PEW demands steps to reduce food wastage worth billions

ISLAMABAD: (INP): The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday demanded steps to reduce wastage of food as tens of millions of people including children and mothers continue to face food security issues in Pakistan. “Proper storage and food waste management system in the country can help increase income of farmers and feed the starving people,” it said. “Tonnes of food is wasted in all the countries of the world, including Pakistan, which if saved can eradicate hunger from all the world,” said Dr Murtaza Mughal, President PEW. Mughal said that billions of dollars were invested annually in seeds, pesticides and transportation, while the water used for growing crops is also wasted adding to global food insecurity and hunger. “Around 800 million people in the world go without food every day; nearly 100 million tonnes of Europe’s food is wasted each year that is no longer bearable,” he said, adding that the statistics underscored the need to address the problem.

 FPCCI for participation of women in economic activities

ISLAMABAD: (INP): The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Sunday said all necessary steps should be taken to ensure full participation of women in all spheres of national life, particularly economic activities.  “Women constitute more than 50 percent of Pakistan’s total population, but they are not getting due attention by the policymakers, resulting in systemic gender subordination,” said Masooma Sibtain, Vice President FPCCI. She said this while speaking at a workshop on participation of women in economic activities. Ambassadors, FPCCI VP Mian Shaukat Masood,  Chairman Coordination FPCCI Malik Sohail and representatives of different organisations were also present on the occasion. Ms Sibtain said that there had been attempts by the government and enlightened groups to elevate status of women in the society, but the current situation was far from satisfactory. She said that women empowerment was a basic need of Pakistan today.

 “Creation of a society where women can take independent decisions for their development and the welfare of society is imperative,” she added.

 Tesco buying Booker in a £3.7b deal

 LONDON (AFP): Supermarket Tesco announced a deal to merge with Booker, the UK’s largest wholesale food retailer. Tesco is valuing Booker at £3.7 billion ($4.6 billion) under the terms of the deal, representing 205.3p per share or a 12% premium on Thursday’s closing price. Northamptonshire-based Booker is the UK’s biggest wholesale food supplier and sells branded and white label goods to over 500,000 customers across the UK, such as convenience stores Budgens and Londis, catering companies, pubs, and restaurants like Byron Burger, Wagamama, Carluccios, and Prezzo. Booker had sales of £5b in 2016 and made a pre-tax profit of £150m. Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said on a call with journalists: “The merger creates the opportunity for new innovations in the way we serve Britain food.” He said that while “both businesses are quite different... both have food and customers at their heart.” Lewis made clear on the call that the key motivation for the deal is to take Tesco into what he called the “out of home” food market — people going out to eat at restaurants or catered events.

He told journalists that the merged group will supply “great food for more people across the whole of the £195 billion food market. In short, we’re creating what we think can be the UK’s leading food company.”

Bruno Monteyne, a former Tesco exec turned retail analyst at Bernstein, says in a note sent to clients on Friday morning: “This deal is an excellent consolidation opportunity in the sector and unlocks the power of the largest wholesale supplier and largest food retailer.”

However, Monteyne and other analysts flag that the deal will likely face close scrutiny from the competition watchdog because of the overlap in the convenience store market. Booker owns the Budgens, Londis and Premier chains.

 ICST calls for steps to uplift SMEs

 Islamabad (INP): Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST) on Sunday said the government’s focus on SMEs uplift could ensure rapid economic development by resolving many problems including unemployment, reduced exports and dismal revenue situation.  All the SAARC countries too have designed policies for the promotion of this sector, though with uneven results. Yet their faith in SMEs is ever growing, it said.  The business community of Islamabad will push the authorities concerned for taking steps for swift development of the SME sector, said Patron Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders Shahid Rasheed Butt. In a statement issued here today, he said that authorities will be asked for special incentives to revive the SME sector which will boost businesses, provide jobs and enhance revenue. Butt said that the SME sector had 40 percent share in the GDP, while it was responsible for 30 percent exports; it also employed millions of people across the country.

He said that among 3.5 million SMEs in Pakistan, 65 percent are located in Punjab, and faced multiple problems.