PCA urges for efforts to promote computer hardware industry

ISLAMABAD (INP): IT industry has been growing steadily and its export figures crossing over $2b a year in revenue, up from less than a billion dollars a few years ago and the current growth rates indicate that the industry will exceed the $11b mark in five years. But computer hardware industry could provide a robust boost to the economic revival both in terms of its contribution to the national exchequer as well as towards creating new employment opportunities in the country. Pakistan computer industry appreciates the infrastructure development plans of the government but this same vision needs to be replicated for the computer industry also which offers huge potential.

This was stated in a Press release issued by the Pakistan Computer Association (PCA) here in Islamabad on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion, Munawar Iqbal, President of the PCA said that given the fact that the government has set the target of achieving $3,774.285 million IT services exports in the next five years, the collaborative efforts on the part of government and the IT industry are need of the hour to translate the expected target into reality.



PPAF honoured with IFAD

Gender Award

LAHROE (PR): The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has awarded the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) with the prestigious Gender Award in Asia and the Pacific Region for 2014. PPAF’s PRISM funded by IFAD has been recognized for addressing gender inequalities, empowering women and providing them visibility in the best possible manner throughout IFAD and across its network of partners in Pakistan. Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO of PPAF, said, “We are honored that IFAD has recognized the work PPAF has done in promoting gender equity and empowerment.

Under PRISM, the ratio of women borrowers increased to 73 per cent as compared to the ratio of 50 per cent set as target. Under the program, PPAF facilitated lending to 137,751 women and 45,488 men.”



NBP signs deal to install 250 more ATMs

Lahore (Our staff reporter): National Bank of Pakistan has embarked a plan to roll out a wide ATM network by the end of 2015 at 1,000 different locations countrywide including far-flung areas.  The ATMs will be equipped with the state-of-art technology which will provide a hassle free cash transactions to customers of all income levels. This was stated by Mr. Syed Ahmed Iqbal Ashraf, President & CEO, National Bank of Pakistan who was present at the signing ceremony of 250 ATM project. The agreement was inked by Mr. Zubair Ahmed (SEVP, Logistic Security Support and Engineering Group) and Mr. Veqarul Islam.

Currently, NBP is operating with 376 ATMs countrywide and with this new addition the total installed base of ATMs shall be 626. NBP payment processing is powered by World renowned payment processing software ITM of Euronet. NBP is committed to perform its role to render commercial banking services to masses whereas it is equally firm to deliver facilities of public and national interest with true letter and spirit including disbursement of pension to more than 1.4 million beneficiaries on time every month through its branches network.



Minister suspends rail official

LAHORE (Our staff reporter): Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique expressed dissatisfaction over the cleanliness of Musa Pak Express and Night Coach and suspended the Head Train Examiner Muhammad Asif and Train examiner Maqsood during his visit to railway station.

According to a press release, Railways Minister has paid a surprise visit to Lahore Railway Station and reviewed the available facilities for passengers besides cleanliness. Khawaja Saad Rafique laid stress on the provision of facilities for women and directed the authorities concerned to make separate rooms for women where they could have some rest.

He expressed satisfaction over the security arrangements and also directed to ensure foolproof security to avoid any untoward incident.



Oil firms with OPEC on horizon

LONDON (AFP): Oil prices nudged higher Tuesday as many dealers bet that the OPEC cartel is unlikely to agree on any cuts at a key output meeting this week. In early afternoon trade, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in January rose 45 cents to $80.13 a barrel. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January advanced 28 cents to $76.06 per barrel. Oil investors are "speculating that OPEC will not be able to agree to any cut or even commitment to rein in excess oil production", Singapore's UOB said. The OPEC will hold one of its toughest meetings in recent years on Thursday, with members under pressure to address tumbling prices that have slashed their precious revenues.

"With many of the cartel's members suffering a rapidly deteriorating balance sheet given the recent rout in Brent prices, all eyes will be firmly fixed on this OPEC meeting for any indication of members taking steps to address the fundamental picture" of supply and demand, said Sucden analyst Kash Kamal.

The oil market has tumbled 30 percent since June on the back of plentiful crude supplies, the stronger dollar, and growing doubts about global demand and economic growth.

OPEC's poorer members, led by Venezuela and Ecuador, have called publicly for a cut in output, while Iran has also hinted at the need for a reduction.

But the cartel's Gulf members, led by kingpin Saudi Arabia, are rejecting such calls unless they are guaranteed market share in the highly competitive arena, according to analysts.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi was silent about his government's intentions Monday as he arrived in Vienna ahead of the OPEC gathering.

"Is this the first time we have oversupply?" he was quoted as saying by Dow Jones Newswires when questioned about current supply and demand.

However his Iraqi counterpart Adel Abdel Mahdi arrived in Vienna pushing for action, deeming the steep price drop "not acceptable".

Dealers are also eyeing third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data from the United States to gauge demand in the world's top crude consumer.

The data is likely to show the US economy grew at an annual rate of 3.8 percent in the July-September quarter, up from a previous estimate of 3.5 percent, according to Singapore lender UOB.

Daniel Ang, investment analyst at Phillip Futures, said positive US growth data will "give some support to crude prices, allowing them to inch up a little".