Private sector asked to help boost Pak-Greek trade

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said on Monday that average trade around $70 million between Pakistan and Greece was not a healthy state of affairs. Meager trade between the two countries is well below the actual potential exists in the two countries therefore private sector of the two countries should enhance their interaction to play vital role in this regard. He was talking to the President Greek-Pakistan CCI Maria Rubina G. Markopoulou along with the LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeshan Khalil. Malik Tahir Javaid said though the balance of trade has traditionally been in favour of Pakistan but its volume is discouraging and called for strategic efforts. He said that in 2016, the worth of Pakistan's exports to Greece was dollar 62 million against the imports amounting to dollar 8 million. Greece comes at 12th place among the top exporting countries and at 22nd place among the top importing countries forPakistan in European Union, he said.

Malik Tahir said that to create a conducive atmosphere, private sector of the two countries must identify the areas that may create opportunities for greater trade. "We need to adopt modern and progressive marketing techniques with result-oriented follow-ups", he added.

The LCCI President said that exchange of trade delegations could also help enhance the process of trade & investment related information and respective chambers of Commerce can play the vital role in this connection. He said that relation building between our institutions can greatly contribute in exploiting the trade & investment potential between two countries.

Maria Rubina G. Markopoulou said that communication gap must be bridged as it is one of the biggest reasons of low trade between the two countries.

She said that exchange of trade delegations and time dissemination of trade and investment related information can help boost two-way trade.

Both the Chambers also agreed to business information to develop sustainable business cooperation between their respective members.

LCCI & Greek-Pakistan CCI will arrange B2B meetings between delegations of their organizations in order to improve trade between Pakistan and Greece as well as explore opportunities of mutual collaboration.

ADB helping govts to curb money laundering

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is ramping up its efforts to help countries in the Asia and Pacific region combat money laundering and terrorism financing, which is key to achieving inclusive and sustainable development, according to ADB's Office of Anticorruption and Integrity (OAI) 2017 Annual Report released Monday. ADB's support in anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) include a $2 million technical assistance grant approved in December 2016, as well as steps to improve the countries' overall compliance to anti-money laundering policies through closer coordination between relevant parties, such as banks and financial institutions, and governments. "ADB remains a steadfast partner of countries in the Asia and Pacific region in fighting corruption and money laundering, and improving governance," said John Versantvoort, Head of OAI. "All of us at ADB are committed to helping our developing member countries better position themselves to achieve more inclusive and sustainable development."

The report highlights some of the efforts ADB--through OAI--has implemented over the past year, particularly in increasing its knowledge sharing activities. In 2017, ADB helped the Philippines strengthen regulations to combat money laundering, which now include casinos under the Anti-Money Laundering Law. ADB also held a training session for local officials to better understand money laundering and terrorism financing in the casino sector. In Mongolia, ADB is helping the government roll out a program that would support local banks, money service businesses such as pawnshops and remittance companies, as well as real estate agents develop anti-money laundering and customer due diligence programs. It is also supporting the Financial Regulatory Commission's efforts to develop operating procedures for its new anti-money laundering unit and anti-money laundering regulations for non-bank financial institutions.

In addition, ADB is helping Bhutan and Papua New Guinea address vulnerabilities in AML/CFT, strengthen both countries' policies, and improve their implementation.

ADB's anticorruption and integrity drive-both on enforcement and prevention-remained robust last year, according to the report, with 30 firms and 22 individuals debarred for integrity violations, along with cross-debarment for 153 firms and 36 individuals. ADB also submitted 3 firms and 4 individuals for cross-debarment to other multilateral development banks and provided integrity due diligence advice on 777 entities involved in sovereign and nonsovereign transactions to ensure that integrity, money laundering, and terrorist financing risks are identified and mitigated.

Last year, ADB also increased outreach to the broader public about its anticorruption efforts, conducting 41 training sessions for audit institutions, anticorruption commissions, executing and implementing agencies, money service businesses, nonbank financial institutions, civil society, and the private sector.

As part of its efforts to champion integrity within ADB, OAI launched a mandatory e-learning course, called Anticorruption and Respect at Work, for ADB staff in May 2017, while conducting 68 staff training sessions with 1,436 participants last year. It also conducted 474 pre-employment screenings of potential candidates for staff positions in ADB and strengthened internal controls on employment.

ADB's Respectful Workplace Unit provided 47 advisories and assessed 20 complaints about concerns of bullying and harassment, misconduct, and sexual harassment. It also conducted 51 training sessions to improve ADB's working environment.

Tolanj gas plant inauguration today

ISLAMABAD (APP): A plant, having capacity to process around 20 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) gas, will be inaugurated on Tuesday (today) at Tolanj Well in Tal Block of district Kohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A consortium of MOL Pakistan Oil (MOL) and Gas Company, Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), Pakistan Oilfields Limited (POL) and Government Holdings (Pvt.) Limited (GHPL) had made the gas discovery in exploratory well Tolanj X-1 drilled in the block, official sources told APP. Out of nine exploration wells drilled so far in the Tal Block, this was the sixth discovery after Manzalai, Makori, Mamikhel , Maramzai and Makori East, under the joint venture of PPL, MOL, OGDCL, POL and GHPL in the block. Spud-in on June 21, 2010, Tolanj X-1 was drilled below 4,834 meters. "A barefoot Drill Stem Test conducted in the upper 48 meters of Lumshiwal Sandstone produced around 16 .3 mmscfd gas at flowing wellhead pressure of 2,392 psi on 32/64 " choke," the sources said.

Besides Lumshiwal , the reservoir targets in this well include the Lockhart, Hangu, Samana Suk and Datta formations.

The block has turned out to be the richest exploration asset in terms o f potential oil and gas production with a 55 percent success ratio as against 33 percent for the rest of the areas in the country under exploration, they said.

Chairman Liquefied Petroleum Gas Distributors Association of Pakistan Irfan Khokhar, who will also attend the inaugural ceremony among others, appreciated the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government for making remarkable progress in oil and gas exploration sector.

Talking to APP, he expressed confidence that the country would soon achieve self-sufficiency in energy sector as the present government had initiated record exploration activities in different potential areas, which resulted in over 100 oil and gas discoveries.

Rs565b for PSDP projects

ISLAMABAD (APP): The government has released over Rs 565 billion under its Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2017-18 for various ongoing and new schemes against the total allocations of Rs1,001 billion. The released funds include Rs 134.2 billion for federal ministries and Rs 53.78 billion for special areas, according to latest data released by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform. Out of these allocations, the government has released Rs 207.663 billion for National Highway Authority for which Rs 324.72 billion have been allocated for the year 2017-18, whereas for Wapda (Power), an amount of Rs 30.76 billion has been released out of total allocation of Rs 60.9 billion. Similarly, Rs 5.276 billion have been released for Communication Division (other than National Highway Authority) for which the government has earmarked Rs 13.66 billion under PSDP 2017-18. Railways Division received Rs 18.27 billion out of its total allocation of Rs 42.9 billion whereas Aviation Division received Rs 2.45 billion out of its total allocation of Rs 4.348 billion.

The government also released an amount of Rs 18.94 billion for various development projects of Higher Education Commission out of total allocation of Rs 35.662 billion, while Rs 10.76 billion have been released for Atomic Energy Commission.

Water and Power Division (water sector) received Rs 23.13 billion out of its total allocation of Rs 36.75 billion under PSDP 2017-18.

The government also released Rs 8.45 billion for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Division, for which an amount of Rs 48.701 billion have been allocated in the federal PSDP 2017-18 while Rs 201 million have been released for Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority out of its total allocations of Rs 321.53 million.

An amount of Rs 12.7 billion have been released for Finance Division out of its total allocations of Rs 20.9 billion while Rs 529 million have been released for Climate Change Division out of its total allocations of Rs 815 million for the current year.

Similarly an amount of Rs 445.6 million have been released for Petroleum and Natural Resource

Division out of its allocations of Rs 554.291 billion, Rs 1.832 billion for Planning, Development and Reform Division out of its allocations of Rs 8.556 billion whereas Rs 1.619 billion have been released for SUPARCO out of its allocations of Rs 3.5 billion.

Likewise, the government also released Rs 7.3 billion for Housing and Works division while Rs 80 million for Human Rights Division, and Rs 1.011 billion for National Food Security and Research Division.

The government has also released Rs 21.687 billion for AJK (block and other projects) out of its allocations of Rs 25.844. billion, Rs 15.16 billion for Gilgit Baltistan (block and other projects) out of its allocations of Rs 18.3 billion whereas Rs 16.93 billion have been released for SAFRON/FATA (Block and other projects) out of its total allocations of Rs 26.90 billion for the FY2018.

The government also released Rs 30 billion for Prime Minister's Global SDGS Achievement Programme whereas Rs 3.15 billion have been released for ERRA out of its total allocations of Rs 7.5 billion.

An amount of Rs 11.9 billion have been released for Prime Minister's Youth Hunarmand Programme out of its total allocations of Rs 20 billion, according to the data.

The Planning Commission of Pakistan has been following a proper mechanism for the release of funds and accordingly funds are released as per given mechanism. The commission releases 20% of funds in first quarter (July September), 20% in second quarter (October December), 25% third quarter (January March) and 35% in fourth quarter (April June).