PPAF disburses Rs9.2b microfinance loans


ISLAMABAD (APP): The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) disbursed Rs9.2 billion microfinance loans during a period from July-March (2016-17) through its partner organisations. The official sources said that the PPAF extended 246,142 new microcredit loans to the borrowers including 60 percent to women, adding that under the Prime Minister Interest Free Loans (PMIFL) scheme, PPAF administered 93,427 interest free loans, and 62 percent women were facilitated in this scheme. PPAF adopts a poverty graduation approach for the poorest households in over 1,600 union councils out of 6,000 in the country and assists ultra or very poor household to lift them out of poverty on a sustainable basis. During the period under review, a total of 646 Community Organisations (COs) were formed and 5,488 community and PO staff members were trained, out of which 32 percent were women. These initiatives were taken under Institutional Development and Social Mobilisation component of the fund.

Govt urged to revisit FTAs, PTAs to curtail trade imbalance

ISLAMABAD (INP): The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Thursday asked the government to revisit the existing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs). The trade agreements should be revisited as they are heavily tilted in the favour of partner countries, it said. FPCCI President Zubair Tufail said that FPCCI supports the bilateral trade agreements with different countries to enhance Pakistan’s trade relations but these are to be based on mutual benefits and at the same time protecting Pakistan’s economic interests. Due to existing FTAs, Pakistan’s imports have jumped by 300 percent in the last three years putting an unbearable burden on the foreign exchange reserves. “While at the same time our exports are on constant decline thus widening the trade deficit to an alarming level of $32 billion,” he said. He demanded that this situation is not sustainable for long and some effective measures must be taken without wasting any time.


Cotton price slump to be overcome soon: secretary

MULTAN (APP): Punjab Agriculture Secretary Muhammad Mahmud has said that present cotton price slump was artificial and will be overcome soon. Situation regarding cotton price in the domestic market would improve and cotton price would be stable within the next few days, said Mahmud while addressing a seminar at Bahawalnagar. The seminar was organised by the agriculture department in cooperation with Crop Life and FMC. The secretary said farmers should care the cotton crop properly for better quality production, adding that they would get good price this season. He disclosed that government would provide Rs5,000 per acre financial assistance to farmers this year for promotion of oil seed crops and a formal announcement would be made soon. He said the government attached top priority to resolving problems of the farming community. He said farmers were benefiting from huge subsidies on agriculture machinery, fertilisers and pesticides due to the Kissan package.


Seafood exports up by 12.19pc in July


ISLAMABAD (APP): The exports of fish and fish preparations witnessed an increase of 12.19 percent during the first month of the current fiscal year as compared to the exports of same month of last year. The exports of fish and fish preparations during July 2017 were recorded at $12.473 million compared to the exports of $11.118 million in July 2016, showing upward growth of 12.19 percent, according to the data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). In terms of quantity, Pakistan exported 4821 metric tons of seafood in July compared to the exports of 3693 metric tons in July 2016, showing growth of 30.54 percent. However, on month-on-month basis, the seafood exports from the country witnessed decrease of 57.45 percent in July 2017 when compared to the exports of $29.312 million in June 2017, the data revealed. In terms of quantity, the exports of fish and fish preparations decreased by 59.19 percent in July 2017 when compared to the exports of 11.812 metric tons in May 2017.

It is pertinent to mention here that the overall food group exports from the country during the first month of the current fiscal year increased by 34.74 percent by growing from $186.180 million in July 2016 to $12.473 million in July 2017. On month-on-month basis, the overall food exports, however, decreased by 12.30 percent in July when compared to the exports of $29.312 million in June 2017, according to the data.