Dedicated candidates to be fielded in all chamber elections

LAHORE (APP): Dedicated candidates of integrity especially educated youth will be fielded on merit in forthcoming annual elections of the chambers of commerce and industry across the country. Acting chairman, businessman panel, the largest alliance of chambers in the country enjoying 99 per cent overwhelming majority in FPCCI, Iftikhar Ali Malik Sunday told APP the names of new candidates for various positions in the chambers will be announced with consensus in true democratic manner. He said that young talented entrepreneurs with inherited spirit to promote trade, serve the country and help strengthen the national economy, will be fully encouraged while awarding the tickets.

He said a high level committee comprising senior trade leaders including SM Munir, Chief Executive Pakistan Trade Development Authority and FPCCI VP and Zonal Chairman, S.M. Naseer would finalise the nominees with consensus on merit, keeping in view their professional standing in the private sector and their contribution towards national development.

Iftikhar Ali Malik said before giving final shape to the list, all senior local trade leaders throughout the country will also be taken into confidence. He said no body would be allowed to cause a dent in the unity of alliance or sabotage the transparent and democratic process of the chamber polls, adding that the trade body holds national interests supreme. He said that smooth transfer of power in democratic ways will be ensured in all chambers.

He said that preliminary meetings to review the chambers elections were held one each at Islamabad and Gymkhana Club Lahore which was participated in by senior trade leaders for developing consensus in the larger interest of the business community.

5pc GDP to lift cement sales by

6pc in next three years

LAHORE (Satff Reporter): The cost efficiency measures, weak coal prices and expected fall in interest rates would help Pakistan cement manufacturers to further post profit growth. Industry experts said that focus of the government on development projects, thanks to ample fiscal space and start of mega projects like motorways, housing and dams, should help achieve decent growth in cement sales.  During pre-economic crisis era (FY03-08), local cement sales were growing 15pc annually versus 6.2pc average GDP growth. However, volumetric growth remained sluggish at average 2.8pc during last 6 years, in line with low GDP growth of 3pc.

Now, it is expected that average GDP to grow at 4.5-5pc in next 3 years, which could lift local cement sales by 6pc annually to reach 30.8 million tons by FY17.

With Pakistan GDP growth reaching at 6-year high of 4.1 per cent, the upward trajectory is likely to continue with expected startup of many mega infrastructure projects by the PML-N government.

According to experts, strong revival in real-estate sector and return of various local and international developers like UAE’s Emaar further signals about the positive outlook of the construction sector in Pakistan.

FPCCI directs all chambers

to donate for IDPs

LAHORE (APP): The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, an apex body of chambers has directed all chambers and affiliated trade associations across the country to donate generously to Internationally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of North Waziristan.  FPCCI acting President, Shaukat Ahmad while talking to APP on Sunday said that although the government was fully supporting the IDPs but public and private sector should come forward to join hands with the government by despatching uninterrupted supply of relief goods and donations especially on the auspicious occasion of Eidul Fitr.

He made an impassioned appeal to all chambers, traders

 associations and registered local unions of businessmen to take relief goods to camps at Bannu and its adjoining areas and spend Eid with IDPs.

He said that IDPs had rendered great sacrifices for the country during the operation “Zarb e Azb” and the nation should support them financially.

 He said “As we know, the spirit of Ramazan is tolerance and one should help the downtrodden of the society. It is also our duty to help the less privileged people of society.” He urged the people to provide their Fitra to the IDPs.

 Meanwhile, the Guard Group of Industries has dispatched two truckloads of relief good and Guard rice for the IDPs.

Two ambulances, equipped with medicines and staff of Mumtaz Bakhtawar

Hospitals run by the Guard Group, are also providing free treatment to the IDPs.

Clock ticks on Lithuania 2015 euro move as others eye security

VILNIUS (AFP): Lithuania won the EU’s final green light this week to join the eurozone in 2015, completing a Baltic embrace of Europe’s checkered single currency as security concerns over Russia nudge other reluctant eastern candidates towards adoption. A special clock has started ticking at Lithuania’s central bank in Vilnius, counting the days until the country of three million becomes the eurozone’s 19th member on January 1. Baltic neighbours Latvia and Estonia joined in 2014 and 2011, respectively. Concerns over Soviet-era master Russia drove the trio of small republics to bite the bullet and push through painful austerity programmes to secure membership. 

Larger economies like Poland and the Czech Republic have been more circumspect in their bids to join the bloc, but Russia’s annexation of Crimea and sabre-rattling on Ukraine is beginning to change that.  “In the eastern part of the EU, joining the eurozone is mainly about security,” Witold Orlowski, a Warsaw-based PricewaterhouseCoopers analyst and former advisor to Poland’s president, told AFP. Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite said as much after the EU’s green light this week.  “Geopolitically, the euro will provide greater security,” alongside Lithuania’s EU and NATO membership, the tough-talking former European budget chief dubbed the “Iron Lady” told AFP.

Public support for the move among Lithuanians has grown to 50 percent, up from 41 percent last year, according to a Eurobarometer survey released on Friday. But 41 percent still want to keep the national currency, the litas, mainly over fears of price hikes. “I’m sure prices will go up,” Arturas, a 47-year-old driver, told AFP as he left a Vilnius grocery store displaying prices in both euros and litas.  Consumer prices edged up by just 0.2 percent on an annual basis in June, dangerously close to deflation. Businessman Paulius Vasiliauskas, 26, hopes the currency switch will bring living standards, already vastly improved since the Soviet collapse in 1991, “closer to Western Europe”. - Faster integration? - Last year, Central European heavyweight Poland insisted eurozone entry within a decade was a realistic timeline.  Unwilling to jeopardise steady economic expansion, officials in Warsaw adopted a wait-and-see approach on the bloc’s efforts to resolve its debt crisis.

But following Russia’s lightning-speed annexation of Crimea in March some, such as outspoken Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, are hinting the Ukraine crisis “should nudge us towards faster integration into the eurozone”, to boost security through deeper integration.

The ex-communist nation of 38 million people, which borders Ukraine and is central Europe’s largest economy, is obliged to join the single currency bloc under the terms of its European Union entry but there is no deadline for accession.

Poland expects to meet all eurozone entry targets by 2015, but its centrist government currently lacks the two-thirds parliamentary majority needed to push through necessary constitutional changes to drop its zloty currency.

That, however, could change given further escalation of the crisis in Ukraine.

“Euro-sceptic MPs may become so terrified by what’s happening in Ukraine, they could stop blocking changes to the constitution,” Orlowski told AFP.

- Czechs warming to euro -

Long a bastion of British-style euroscepticism, the neighbouring Czech Republic also appears to be warming to the single currency.  The new left-wing government and President Milos Zeman are openly pro-euro, in stark contrast to previous president and hardline eurosceptic Vaclav Klaus and the former right-wing administration that was lukewarm at best on euro adoption.

As the Ukraine crisis escalated in June, Zeman said the Czech Republic could join the eurozone by 2017, thanks to support from pro-European parties in parliament. Previously, the central bank and politicians alike had suggested 2019 as the earliest entry date. The Czech Republic now meets the deficit and debt criteria to join the euro, while inflation is low.

Heavily dependent on car production and exports to the eurozone, the Czech economy shrank in both 2012 and 2013 but is forecast to expand by 2.6 percent this year. Other eurozone candidates like Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary or Romania have a long road of reform ahead before they can qualify for membership.

Shipping activity at Port Qasim

KARACHI (APP):  Three ships arrived at the Port to load/ offload containers at QICT, diesel oil at FOTCO, ethylene at EVTL on July, 26, port sources said here on Sunday.  Berth occupancy was maintained at 50% at the Port on Saturday where  ships namely M.V KPS-I Alican BEY- Powership, M.V Dong Hai 7001 (Dredger), M.V Pucon, M.T Al Soor II, M.T Norgas, M.V Ns Traders-I are currently occupying berths to load/ offload containers, diesel oil, ethylene, rice.  Cargo handling operations were carried out smoothly at the Port where a cargo volume 31471 tonnes comprising 20044 tonnes imports, 11427 tonnes export and 402 TUEs was handled at the Port during the last 24 hours.