax-advantaged, self-contributory pension scheme open to all adult Pakistanis with CNICs. Employed as well as self-employed individuals can voluntarily contribute to a pension fund during their working life to provide regular income after retirement. VPS operates on a decentralized market-based approach, offering flexibility in terms of the contribution rates as well as investment choices to serve the investors’ growing needs. VPS is an SECP-regulated product and it offers a viable savings vehicle for investors and the public.

The SECP safeguards the interests of contributors through a comprehensive regulatory framework. Furthermore, the industry plays an important role in ensuring an effective governance structure, sound risk management practices and well-placed internal controls.  Protection of VPS contributors is essential for building the trust and confidence needed for a thriving VPS industry. The SECP is keen to assist in the growth of this product so that the public can reap its benefits, leading to a positive contribution to the national economy.

The seminar was held in collaboration with SHRM Forum, the local chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, USA. The guest speaker for the event was Mr. Asif Ali, regional head, North Institutional and Retail Investments. In addition, senior SECP officers were in attendance. The seminar was especially designed for senior HR professionals and decision-makers to educate them about the product and demonstrate the potential benefits of VPS.

About45 individuals representing leading organizations attended the seminar. Speakers’ presentations were highly interactive and led to discussions on product features, inherent benefits to the participating individual, how the product is regulated for investor protection, and how it may be used as a retention tool by employers.

Participants found the session to be of high value and expressed the need for such sessions for raising awareness among the HR professionals. The event was followed by a lively question-answer session.