IN THE NEWS
Feb 27 - Mar 5, 2017
OGRA SETS LPG PRICE AT RS910/CYLINDER
As against the petroleum ministry recommended prices of Rs1,100 per 11.8kg LPG cylinder, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) on Friday determined that for the month of February the prices of LPG will be Rs910 per cylinder. In two separate letters to the LPG producing and marketing companies, written on February 24, Ogra has directed that in pursuant of the order of the Lahore High Court, dated January 27, 2017, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources proposal/opinion vide letter No LPG 6(11)/2016-policy date February 6 and 10, the producer price (including Excise Duty) is Rs45,276 per MT, while the marketing companies maximum LPG price (Including GST) is Rs77,220 per MT or Rs910 per 11.8kg LPG cylinder. The consumer LPG price is conveyed as per section 18(2) of LPG Rules 2001 for strict compliances. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources in a letter to Ogra proposed that the maximum LPG consumer price will be Rs93,500 (Rs1,100/11.8Kg cylinder) including the base stock price at Rs59,190 per MT, GST 17 percent and the balance as marketing and distribution margin at Rs20,724 per MT. A maximum LPG indicative price can be determined to set a ceiling in order to comply with the legal provisions and honorable court orders in the instant matter. It has been observed that MP&NR proposed latest LPG producer price at Rs59,190 per MT, however at the same time the price as quoted by LPG producers stands at Rs54,000 per MT. This deviation in LPG producer price required further analysis to arrive at a reasonable limit. In view of above, historical data with respect to quantity of LPG (local & import), LPG base stock price quoted by local producers, CP price quoted by Saudi Aramco, has been considered and analysis based on the data for past 12 months (February, 2016 to January, 2017) reveals that LPG local producer price is relatively observing market dynamics and CP price by Saudi Aramco. The LPG local producer price as such does not have its own set of parameters to compute the same, as submitted by LPG producers. Therefore, at this point in time, average of last three months CP by Saudi Aramco which works out to Rs45,276 per MT may be considered relevant data for the determination of February 2017 LPG price. MP&NR has been of the view that this margin is relevant to market conditions. On the basis of above, the latest margin conveyed at Rs20,724 per MT by MP&NR is adopted for the purposes of LPG price for the month of February, 2017. Although the new prices for the month of February are provisional, however it will enforce till the new determination of LPG prices.
ISLAMIC FINANCE CENTRE DISBURSES RS14 MN IN 2-MONTH
The recently established Islamic Finance Centre has disbursed Rs14 million among common people in first two months under Ijarah mode of Islamic financing for purchase of motorcycles and other products. The Islamic financing facility center was inaugurated by SECP Chairman Zafar Hijazi in Rawalpindi on December 2016. The initiative was taken by the Modaraba sector on the patronage of the SECP chairman for providing Islamic financial products to the masses. Initially four modarabas, Allied Rental Modaraba, First Habib Modaraba, Orix Modaraba and Trust Modaraba has opened their offices in the this Islamic Finance Centre. The establishment of Modaraba-based Islamic Finance Centre was initiated to promote legal modes of financing and to curb the illegal and unlicensed informal lending practices throughout the country. The Islamic Finance Centre received overwhelming response and common people are approaching the centre to avail Islamic finance for purchase of motorcycles to cater their conveyance needs. The Modarabas in this centre are providing microfinance to the customers at cheaper rate ranging in between 20 to 25 percent, as against the prevalent market rates of 40 to 45 percent. The SECP has shown its firm commitment to provide all the support to other Modarabas, which have plans to open similar centres in other parts of the country for the benefits of the common people. This will increase the outreach of Modarabas to the smaller cities and towns for greater financial inclusion of the underserved sectors.
PAKISTAN'S EXPORTED GEMSTONES VALUE RS2.570BN
Pakistan has exported a variety of precious stones worth Rs 2.570 billion during the last three years. The country exported precious stones worth Rs 1363.318 million in the year 2013-14, Rs 785.5 million in 2014-15 and Rs 412.5 million in 2015- 16. The source informed that different varieties of minerals like Peridot, Aquamarine, Topaz in different colours of violet, pink, golden and champagne, Ruby, Emerald, rare-earth minerals Bastnaesite and Xenotime, Sphene, Tourmaline, besides many types of Quartz make the country prominent in the mineral world. The northern and northwestern parts of the country are shrouded by the three world-famous mountain ranges called Hindukush, Himalaya, and Karakorum, from where nearly all the minerals, which Pakistan is currently offering to the world market, have been found so far. Out of 25 precious and semi precious stones and mineral specimens, seven were intermittently exploited and marketed all over the world. United States, China, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Thailand and Saudi Arabia are the top ten countries where precious stones have been exported during the three-year period. The government was making efforts to promote the gemstone industry so that the country's vast potential of glittering gemstones could be exploited in a professional manner. Pakistan, based on its potential in mineral wealth, can become a great hub of the gemstone industry, on a scale comparable to that of Brazil, provided it takes a few essential steps to enhance the exploration of resources and growth of gemstone business.
IRAN HANDS OVER 125 DEPORTEES TO PAK
Iranian security forces handed over 125 Pakistani national to Levies force on Pak-Iran borders in Taftan area of Chaghi district. These Pakistani workers had been apprehended from different parts of Iran by Iranian security forces because they were living there without traveling documents. The Levies sources said that they would be handed over to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for further interrogation after completing initial inquiry.
SOYABEAN OIL IMPORT REDUCES BY 51.68 PERCENT
Edible oil imports into the country during last seven months of current financial year reduced by 51.68 percent as compared to the corresponding period of last year, Kamal Hayder, Research Analyst-PAGE said. During the period from July-January, 2016-17, about 41,160 metric tons of soyabean oil valuing $58.59 million imported into the country which was down by 51.68 percent as compared to same period of last year. Soyabean oil import into the country was recorded at 90,500 metric tons worth $120.148 million during the corresponding period of last year. However, palm oil import into the country grew by 6.78 percent in seven months as country spent $1.15 billion on the import of 1,448,472 metric tons of palm oil to fulfill the domestic requirements of the commodity. Palm oil import into the country during first seven months of last financial year was recorded at 1,541,996 million valuing $951.236 million. On month on month basis, soyabean import into the country decreased by 99.58 percent in month of January, 2017 as compared to the same month of last year. During the month of January, 2017, about 61 metric tons of soyabean oil valuing $67,000 imported as against the import of 14,648 metric tons worth of $18.96 million of same month of last year. On the other hand, palm oil import into the country during the month of January, 2017 increased by 10.80 percent and reached at 237,227 metric tons valuing 171.95 million as compared the import of 214,113 metric tons worth 121.315 million of same month of last year.
GOVT TO ENHANCE CAPACITY BUILDING OF PORT QASIM: ZUBAIR
Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair on Friday said the importance of Port Qasim will increase manifold with the completion of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor hence all attention will be paid to raise its capacity building. During his visit to Port Qasim, he said seaports hold tremendous importance under the CPEC and the government being fully cognizant of it is fully focussed to ensure proper development and provision for needed facilities at the Gwadar Port as well as at Port Qasim. This is important as Port Qasim alongwith Gwadar Port would be optimally activated once CPEC is fully functional, said the Governor of Sindh. Muhammad Zubair on the occasion highlighting importance of CPEC said it will pave way for industrial and economic boom not only in the country but also in the region. This, he said will also eventually eradicate poverty and unemployment from across the country. The Governor reiterated that Port Qasim was playing a major role in the economic development which is to grow manifold in the days to come hence the government will ensure that its shortcomings are addressed on priority basis. This has to be done so that pace of economic growth and development is not hindered at any point of time, he said. Chairman, Port Qasim Authority (PQA), Agha Jan Akhter briefed the Governor about the hindrances faced at the port in the import and export process and the measures needed to enhance its capacity so as to meet the load on completion of CPEC.
NAB ARRESTS DEPUTY DRUGS CONTROLLER IN CORRUPTION CASE
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi arrested Ayaz Ali Khan s/o Muhammad Ali Khan, Deputy Drugs Controller, Health Department, Punjab, presently on deportation as Chief Operating Officer, Pakistan Drugs Testing and Research Center in mega corruption drug case. The accused person gave wrongful financial benefits to the pharmaceutical companies/firms in the shape of illegal price increase of their drugs causing loss to public at large to the tune of about Rs. 441.8 million. As per detail, Ayaz Ali Khan had been found involved in commission of offences, corruption and corrupt practices as he being member of 5th DPC meeting in connivance with other members and beneficiaries knowingly and dishonestly had given undue and illegal price increase to certain drugs in violation of Drug Act and rules/regulations, without asking for relevant current import invoices of the raw material/finished drugs and costing data on prescribed Performa. In some cases, he in connivance with other members even gave illegal price increase on incomplete/incorrect costing data/inflated import invoices of raw material and finished drugs as the data submitted by the Pharmaceutical companies/firms was not even verified/checked while granting price increase. Moreover, he in connivance with other members and beneficiaries did not even analyze/evaluate data submitted by the pharmaceutical companies/firms in the light of rules and regulations while granting price increase. That the above mentioned accused, in connivance with other accused persons, by misusing his authority extended undue and illegal financial benefits to the pharmaceuticals companies/firms, who submitted incomplete/incorrect/inflated costing data, in the shape of illegal and unjustified increase of their drugs prices.
ISHAQ, CJCSC, AIR CHIEF DISCUSS PROJECTS OF PAF
Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman held a meeting at the Joint Staff Headquarters, Chaklala, on Friday. The meeting discussed the ongoing development projects of Pakistan Air Force. The future development needs and consequent financial requirements also came under discussion. On the occasion, the finance minister appreciated the role played by the Air Force, in conjunction with Army, in the operation Zarb-e-Azb.
He said the whole nation was determined to get rid of the menace of terrorism and wholeheartedly backed the armed forces in the effort. He said the force development needs of the armed forces will continue to be met on priority.