Govt has released Rs235.58b for development projects so far

ISLAMABAD (APP): The government has so far released Rs 235.588 billion under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for various projects against total allocations of Rs 540 billion for the fiscal year 2013-14. According to the latest data of Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms, Rs 37,250.403 million has been released for various projects of Pakistan Energy Commission, out of its total allocations of Rs 52,300 million, earmarked under PSDP for FY 2013-14. A sum of Rs 32,811.901 million has been released to National Highway Authority out of total allocation of Rs 63,038.619 million for the current fiscal year.

Out of the total funds of Rs 25,739.199 million allocated for the National Health Service Regulations and Coordination Division for the current year, the government released Rs 17,827.542 million so far.

The Commission also released Rs 18,884.082 million for Railway Division, out of its total allocations of Rs 30,964.894 million whereas Rs 570 million have been released for National Food Security and Research Division, out of its total allocations of Rs 750 million for the year.

Funds of Rs 12,100.383 million have been released for Higher Education Commission, out of its total allocation of Rs 18,490 million for the year 2013-14 whereas out of total allocations of Rs 2,363.974 million earmarked for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Division, Rs 1,158.097 million have been released so far.

According to the data, the Commission released Rs 38,102.170 million for WAPDA (Power) out of its total allocations of Rs. 51,543.425 million whereas Rs. 25,870.838 million has been provided to WAPDA (Water Sector) out of its total allocations of Rs. 57,840.211 million.

Meanwhile, Rs 8,579 million has been released for Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA), out of its total allocations of Rs 10,000 million for the current year.

The Commission also released Rs 1,453.094 million for Cabinet Division, Rs 34.839 million for Climate Change Division and Rs 553.700 million for Commerce Division.

In addition, Rs 342.343 million has been released for Education and Training Division, Rs 4,282.825 million for Finance Division,Rs 436.572 million for Industries Division, Rs 4,166.170 million for Interior Division and Rs 102.988 million for Narcotics Control Division.

The Commission, released Rs 35 million for Petroleum and Natural Resources Division, Rs 212.100 million for Planning and Development Division, Rs 868.042 million for Science and Technology Research Division, Rs 136.262 for SUPARCO and Rs. 220.490 million for Textile Industry Division.

Funds of Rs.8,955.278 million have been released for AJK (Block and other projects), Rs. 4,777 million for Gilgit Baltistan (Block and other projects) where as Rs. 11,031 million has been released for SAFRON/FATA.

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 percent of funds in first quarter (July-September), 20 percent in second quarter (October-December), 30 percent third quarter(January-March) and 30 percent in fourth quarter (April-June).

Training on seed potato production technologies held

ISLAMABAD (PR): The Agribusiness Project, funded by the USAID and implemented by the Agribusiness Support Fund (ASF), organised a week-long technical and managerial training on Seed Potato Production Technologies at the Horticulture Research Institute,NARC, here from March 24 to 28.  The 23 participants included farmers and other stakeholders from selected potato-growing valleys of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The five-day training was envisaged to familiarize them with the latest production technologies, demonstrate modern crop management practices and enable them to cultivate their own seed potato to reduce their dependency on high-cost imported seeds.

Deputy Director, EGA, USAID, Randy Chester presented completion certificates to all the participants on Friday, the last day of the training. Reaffirming USAID’s commitment to economic growth in Pakistan, he said: “The USAID aims to help the agriculture sector by focusing on areas where a lot of value can be added. Since the northern part of Pakistan is ecologically suited to growing seed potato, we are focusing on these areas for seed potato production. These are comparatively poor areas and the introduction of technology and knowledge will help not only fill part of the seed gap but will also help alleviate poverty.”

Potato is one of the major crops in Pakistan. Though Pakistan uses 97 per cent locally–produced seed, the demand for the import of good quality seed is gradually increasing. Since 40 per cent of the input cost in potato production can be attributed to the cost of the seed, timely and local availability of good quality seed not only ensures good crop production but also helps boost its overall profitability for the farmers.

The training comprised classroom sessions as well as practical component and an exposure visit for best practices. The training was aimed to build the participants’ capacity in quality seed production including growing, multiplying, pre and post-harvest handling and marketing. Another similar session is planned to be held for another group of selected farmers in June.

Investors envisage Pak-China corridor as great opportunity

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pak-China Economic Corridor will usher in a new era of economic development between the two countries as it will bring revolutionary progress, especially in Balochistan and Kashgar, Chinese businessmen said here Friday. A delegation of Guangzhou Global Chamber of Commerce of China Friday visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) led by its Vice Chairman Zhong Shi. Speaking on the occasion Zhong Shi said the businessmen of both countries should take maximum benefit of the Free Trade Agreement signed between Pakistan and China to improve bilateral trade.

He said the bilateral trade has reached $ 12 billion and there is great potential to improve it. He said many Chinese companies were already working in Pakistan while many more were looking at it as a promising country for investment and joint ventures.

He said ICCI and Guangzhou Global Chamber should strengthen bilateral collaboration to bring the private sectors of both countries even closer.

On the occasion, ICCI acting president Khalid Chaudhry said China was the largest trading partner of Pakistan and many Chinese companies by working in Pakistan are rendering great contribution to the economic development of our country.

He said the grant of GSP Plus to Pakistan by the European Union has created many new opportunities for investment and Chinese investors should take full benefit of such opportunities by investing in Pakistan’s textile sector.

Energy sector of Pakistan also offers tremendous prospects to foreign investors and Chinese companies should also enhance investment in this sector to earn lucrative returns.

He said the Pak-China Economic Corridor project is one of the greatest initiatives that both countries have agreed to execute and its implementation will bring plenty of economic benefits for both countries.

He said Chambers of Commerce of both countries should ensure frequent exchange of trade delegations to fully tap all untapped areas of mutual cooperation and added that ICCI delegation will participate in the forthcoming Canton Fair in China.

Hungry to forge economic relations with Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (APP): Hungarian Ambassador to Pakistan Istvan Szabo has said that his country is keen to forge trade and economic relations with Pakistan. In an interview to Radio Pakistan, he said the two countries can collaborate meaningfully in agriculture, food processing, water management, environmental protection, IT, telecommunication, healthcare, construction and chemical industry. The Ambassador said relations between the two countries date back to 1947 as Hungary was one of the first countries to recognize independent Pakistan. He said as Hungary has adopted the policy of `Look East’, Pakistan is one of the major targets for Hungarian investment in the region.

 Replying to a question, he said they are focusing on cooperation in education.

He said his country has recently announced 80 scholarships for Pakistani students for higher education in Hungary. The programme will begin next year.

Replying to another question, the Ambassador said Pakistan has the potential to become trade and business hub of the region.

He particularly referred to the plans of the present government for establishment of trade and energy corridors and said these can bring about enormous economic benefits for the people of the region.

SBP, Banks Association join hands

Karachi ( Staff Reporter): SBP and Banks’ Association joined hands in a drive to clean up I.I Chundrigar Road of wall chalking, garbage and other waste. On the initiative of Acting Governor SBP Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, Sunday March 30 will be celebrated as “Clean Chundrigar Road – 2014” day. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at SBP in which Governor Sindh Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebaad Khan will be the chief guest. It will mark the beginning of a year-long campaign to clean Chundrigar Road. The 2.5 km road is divided into eight sections allocated to eight different banks: Bank Alfalah, National Bank of Pakistan, United Bank, Bank Al Habib, Habib Bank, MCB Bank, Habib Metropolitan Bank and JS Bank will participate in the drive.

Each bank will be responsible for cleanliness of the section assigned to it. State Bank of Pakistan will be a part of the actual cleaning efforts and will offer assistance and play the coordinator role.

Apart from the Acting Governor of SBP, Deputy Governors and senior officers of the State Bank, Commissioner Karachi, City District government officials and workers, representatives from commercial banks and other enterprises will join the campaign.

SBP Museum will remain open on Saturday and Sunday during the programme.

Moreover, a beautification campaign of the I.I Chundrigar Road and security enhancing drive have also been planned.