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World Bank terms Punjab’s $200mn-worth project moderately unsatisfactory

The World Bank has downgraded the $200-million Punjab Green Development Programme to moderately unsatisfactory after the provincial government failed to meet environment protection-related key targets despite rapid environmental degradation.

The Washington-based lender’s decision to downgrade the project form “moderately satisfactory” to “moderately unsatisfactory” suggests that the government of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar was not taking Prime Minister Imran Khan’s clean and green initiative seriously.

The World Bank compiled the fourth Implementation Status and Results Report of the Punjab Green Development Programme in November – the month PM Imran launched the Clean Green Pakistan Index (CGPI) as part of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s efforts to control pollution and reduce the drastic effects of climate change.

The provincial government has failed to implement the programme amid rapidly increasing environmental degradation, resulting in extremely poor air quality in the provincial capital.

CCP slaps Rs 45mn penalty on two companies

The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has passed an order and imposed a penalty of Rs45 million on two snack food (Nimco) sellers for copying the registered trademark and other designs of another company and violating Section 10 of the Competition Act 2010.

Nimco Corner filed a complaint with the CCP that its registered trademark, name and product packaging were being fraudulently used by Mr Nimko Corner and Karachi Nimco.

The company claimed to be the sole proprietor of the registered name “Nimco” since 1947 as well as distinctive logos and packaging.

The CCP’s inquiry established that Mr Nimko Corner and Karachi Nimco had violated Section 10 by imitating the trademark, packaging, colour scheme, design and theme of products of Nimco Corner.

SECP to enlarge eservices to Balochistan, K-P

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) would extend its One Stop Shop (OSS) facility for company registration to Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), said SECP Commissioner Shaukat Hussain.

Speaking at the launching ceremony of the government of Balochistan’s plan for the transformation of traditional businesses into corporate bodies, he apprised the audience that the SECP’s eServices had already been integrated with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Employees Old Age Benefits Institution (EOBI).

SECP’s e-Services have also been linked with the business registration portals of Punjab and Sindh at the provincial level.

“Consequently, SECP’s eServices have become a One Stop Shop (OSS) for the registration of a company with the SECP, FBR, EOBI, Punjab/Sindh Employees Social Security Institution (PESSI/SESSI), Excise and Taxation Department and Labour Department of Punjab and Sindh,” he said.

Infant formula product company kicks off domestic production

People in Pakistan are likely to get Morinaga Milk products at relatively cheaper prices as the company has begun local production.

NutriCo Morinaga Private Limited, a subsidiary of ICI Pakistan Limited, has commenced commercial production of infant formula products with an investment of over Rs5 million, stated a notice sent by the company to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Friday.

“ICI Pakistan Limited is pleased to announce that effective from January 10, 2020, NutriCo Morinaga has commenced commercial operations of Morinaga infant and growing up formula products at its manufacturing facility in Sheikhupura, Punjab,” said the notification.

The facility possesses the capacity to produce 12,000 tonnes of the formula products per year.

 

Work on CPEC projects to be accelerated: Asad Umar

The pace at which projects under the CPEC are being implemented would be accelerated in the coming weeks and months, said Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar.

Talking to Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing on matters relating to CPEC and bilateral economic cooperation on Friday, the minister expressed his satisfaction at the progress on various projects under CPEC.

He emphasised that the establishment and operationalisation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Pakistan was currently the government’s top priority as SEZs would lead to joint-venture agreements in manufacturing, which would integrate enterprises from both sides.

In Punjab excise department re-imposes cinema tax

The collection of entertainment duty from cinemas in Punjab has intensified the tug of war between the Excise and Taxation Department and owners of cinema houses.

Employing influence and power, the cinema owners are seeking exemption from the entertainment duty for a few more years.

The excise department has, however, insisted that no concession will be granted under any condition but considering the situation of the cinema industry, a reduction in the entertainment duty can be deliberated upon.

Describing the objections raised by the cinema owners as legitimate, the excise department has decided to develop a software, in collaboration with the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), which will allow the monitoring of ticket sales at the cinemas.

Use of unlawful remittance channels on the rise in Pakistan

The State Bank governor on Friday said overseas Pakistanis were increasingly using informal channels to send remittances to the country.

“We are seeing that the use of formal channels for sending money [by expatriates] is not growing as much as the use of informal channels,” Reza Baqir said while addressing the fourth annual banking award.

“The reasons for this may be the comparatively higher cost of sending money [through formal channels] and the questions asked [by banks] from the senders,” he added.

The central bank chief had recently told the federal cabinet that overseas Pakistanis were reluctant to provide additional information about themselves to banks fearing that their data, which would be shared with the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) in line with the Financial Action Task Force’s {FATF) recommendations, could be ‘misused’.

Bankers and experts have estimated that receipt of remittances through illegal channels stood at around $8 billion a year.

CPFTA Phase-II to assist enhance exports

Under the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) Phase-II, China has eliminated tariffs on 313 tariff lines of Pakistan’s export interest, giving the South Asian nation a treatment on a par with Asean grouping, said Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Chief Executive Arif Ahmed Khan.

Speaking to the business community at a seminar on Friday, he said the tariff lines included textile and garments, seafood, meat and other animal products, prepared food, leather, chemicals, plastic, oilseeds and engineering goods including tractors, auto parts, home appliances and machinery.

“The second phase of the CPFTA will help Pakistan in enhancing exports to China in the coming years,” he said.

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