No default in next 3 years, says Dar
Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Thursday that the government was making its best efforts to stabilize the exchange rate regime, and asked banks and exchange companies to help strengthen the local currency as well as the economy. While the minister appreciated exchange companies role to reduce dollar price gap between the open market and inter bank, he did not offer any details to stop steep fall of local currency in the inter bank market. He was hopeful that loans from IMF would remove any fear of default that would ultimately help local currency to get strength. The finance minister reportedly asked foreign banks for dollar-based loans and offered a lucrative rate of LIBOR plus 5pc per annum.
NAB directs Ogra chief to recover Rs13b from SNGPL
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has directed the incumbent OGRA Chairman Saeed Ahmed Khan through a notice under section 18(d) & 33 (c) of National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999, to recover an amount of Rs 13 billion of public money from the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL). The NAB also directed him to provide certified copies of all the decisions of the competent authority who appointed him as Chairman OGRA. The NAB noticed that despite the vacation of stay orders from the Lahore High Court (LHC) the OGRA has failed to recover the Rs 13 billion of public money from the SNGPL, even after the lapse of seven months passed the orders of LHC. The investigation bureau directed the incumbent Chairman OGRA to recover the said amount through issuance of revised notifications within two working days.
NBP, UBank sign MoU
Retirees can now draw their pensions from 10,000 outlets of Ufone and ordinary citizens can even pay income tax from their mobile phones after U Microfinance Bank Limited (UBank) and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) signed an agreement which aims “to change the way people will perform banking transactions”. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between NBP and UBank on Thursday in this regard. Under the MoU, NBP will provide personal and corporate solutions through branchless banking services to its customers across the country. Punjab govt part of MoU for coal-based projects worth $5 bnA ceremony for the signing of MoUs between federal, Punjab governments, China National Power and Q-Investment Qatar for over 6,600 MW coal-based projects worth more than $5 billion was held on Thursday. Under the tripartite agreement, 10 plants of 660 megawatt each will be set up at Gadani. The projects of 3000 megawatt will be completed within first 30 months while the remaining projects of 3600 megawatt will be executed in the next two and a half years. The chief minister said this agreement between Pakistan, Qatar and China will prove to be a milestone in energy sector and all out efforts will be made for the early completion of this project for power generation from imported coal.
Lawrencepur Woolen and Textile Mills suspends operations
Dawood Lawrencepur Limited (DLL), the pioneers of textile composite units in Pakistan, has announced to suspend opera-tions of Lawrencepur Woolen and Textile Mills with immediate effect. DLL is one of the few woolen and worsted fabric spin-ning and weaving units in the region. Lawrencepur woolen and worsted fabric, the most prestigious names in French and Italian fashion industry, will now operate under licence. “Due to fall in demand and its adverse impact on the worsted fabric industry in Pakistan, the board of directors of the company has decided to suspend operations of Lawrencepur Woolen and Textile Mills with immediate effect,” Hafsa Shamsie, company secretary of DLL, said. “However, the ‘Lawrencepur’ brand will continue to operate under the licence,” she added. The decision is in line with the company’s strategic intent to focus on the renewable energy business, development of which is vital for the country’s economic growth. The board has also ap-proved a voluntary separation scheme for the management and non-management employees of Lawrencepur Woolen and Textile Mills.
Bike assemblers body calls for new auto sector policy
Pakistan’s new government should take on board all stakeholders and market players while formulating new policies related to the auto sector, the Association of Pakistan Motorcycle Assemblers (APMA) said. This was particularly important if the government seriously want to generate revenues, APMA spokesman Muhammad Sabir Shaikh. APMA comprises of companies who are specifically involved in the assembly of Chinese made motor bikes. Speaking in this context, Shaikh said that the finance minister should also look into the issues of incorrect declaration, under invoicing and smuggling. He added that if the government makes the necessary changes in the policy of the auto sector, it will earn revenues of more than Rs.1,000 crores annually. Shaikh said this amount was being wasted at the moment due to of incorrect policies. He went on to say that the retailers are not against the imposition of sales tax, but actually the manufacturers, importers, smugglers are against this move. In the last 10 years, there was huge evasion and under invoicing of imported parts due to non registration in sales tax regime by auto sector dealers all over Pakistan. Shaikh said all zero rated imports must be fixed at minimum five per cent customs duty. All the Input Output Ratio Certificates (IORCs), which are valid up to June 30, 2013 should not be re-validated and one customs duty on imported parts and one customs duty on CBU imports should be fixed at 25 per cent