WORK ON 83.4MW KURRAM TANGI DAM BEGINS IN NWA
The WAPDA has started work on the multi-faceted Kurram Tangi Dam in North Waziristan Agency that would produce more than 83.4 Megawatt electricity, besides having water storage capacity of 1.2 MAF. Salim Mirza, WAPDA Director North Projects told that work on multi-faceted Kurram-Tangi dam has been started that would be completed in two stages with gross water storage capacity of 1.2 MAF besides generating 83.4MW electricity. The US will provide around Rs 8.5 billion to WAPDA for the project, being built on Kaitu river in North Wazirstan Agency and an agreement with USAID has already been signed in this regard. The funds would be used for construction of Shertalla and Spairaga canals, two power houses, a transmission line, housing accommodations for operational staff and an office building, he explained.
PAK, HONG KONG SIGN DEAL TO AVOID DOUBLE TAX AND FISCAL EVASION
Pakistan and Hong Kong on Friday signed the pact on avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income, source said to Research Analyst-PAGE. Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khalid signed the agreement while the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor K. C. Chan signed on behalf of the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, at a ceremony held at the Central Government Offices in Hong Kong. Pakistan’s Consul General for Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China Abdul Qadir Memon and Ali Ahmed Arain, respectively witnessed the signing ceremony along with other officials of the Pakistan’s missions in Hong Kong and China, source added to him.
C/A DEFICIT SWELLS BY 90PC IN 7MFY17
Declining exports, workers’ remittances and foreign exchange inflows continue to dent Pakistan’s balance of payments as the country’s current account deficit swelled by 90 percent in the first seven months of current fiscal year 2016-17, 7MFY17, Kamal Hayder-Research Analyst-PAGE said. The current account deficit widened to $4.7 billion in the period of July 2016 to January 2017 as compared to $2.4 billion deficit recorded in the similar period of the last fiscal year. During the last seven months of current fiscal the exports decline by 1.3 percent to $12.3 billion against $12.4 billion worth of goods exported in the same period last year. Kamal further said that the imports increased by 4 percent to $25.5 billion during the same period. Thus the balance of trade in goods recorded at $13.2 billion against $10.9 billion of 7 months of last fiscal year. The services sector’s exports also suffered by $1.9 billion as exports were recorded at $2.8 billion while imports stood at $4.8 billion. Services sector’s deficit in the last fiscal was $1.9 billion. The accumulated balance of goods and services stood at $15.2 billion against $12.4 billion of the same period last year, he added.
GOVERNMENT RELEASES PART OF LONG-AWAITED SUBSIDY ON FERTILISERS
The Government had released the second tranche of the long-awaited subsidy amount promised on fertilizers in the National Budget 2016-2017. It has been a generous incentive for the farmers by federal and provincial governments to reduce the prices of various types of fertilizers including urea and phosphates. Over Rs 27 billion had been allocated in the budget for the fertilizer subsidy besides reduction of the GST on fertilizers from 17 percent to 5 percent. The manufacturers also came forward in support of this positive initiative and voluntarily absorbed the costs by Rs 50 per ‘Urea’ bag. The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R) after eight months has released around Rs 6.5 billion against claims of over Rs 21 billion since July 2016, while similar amount was released in the beginning of the scheme.
TRUMP COULD HIT PAK’S EXPORT SECTOR HARD: FPCCI
A body of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Thursday said that US policymakers’ inclination towards protectionism could hit Pakistan’s export sector hard. United Business Group (UBG) Zonal Chairman of Naseemur Rehman said that the new moves by the US had raised concerns among the business community, which wants the government to study the impact of the development and take steps to safeguard national interests without any delay. He said that emerging challenges to international trade should be taken seriously by all stakeholders as the US was the largest export destination for Pakistan. Rehman said that last year Pakistani imports from the US remained at $1.3 billion while exports stood at $2.6 billion, resulting in a surplus.
PAK ECONOMY TO SURPASS CANADA BY 2050:PWC REPORT
According to an economic forecast by management consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) The emerging economy of Pakistan could surpass the Canadian economy by 2050. A report of the PWC says, by 2050, emerging economies Mexico and Indonesia are likely to be larger than the UK and France, while Pakistan and Egypt could overtake Italy and Canada, the findings based on gross domestic product purchasing power parity (PPP) terms also forecasts China and India will overtake the United States as the world’s first and second largest economies by 2050. The United States will go down to third largest economy in the world. Canada is currently ranked as the 17th largest economy, but by 2030 the country will slip to No. 18 and by 2050 to No. 22. Pakistan will move to No. 16 place and Egypt on 15 respectively.
PUNJAB RECORDS FIRST POLIO CASE OF 2017
The National Institute of Health in Islamabad has confirmed Pakistan’s first polio case of year 2017 in Lodhran district, source said to Research Analyst-PAGE. This is the first polio case in the Punjab after 14 months. The Punjab remained polio-free in 2016 though the country reported 20 cases—eight each from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and two each from Fata and Balochistan. In the Punjab, last case was reported from district Rahim Yar Khan in December 2015. Four-month-old Ali Hassan, a resident of Chak 15 near Dunyapur, Lodhran, was reported with traumatic neuritis and the samples were sent to NIH in the first week of the ongoing month. The NIH confirmed yesterday that the ill-fated child was a victim of crippling virus, source added to him.
83PC GAS SUPPLY GOES UNBILLED IN BALOCHISTAN, SENATE PANEL SAID
A parliamentary committee was informed on Friday that 83 percent gas supply to Balochistan was going unbilled or stolen annually. According to officials of the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) of the entire annual natural gas supply to Balochistan, 83 percent is going unbilled, which means it is being stolen,” Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told the Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources. The committee meeting was chaired by Mir Israrullah Khan Zehri. The committee was holding a debate on a calling attention notice referred by the Senate. The calling attention notice was moved by Dr Ashok Kumar, Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar and Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi regarding low gas pressure in district Qalat during the winter season.
TIES WITH INDIA, AFGHANISTAN NEED TACTFUL HANDLING: CHAUDHRY
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Friday said that the conflicting relations with India and Afghanistan needed to be managed “tactfully”. Chaudhry, while speaking at a discussion on “Pakistan’s foreign policy challenges and opportunities” hosted by Air University, said that unrest in Afghanistan had affected Pakistan badly and had made the national security vulnerable to various threats. The foreign secretary, who will leave soon for Washington to take over as ambassador to the United States, said that terrorism was the biggest challenge facing Pakistan. He said that Pakistan enjoyed good relations with the international community at large to pursue a peaceful neighbourhood and to strengthen economic cooperation.
DIRECTORATE UNEARTHED A CASE OF MONEY LAUNDERING
Directorate of Customs Intelligence and Investigation has unearthed a case of money laundering to the tune of $2.1 million involving an importer, who simultaneously committed offences of fiscal fraud, forgery, under-invoicing, tax evasion and money laundering, causing huge loss to the national kitty, source said to Research Analyst-PAGE. Director General Customs Intelligence and Investigation, Shaukat Ali informed media on Friday that some of the exchange companies were involved in remitting the amount aboard. The initial estimated value of tax evasion comes to Rs200 million and value of seized goods totalled at Rs300 million during 2010-2106. The accused persons in a systematic and pre-planned manner had got clearances of imported goods by suppressing the factual values of the same and had inflicted colossal loss of revenue to the national exchequer. The FIR under sections 15 and 32A (a) and (2) of the Customs Act, 1969 punishable under clauses (14A) and (90) of sub section (1) of section 156 of the Customs Act, 1969 has been registered against the organised gang. The record of import and accounts record, original invasion, blank airway bills and two CPUs including hard disc drive were also seized for using as evidence. The names of the accused are proposed to be place on ECL and the raiding squads are making raids to apprehend them. The further progress shall be communicated to the FBR in the course. Details of the case revealed that a piece of information was received through reliable sources that the importer of namely M/s Marush International, Model Town, Lahore, with its sub-office at Karachi is engaged in the imports of poultry vaccines, medicines, nutrients, premixes, etc, and evading customs duty and taxes by adopting fraudulent methods. The importer was involved in massive mis-declaration of value by suppressing the actual transactional value of the imported goods by way of submission of fake import invoices and other documents before customs for clandestine clearances, the DG said.
OGRA SEEKS LPG RECORD TO ANALYZE RATES
Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has directed both the public and private sector LPG marketing companies and LPG producers to provide record of LPG business for the last 3 financial years to determine the fair analysis of LPG prices, source said to Research Analyst-PAGE. The OGRA had notified reasonable LPG price in line with the existing LPG policy without making fair analysis that has sparked controversy in the industry. OGRA had communicated LPG price at Rs 900 per 11.8-kg domestic cylinder proposed by the Petroleum Ministry. But it had delayed the fresh advice of Petroleum Ministry to notify the LPG price at Rs 1100 per 11.8-kg domestic cylinders. We are examining the fresh LPG price proposed by the Petroleum Ministry and have sought comments and records from stakeholders before notifying it, said Member Finance Noor-ul-Haq and Executive Director Finance Misbah in a joint press conference. The LPG market is still deregulated as rules were not amended by Cabinet Division in line with the March 2016 LPG policy, which allowed the OGRA to determine reasonable price. In a fresh move, however, the OGRA directed 14 LPG companies to provide the track record of the LPG base stock prices charged from time to time and audited accounts in respect of the LPG business for the last 3 financial years within 2 days of receipt of instruction. Attock Refinery, Pakistan Refinery, Pakistan Oilfields, Ocean Pakistan, Pakistan Petroleum Ltd, Pak-Arab Refinery, National Refinery, Jamshoro Joint Venture Ltd, Oil and Gas Development Company, United Energy Pakistan, Byco Petroleum Pakistan, MOL-Pakistan Oil and Gas Company, Byco Oil Pakistan and Sui Southern Gas Company would submit their details within 2 days. Meanwhile, Chairman LPG Distributor Association Pakistan Irfan Khokhar argued that the OGRAs directive of Feb 6 for fixing the LPG price at Rs 36,808 MT was not feasible for the LPG marketing companies and producers. It has created chaos as importers refuse to open L/C on the price which results into increase of the LPG prices in future, he added. According to details, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) considered the summary by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources on Aug 25, 2015 and approved LPG (Production and Distribution) Policy, 2015, in principle. The CCI further directed the minister to amicably resolve the outstanding issues with the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.