NEPRA-MINISTRY WAR OF WORDS INTENSIFYING
The war of words between Ministry of Water and Power and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) is intensifying as the Ministry has sent a very strong rejoinder to the regulator on its letter written on February 4, 2017 accusing the Ministry of sowing the seeds of discord in society and weakening the foundations of Federation of Pakistan. The use of unprofessional language in the communication is regretted. Instead of addressing the core defects identified in the K-Electrics tariff determination, Nepra has attempted to take refuge behind national interest which would have been better served if Nepra had provided timely relief to KE consumers instead of ensuring that massive profits are posted to KEs financials for two years, then it rests only on the disputed evidence of collision at the cost of one of the largest electricity consumer bases in the country, the Ministry said in its letter dated February 9, 2017.
COLD , DRY SPELL TO CONTINUE ACROSS THE COUNTRY
The Metereological Department on Friday predicted dry cold and dry weather in most parts of the country. According to a private news channel, the weather remained cold and dry in most parts of the country. However, rain (with snowfall over the hills) occurred at isolated places in Malakand, Hazara divisions, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan during the last 24 hours. Mainly cold and dry weather is expected in most parts of the country on Friday. Temperature of some major cities recorded on Friday morning was: Islamabad 5 centigrade, Lahore 10 C, Karachi 16 C, Peshawar and Muzaffarabad 07 C, Quetta 0 C, Gilgit 2 C and Murree 01 centigrade.
CHINA MOBILE PLANS TO INVEST $200 MN IN PAKISTAN IN 2017
China Mobile Communications Corp will invest $200 million in Pakistan to expand its network of 3G and 4G sites in the country to more than 10,000 sites by the end of this year, source said to Research Analyst-PAGE. The Beijing-based company confirmed that it will expand its Pakistani network by adding 3G and 4G sites, taking the overall tally to more than 10,000 sites by the end of 2017. China Mobile’s Pakistan branch, also known as Zong, has pumped $2.1 billion into the country. As of 2016, it had about 6,000 4G sites. China Mobile started its operations in Pakistan in April 2008. At the end of last year, Zong’s 4G subscribers had reached 2 million. Xiang Ligang, a telecoms expert and CEO of the telecom industry said Pakistan is one of the overseas markets where China Mobile has obtained 3G and 4G licenses. China Mobile’s investment in Pakistan has a strong symbolic meaning. It is a testing field for Chinese telecoms carriers’ overseas expansion, where they can accumulate experience, Xiang added.
SPRING PLANTATION CAMPAIGN BEGINS IN SINDH AT KETI BANDAR
Sindh Forest and Wildlife Department in coordination with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)-Pakistan, commenced the Spring Plantation Campaign 2017 in Sindh at Keti Bandar, one of the world’s largest arid climate mangroves site. Sindh Chief Conservator of Forests, Riaz Wagan speaking on the occasion said that 5,000 mangrove saplings are being planted by the local community volunteers at Keti Bandar. Eight species of mangroves were found in the Indus Delta but unfortunately four of the species have become extinct and presently only four species exit in the delta,” he mentioned on the occasion. A senior government official said that Keti Bandar site for the Spring Plantation was selected due to its significance as a unique in being the largest arid climate mangroves in the world. The site is also significant as Pakistan set a Guinness World Record by the Sindh Forest Department in 2013 for planting record number of mangroves saplings, he said. Riaz also mentioned that spring plantation 2017 has also been initiated in all the districts of Sindh under the Green Pakistan Program with major focus on local species.
SBP INKS MOU WITH NEPAL RASTRA BANK ON EXCHANGE OF SUPERVISORY INFO
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between State Bank of Pakistan and the Nepal Rastra Bank – the central bank of Nepal to cooperate in the field of Supervision and Exchange of Supervisory Information, source said to Research Analyst-PAGE. The cooperation between the countries, is in accordance with Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision. The agreement was signed in a ceremony held on February 09, 2017 at the SBP Head Office in Karachi. Syed Irfan Ali, Executive Director – Banking Policy & Regulations Group – SBP and Maheshwor Lal Shrestha, Executive Director – Banking Supervision Department – NRB, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective countries. It may be noted that Habib Bank Limited has an affiliate in Nepal, namely Himalayan Bank Ltd. with 20 percent shareholding. This MOU will enhance bilateral relationship and help sharing information to accomplish convergence towards common modalities and standards, in cross border supervision of banks, operating in both the countries. It may be recalled that Nepal is the third country in the SAARC region with which Pakistan has established a central banking MoU. The other two countries are Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, source added to him.
RATES OF FRUITS, VEGETABLES REMAIN STABLE
The prices of fruits and vegetables overall remained stable with minor fluctuation in price of some items in the federal capital on Thursday. According to the Islamabad Market Committee Price List issued, the prices of various fruits and vegetables showed no major difference from the price list of the previous week. According to price list, potato was sold at Rs 25 per kilogram, Onion Rs 34, Tomato Rs 45, Ginger Rs 100, Garlic (China) Rs 296, Garlic Local 370, Lemon Rs 58, Pumpkin Rs 52, Brinjal Rs 50, Peas Rs 54, Fresh Bean Rs 55, Tinda Walaiti (Imported gourd small) Rs 24, Cucumber Rs 25, Capsicum Rs 85/60, Green Chilli Rs 56, Cauliflower Rs 25/18, Cabbage Rs 28, Bitter Gourd Rs 125, Green Zucchini Rs 95, Spinach Rs 14/10, Raddish Rs 14, Turnip Rs 25, Yam Rs 70, Maroo Rs 22, Carrot Rs 23, Chicken Rs 127 and Egg per dozen Rs 110. Likewise, the rates of fruits per kilogram of high and medium quality in Islamabad are as follows: Apple (kala kalo) Rs 120/90, Apple Golden Rs 100/60, Apple White Rs 90/55, Apple China Rs 150/120, Banana Pak Rs 88/48, Guava 92/50, Pomegranate Rs 182/130, Musumi Rs 155/115, Shakri Rs 172/115, Kino Rs 65/40, Fruiter Rs 100/60, Pear China Rs 145/120 and Red blood oranges Rs 160/115.
1ST PRIVATE LNG TERMINAL TO BE OPERATIONAL NEXT YEAR
The first private sector Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal, having a capacity of 1,000 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) gas, is expected to be completed by 2018. On completion, this gas supply project will account for around 10 percent of the primary energy supplies of the country, and will be equivalent of 20 percent of the current domestic natural gas production. It will re-gassify up to 750 mmfcd gas per day as base-load. It is added that Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar Thursday chaired a meeting with senior executives, representing the multinational consortium, which is developing the project in Pakistan. Among others, the meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Chairman Board of Investment (BOI), Dr. Miftah Ismail. Chairman and CEO of Global Energy Infrastructure Limited (GEIL), with which the consortium is partnering on the project, also participated in the meeting.
AZERBAIJAN INTERESTED IN BUSINESS COLLABORATIONS WITH PAK
A 16 companies delegation from Azerbaijan led by Vice Chairman Yousif Abdullah, Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and discussed ways and means to explore business collaborations, source said to Research Analyst-PAGE. Ambassador of Azerbaijan Ali Alizada also accompanied the delegation. The delegation was representing various sectors including oil & gas, steel, transport, food processing, farming, trade, packaging and paper industry, production of fruits & vegetables, milk and dairy products, chocolates, hospitality, furniture, cosmetics, mineral waters, cotton and other sectors, source added to him.
PUNJAB INKS MOU ON BAHAWALPUR SOLAR POWER PROJECT
Punjab government has signed a MoU with renowned Turkish Company Zorlu Enerji for setting up 200MW solar power project in Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park Bahawalpur, source said to Research Analyst-PAGE. Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif was the chief guest at the ceremony held at Model Town on Wednesday. Secretary Energy Asad-ur-Rehman Gillani on behalf of Punjab government and Deputy General Manager Ahmet Yagmur on behalf of Turkish Company signed the MoU. The Turkish company under MoU will install 200 MW solar plant at Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Park, Bahawalpur, while the Punjab government will provide all out facilities. Addressing the ceremony, Chief Minister said the MoU reached with Turkish company will help to eliminate darkness of load-shedding from the country. He said historic friendly ties with Turkey are transforming into economic cooperation. He said electricity produced from 200MW project will cost Rs 5.25 per unit (5.15 cent) that will be a great achievement. He said this solar project is the best power project of the country, while NEPRAs tariff currently stands at 10.50 cents which is an exceptionally high. Source further said that Turkish company and Punjab government had signed 100MW solar power project a few days ago and this project will be completed in June, while the project will be completed in December 2017.
RESERVES DECLINES BY $376 MILLION: KAMAL
State Bank of Pakistan on Thursday announced that the total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at US$22,031.3 million on 03 February 2017, Kamal Hayder, Research Analyst-PAGE said. The break-up of the foreign reserves position is as under: Foreign reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan reached US$ 17,217.8 million; Net foreign reserves held by commercial banks stood US$4,813.5 million; and total liquid foreign reserves reached US$ 22,031.3 million. He further said that during the week ending 03 February 2017, SBP’s reserves decreased by US$376 million to US$17,218 million.
FBR SAID TO MAKE PROPOSALS FOR GREATER TRANSPARENCY
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue, Haroon Akhtar Khan on Wednesday directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to make policy proposals for bringing transparency in audit selection procedure and disclosure of audit parameters for consideration in the next federal budget (2017-18). PAGE-source told on Wednesday that the SA to the Prime Minister on Revenue issued these directions to the FBR during last meeting of the Tax Reform Implementation Committee (TRIC) for an appraisal of the progress made on the implementation of various recommendations made by the Tax Reform Commission. Special Assistant (SA) to the Prime Minister on Revenue presided over the meeting which was attended by the Chairman FBR, senior officers of the FBR, Chairman TRC and members of the TRIC. Source said that it has been agreed to disclose parameters for selection of cases for audit in future for which amendments would be proposed in coming budget (2017-18). The Commissioners should be bound to share reasons with the taxpayers for selection of case for audit.
CPEC; A PILLAR OF ECONOMIC CONNECTIVITY BETWEEN PAKISTAN, CHINA: KHURRAM
Commerce Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan Wednesday said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would serve as the strongest pillar of economic, commercial and cultural connectivity between Pakistan and China. Talking to a delegation of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), he said the government was focusing on improving the investment climate in the country and working on a comprehensive strategy to address the key concerns of industrialists pertaining to special economic zones under CPEC. He appreciated the recommendations and suggestions by the RCCI on special economic zones under CPEC which would be connected with trade facilitation, dedicated freight, energy, trade logistics, and telecommunications corridors. The delegation was informed that more than 60 percent unskilled labour would be Pakistani, 20 percent semi-skilled labour from both countries and only 5 percent skilled labour from China would work in the project.