ICST welcomes increase in duty on wheat import

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST) on Tuesday appreciated the decision of the Economic Coordination Committee to increase regulatory duty on the import of wheat from 40 percent to 60 percent. “The decision by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will save the farmers from the negative impact of wheat imports from Central Asian states and from that of falling prices in the international market,” said ICST Patron Shahid Rasheed Butt. In a statement issued here, he said that increase in regulatory duty on the wheat import was demand of the farming community, while the business community had supported it unconditionally. Butt said the country already had surplus stock of wheat and all efforts to export wheat had backfired; therefore wheat imports at this stage were against the national interests. He said that the federal and provincial governments had almost 10 million tonnes of surplus wheat of which a large quantity was under threat due to rains and inadequate storage facilities.

He noted that earlier this year, the government had increased duty on wheat imports from 25 percent to 40 percent, but it had failed to deter the importers.

“The surplus wheat could not be exported due to low prices despite frequent extension in dates and upward revision in the export rebate which hit almost $90 per ton,” he added.

Butt further said that the federal government had allowed Punjab and Sindh to sell twelve hundred thousand tonnes of wheat but both the provinces could sell only one third of the target.

Call to promote microinsurance in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (APP): Speakers at conference here on Tuesday stressed the need for educating the people and creating awareness about microinsurance in order to promote the culture of savings and make them financially stable to face any financial challenges. The event 'multi-stakeholders dialogue on microinsurance in Pakistan' was organised by Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in collaboration with GIZ Germany. The aim of the event was to seek stakeholders’ suggestions and inputs to promote pro-poor insurance market and formulation of the strategic frame work for microinsurance development in the country. Speaking on the occasion, Director, Policy Regulation and Development Department of SECP, Tariq Bakhtawar said that microinsurance has emerged in the country and number of policy holders has reached to 8.8 million by the end of last year. He said that regulatory framework, private sector involvement and financial literacy was vital for the promotion of microinsurance in the country.

The SECP, he said, has taken several steps for the promotion of microinsurance and protection of consumers as it has showed tremendous growth during last year.

He informed that microinsurance was facing different challenges including low education, awareness about insurance and its benefits and in the absence of sansfull business models in the country.

Addressing the conference, Director Policy Regulation Insurance SECP, Nayyar Hussain said the main objective of the stakeholders dialogue was to take input from different sectors to promote the microinsurance in the country.

He said microinsurance has witnessed significant growth as the SECP has also formed a awareness committee to provide financial cover to least income people.

On the occasion, Senior Advisor GIZ Dr. Anotnis Malagardis said that a multi stakeholders dialogue with related to public and private stakeholders will be held in Pakistan, linked with the microinsurance development study to achieve the set objectives.

He said that multi-stakeholders dialogue would present its findings to G IZ study on the strategic frame work for microinsurance development in Pakistan and secure the confirmation of stakeholders.

LCCI vows continuation of service to business community

LAHORE (APP): Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Tuesday vowed to continue to act as bridge between business community and the government, and leave no stone unturned to get resolved the issues of business community within shortest possible time. LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed stated this at a ceremony held in his honor of business community of Lahore. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Chaudhry Khadam Hussain, Mahboob Ali Sirki, Haji Nawaz, Younas Baig Mirza, Shahid Nazir, Muhammad Fayyaz Chaudhry and Waqar Hussain also spoke on the occasion. Nasir Saeed said that only strong liaison between government and business community could ensure economic stability of the country, as traders were backbone of the economy. "Economic revival is not possible without taking businessmen aboard," he viewed. He mentioned that Lahore Chamber had always kept these ground realities in view and making tireless efforts for trust building between government and business community.

Participants of the meeting lauded the efforts of the LCCI Vice President for economic uplift and said that Nasir Saeed had proven himself representative of business community in real sense.

Committees formed to monitor pesticides, fertilizers in market

MULTAN (APP): Different committees have been formed to monitor availability, prices and quality of pesticides and fertilizers in the open market to make quality products accessible to farmers at fixed price. The initiative was taken at a meeting of district agriculture advisory committee and agriculture task force sub committee, chaired by DCO Nadir Chatha, here Tuesday, says a release issued by media liaison unit of Punjab agriculture department. EDO agriculture Shafqat Hussain Bhatti, DO agriculture extension Chaudhry Naseer Ahmad, besides officials from police, district public prosecutor, and representatives from farmers' bodies, PCPA, fertilizers companies and dealers attended the meeting. Speaking on the occasion, DCO said that a monitoring and accountability framework was being devised to ensure that fruit of Rs 100 billion Kissan package announced by the Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif should directly reach the farming community.

DCO ordered fertilizers controllers and pesticides inspectors to expedite process of holding elements accountable for their engagement in preparing and selling substandard fertilizers and fake pesticides. Officials should speed up checking process to eliminate this Mafia, DCO said.