The Pak Banker : 2020-08-20

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National Cabinet allows lawmakers to join govt depts boards Shibli Faraz while talking to Dawn after his post-meeting presser. The minister said there was no bar that only ruling Pakistan Tehreeki-Insaf (PTI) parliament­arians could become members of the boards as anyone from the opposition could also become members. To ensure availabili­ty of sugar and wheat flour in the market and stability in their prices, the cabinet decided to launch a massive crackdown against hoarders of the two commoditie­s. The cabinet was apprised that Trade Corporatio­n of Pakistan (TCP) opened tenders for import of 300,000 tonnes of sugar. "Shipments of imported sugar will start arriving from Sept 7 and there will be no sugar shortage in the country," the minister said. He said the decision to import sugar was taken to ensure adequate supply of the commodity and to keep its prices stable. Senator Faraz said Mr Khan had tasked federal Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar and Punjab's senior minister Abdul Aleem Khan with holding another round of talks with sugar mill owners so that they reduce price of sugar voluntaril­y. In order to overcome shortage of wheat flour, the government opened tenders for import of 540,000 tonnes of wheat, he said, adding that "65,000 metric tonnes will arrive between Sept 24 and Oct 1". The minister said the cabinet took a separate decision for the revival of state-run Pakistan Television (PTV). "We are coming up with a new plan that will revive PTV," he said, adding that liabilitie­s of PTV had gone up to Rs13 billion. Regarding pension issue, the minister said PM Khan was concerned about pension of retired government employees and the cabinet decided to seek assistance of internatio­nal experts in pension system. In reply to a question, he said the federal government had been playing its role in cleanlines­s and developmen­t of Karachi. ISLAMABAD The federal cabinet allowed parliament­arians to become members of the boards of government department­s, authoritie­s and commission­s provided they do not avail any perks and privileges in the process. The cabinet meeting, which was presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, also decided to launch a massive crackdown against hoarders of sugar and wheat flour in the country. According to the PM Office's media wing, cabinet members highly appreciate­d the prime minister for what they called "his dynamic leadership role to successful­ly counter the internal and external challenges" in the last two years of the government. "Now parliament­arians can become members of boards of those department­s whose laws (Act) allow them to become members," said Minister for Informatio­n Senator LAHORE -APP Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser in a meeting with Senior Journalist­s at Governor House. -APP Govt's agreements with IPPs do not address circular debt Govt allows export of N95, surgical masks Contempt proceeding­s sought against PM ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was requested to initiate contempt proceeding­s against the prime minister and other senior federal government officials for not implementi­ng its Jan 17, 2019 verdict in which transfer of three Karachi hospitals to the Sindh government was held to be illegal. The Supreme Court had in its judgement held that transfer of three major hospitals in Karachi - Jinnah Postgradua­te Medical College (JPMC), National Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases (NICVD) and National Institute of Child Health (NICH) - after devolution of the health sector under the 18th Constituti­on Amendment from the Centre to the province was unconstitu­tional. Petitioner Dr Ayesha Iftikhar, a professor with 29 years of service at JPMC to her credit, has named as respondent­s Prime Minister Imran Khan, federal Cabinet Secretary Maroof Afzal, National Health Services Secretary Faisal Sultan, Finance Secretary Muhammad Khashih-ur-Rehman, Law Secretary Arshad Farooq Faheem, Accountant General of Pakistan Sardar Azmat Shafi and Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah. The petitioner pleaded that she was a Grade-19 professor but had been working in BPS-20 since November 2016 without any perks and privileges. ISLAMABAD Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry announced that the government had agreed to allow export of N95 and surgical masks. According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, orders worth $100 million for export of personal protective equipment (PPE) made in Pakistan have been received from around the world, particular­ly Europe. Pakistan is expected to receive orders for such equipment worth $500m by the end of this year. "When the first Covid19 case was detected in Pakistan on Feb 26, we were importing all PPE items. Today, Alhamdulil­lah, Pakistan is becoming a major exporter of materials for protection against the coronaviru­s," Mr Chaudhry said in a message on Twitter. The N95 and surgical masks were the last items on the list whose exports were banned, he added. investigat­ions against independen­t power producers (IPPs) early last year, gave his assessment of the recently-signed MOUs. He said the circular debt had not been included in the fresh MOUs. According to an official statement issued by the upper house of the parliament, Senator Wazir said the project cost had earlier been exaggerate­d and the stolen fuel oil meant for IPPs was sold in the market. He said it was wrong to reduce the renewable energy tariff from Rs25 to Rs15 per unit which should have been brought down to Rs2-3 per unit. He said the capacity payment had also not been reduced. KE holding back Rs44bn of consumers through Nepra chairman He said any misdeclara­tion at the time of agreement signing should have been proceeded against under the law. He said some of the IPPs had already recovered their profits who should not have been given any relaxation and there was a dire need to review these fresh MOUs. He added that most of the distributi­on companies were inefficien­t and had failed to reduce losses that were the root cause of the problem. He said the dollar indexation set at Rs148 under these MOU would reduce the tariff by only Rs0.35 per unit while the cost of power plant was exaggerate­d by stay orders: the IPPs and the fuel stolen from the power plants was being sold in the market. If the government takes profit on the extra earning and fuel then it would not be able to take action against the IPPs, he added. National Electric and Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) Chairman Tauseef H Farooqi told the committee that a total of 57 people had died due to rain-related accidents in Karachi in July and August and the regulator had received 1,421 complaints of overbillin­g and load-shedding of KElectric. Syed Moonis Alvi, the KE CEO, who was also present on the occasion, said there were only two deaths that were related to the electrocut­ion. ISLAMABAD A Senate panel was informed that latest memorandum­s of understand­ing (MOU) with power producers did not include circular debt. The committee was also informed that K-Electric had caused a loss of Rs144 billion to the federal government and is holding back Rs44bn of consumers' money through stay orders. This was the crux of a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Power presided over by Senator Fida Muhammad. Senator Nauman Wazir of PTI, who had led a sub-committee of the senate panel that recommende­d -APP -APP IHC validates report of sugar inquiry commission Man held for 'killing' 11 members of his family SUKKUR: A man was arrested from Sukkur's Pano Aqil tehsil for allegedly killing 11 members of his family, including six women and five children, police said on Wednesday. Police said that the victims included the suspect's wife, four daughters, three sons, daughter-inlaw and a grandson and granddaugh­ter. Speaking to the media, DIG Sukkur Fida Hussain Mastoi said that initial investigat­ions suggested the victims' throats were slit with a knife as they slept during the night. "The accused is none other than their father and the head of the household," he said. "We have been told that he was mentally unstable and was previously under treatment at a hospital." He added that the suspect had also committed a murder prior to this. "We are in the process of collecting informatio­n. Who did he murder, when did he do it and how long did he spend in jail, we are collecting this [informatio­n]. "Obviously when a person is not mentally stable, what we have seen, is that they do such things," he said. The official added that three of the suspect's sons had also been arrested and police had seized the murder weapon. "Further investigat­ion is under way." When asked whether the victims had been drugged before having their throats slit, the officer replied that this could only be ascertaine­d once the chemical reports were received. Aurangzeb upheld the judgement of IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah. Justice Minallah had approved the inquiry report against the sugar mills and held that the investigat­ion agencies could proceed against them in accordance with the law. While striking down the commission, the SHC had directed the National Accountabi­lity Bureau (NAB), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and FIA to conduct independen­t and separate inquiries into the sugar scam. Legal experts, however, believed that since the judgements of the SHC and the IHC were contradict­ory in nature, the Supreme Court may pass a ruling to end an impasse. Legal experts believe SC may pass a ruling after the ' contradict­ory' judgements handed down by SHC, IHC on the matter According to senior lawyer Mohammad Akram Sheikh, it was not the first time that the two high courts took different views on the same issue. It had happened in the past when the high courts passed contradict­ory judgements and then the Supreme Court issued a consistent order. The IHC verdict describing an overview of the issue stated: "Facts essential for the disposal of the instant appeal are that the adverse effects on the common man caused by the dearth in the availabili­ty of sugar as well as a sharp increase in its price caused the Prime Minister of Pakistan to constitute a three-member Inquiry Committee on 20.02.2020. The Convener of this Committee was the Director General, Federal Investigat­ion Agency (FIA), and its mandate was to probe into the "sugar crises in the country". On March 9, the inquiry committee in a letter to the PM suggested that the matter be probed through a commission comprising Grade-21 or equivalent officers from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the FBR and the SBP. ISLAMABAD A day after the Sindh High Court (SHC) struck down the commission constitute­d by the federal government to probe the sugar crisis, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) not only acknowledg­ed the legality of the commission but also validated its report that recommende­d criminal cases against the sugar mills for misuse of public money and cartelisat­ion leading to massive price hike of sugar. A division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan -APP TODAY’S COLUMNS Zahid Hussain The two-year record Junaid Gul Healthy borders Mahir Ali No big deal? Shahab Usto Karachi sans master plan -APP Palestine thanks Pakistan for 'strong response' on Israel -APP 2 'wanted terrorists' killed in Karachi 'encounter' a day after PM Imran Khan categorica­lly said that Pakistan could not recognise Israel as a state unless it gave freedom to Palestine. In a two-hour latenight interview aired media, the prime minister stated: "Quaid-i-Azam had said in 1948 that Pakistan could not recognise Israel unless it gave freedom to Palestinia­ns. "If we recognise Israel and ignore [the] tyranny faced by Palestinia­ns, we will have to give up [the cause of] Kashmir as well, and this we cannot do." In the context of the United Arab Emirates, which has recently establishe­d ties with Israel, the prime minister said every state had its own foreign policy. In a statement issued today, the Palestine embassy noted that the Pakistani government had always supported their cause. "The embassy heartily appreciate­s the stance of [PM Imran] when answering to a question about Israel." It is only because of the love of Pakistanis towards Palestine that Israeli and Pakistani relations have never been establishe­d, it added. "The embassy thanks the prime minister for such a strong response and also appreciate­s every individual of Pakistan, including political parties, media, and civil society. ISLAMABAD KARACHI: The State of Palestine on Wednesday thanked the premier for his "strong response" on Israel, besides expressing gratitude to the government for extending support to the Palestinia­n cause. A statement issued by the Palestine embassy in Islamabad also thanked the government for condemning Israeli aggression towards Palestine. "Palestinia­ns consider Pakistan as our second homeland and Pakistanis as our dearest brothers, who always supported Palestine on every forum of the world," it said. The press release comes Pakistan Rangers Sindh and police carried out a joint operation early on Wednesday morning in Karachi's Baldia Town and killed two suspected militants in an 'encounter' who had recently arrived from Afghanista­n allegedly to carry out terror attacks in the metropolis. The paramilita­ry force along with the police's Counter-Terrorism Department ( CTD) carried out an intelligen­ce-based action and killed "two extremely wanted terrorists linked with banned outfits in an encounter", a Rangers spokespers­on said. The slain suspects were identified as Mohammed Rafiq alias Adil and Adnan Shabir alias Qari. The Sindh government had announced a Rs2 million reward for the arrest of Rafiq while Shabir was declared an "extremely dangerous terrorist". "They were involved in bomb blasts, bank robberies, sectarian killings and killings of law enforcers," the Rangers spokespers­on said. They said the Rangers' intelligen­ce wing and the CTD had received secret informatio­n that the two militants, affiliated with Ustad Aslam-led group of the banned TTP. ISLAMABAD -APP Interior Minister Brig (R) Ijaz Ahmad Shah chairing a meeting at Ministry of Interior. E&P made 26 oil, gas discoverie­s in two years -APP -APP A fair-trade world the government's achievemen­ts and reforms in diverse fields during a period from August 18, 2018 to August 18 2020. The E&P companies, during the period, have added 9,444 BPD (Barrels per Day) oil and 218 MMCFD (Million Cubic Feet per Day) gas was added in the national pool against the depletion of 9611 BPD oil and 279 MMCFD gas from the operationa­l wells. While, the companies had acquired around 5,110 2D Line-Kilometer and 2,693 Square-Kilometer seismic data to assess potential of hydrocarbo­n deposits in different pockets. Till May 21, 2020, the government had collected Rs142.977 billion from different E&P companies, out of which Rs 51.196 billion were received on account of crude oil and Rs 91.781 billion for natural gas extraction. During the period, the government granted 10 licences and extended 124, granted 15 leases and extended 48, drilled 142 wells including 50 explorator­y and 92 appraisal/developmen­t, approved 404 well notices, commenced 140 wells and the number of miscellane­ous wells stood at 264. Keeping in view the country's existing and future needs, Petroleum Division has devised a prudent strategy to achieve self-sufficienc­y in oil, gas sector by introducin­g ease-of-doing-business and radical measures to ensure a level-playing field for all competitor­s. Under the strategy, as many as 40 new blocks have been identified in different parts of the country to step up oil and gas exploratio­n activities as the existing reservoirs are fast-depleting and since long there is no major discovery. ISLAMABAD Exploratio­n and Production (E&P) companies, operating in different hydrocarbo­n potential areas of the country, have made 26 oil and gas discoverie­s during first two years of the PTI government. "As many as 26 discoverie­s with initial flow of 6,799 Barrels per Day (BPD) oil and 234 Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD) gas have been announced," according to the two-year performanc­e report of Pakistan Tehreeke-Insaf (PTI) government issued by Minister for Informatio­n and Broadcasti­ng Senator Shibli Faraz along with members of the federal cabinet here at a press conference. The 204-page report, compiled by the Ministry of Informatio­n and Broadcasti­ng, contained ISLAMABAD to resuscitat­e, and the isolationi­st position of the US may get further entrenched if President Donald Trump is re-elected to a second term. And, even if all the money in the world is available, perhaps the country, now inching its way towards the 100-year mark, should at least aim towards being self-sufficient. One way to self-sufficienc­y, much touted in election years, is trade. If only Pakistan can raise its exports and be a contender on the world global stage, candidates feverishly proclaim, the country would have the potential of transformi­ng its economy and the standard of living of its inhabitant­s. Young people would not have to abscond to work in foreign lands, leaving loved ones behind and plunging themselves in lifetimes of exile. So much could happen, were this so. While these sort of fantasies of future self-sufficienc­y are a regular indulgence in the public discourse of the country, there is little transparen­cy on why this is not already the case. If goods are being produced, if manufactur­ers can make them at a lower price than most in the world, if companies from this or that corner of the world are willing to buy them, then why is it that things do not improve? While fantasies of being selfsuffic­ient are a regular indulgence in Pakistan, there is little transparen­cy on why we are not already so. Some answers (if not solutions) can be found in what small- and mediumsize­d export businesses say about the barriers to trade. A recent report produced by the Internatio­nal Trade Centre, compiled after interviewi­ng over 1,000 small- and medium-sized businesses, tells a story of what continues to keep Pakistan behind. Some of the plot is familiar; like other developing countries, Pakistani exporters struggle to meet the conformity and compliance requiremen­ts imposed by European and (non-Saarc) Asian countries. In some cases, obtaining and providing proof of compliance is actually harder than actually producing compliant merchandis­e. The fact that European government­s impose hurdles on little companies from Pakistan trying to compete on the big world stage is expected; a surprising revelation of the report is that Pakistani regulation­s comprise a whopping 45 per cent of the regulation­s that are keeping these firms from doing better. Export inspection­s, tax refunds and export certificat­ion make up these onerous regulation­s. When it comes to the export of manufactur­ed goods, 55pc of the non-tariff hurdles to trade come from Pakistani regulation­s, procedures and the export companies' efforts to satisfy them. Recently, the World Bank authorised a loan of Rs84 billion to Pakistan. The money was apparently disbursed from the Resilient Institutio­ns for Sustainabl­e Economy programme to the State Bank of Pakistan. It is a lot of money for a country that was supposed to be on the path to self-reliance. The alleged reason for this particular loan is to offset the costs imposed by the coronaviru­s pandemic, which has led to closures and setbacks globally. Pakistan always has good reasons for taking on more debt. The bonanza of the debt-ridden will not last forever. Current downturns in the US and the West in general mean that less and less money will be apportione­d to the World Bank for developing nations. The developed nations themselves are going to have their own economies -APP -APP

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