Ex-Haj minister Hajjar nominated to head IDB

JEDDAH (INP): Former Haj Minister of Saudi Arabia, Bandar Hajjar has been nominated by the government to head the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) at a meeting of the board’s governors in Jakarta. IDB President Ahmad bin Mohammad Ali thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman for his support of the bank and wished Hajjar all the best in his new post. Minister of Finance and Governor for Saudi Arabia in IDB Ibrahim Al-Assaf praised Ali for his contribution to the bank over the years. Al-Assaf said that the IDB has become a major player in the international finance arena since it was set up in 1975. Hajjar has a degree in economics and political science from King Saud University in Riyadh.

 with first degree honors, a master’s degree in economics from Indiana University in the US, and a PhD in economics from Loughborough University in England.

He was undersecretary in the economics department at King Abdulaziz University between 1995 and 1998, deputy president for research in Islamic economics at the same university from 1992 to 1995, and headed the external affairs committee in the Shoura Council.

He was later appointed deputy chairman of the National Human Rights Society between 2004 and 2005, and then as president in 2005. A royal decree was issued in December 2011 to appoint him minister of Haj. He also served a stint as minister of culture and information, the publication reported.

 86pc gunny bags distributed in Multan so far

MULTAN (APP):  About 86 percent gunny bags have been distributed so far in the district. This was stated by District Food Controller Muhammad Aslam Dhool while talking to APP here on Saturday. He said 227,000 metric tons wheat procurement target had been fixed for the district, adding that 70 percent target has also been achieved so far. He said five percent gunny bags quota was being offered to growers on daily basis while May 24 was last date for the distribution of gunny bags. He said wheat procurement process would continue by June 1 and they had received no complaint about any mismanagement at any wheat procurement centre so far.

Aslam said 16 wheat procurement centres were set up across the district where wheat was being procured on first come, first get basis.

 Farmers advised to complete BT cotton today

MULTAN (APP): Agri department urged farmers to ensure cultivation of BT cotton by May 15 for getting good production. The BT cotton should be cultivated in keeping view of different things including proper understanding of soil, resources, and experiences of previous years, said Agriculture Information AD Naveed Asmat. He stressed upon farmers to cultivate recommended varieties of cotton only. At least 10pc non-BT cotton must be cultivated along with BT cotton so that attacker pests should not be able to develop any sort of resistance.  For weak soil, the agriculture expert stated that 180Kg of Nitrogen, 58Kg of phosphorus, 38Kg Potassium, while for moderate soil, 80Kg Nitrogen, 35Kg Phosphorus, and 38Kg potassium should be utilized for good results.

 Cement manufacturers seek tax relief in FY2016-17

ISLAMABAD (APP): Cement manufacturers have demanded the government here on Saturday to cut taxes in upcoming fiscal Year (FY) 2016-17 federal budget and to take steps to eradicate smuggling of the product. Pakistan is self-sufficient in production of cement as over 30 million tons production is recorded annually out of which around 7m tons is exported. Cement Manufacturers Association’s President, Muhammad Ali Tabba, while talking to a private news channel said, that the government increased duty on coal from one percent to five percent and then to six percent. He said that cement’s production cost for the manufacturers remains unchanged despite revised coal prices due to imposition of different taxes.

Cheaper production cost through reduced coal price would have benefitted the buyers but when taxes come in the picture, instead the price goes up.

According to the manufacturers, cheaper in cost cement is smuggled from neighbor country that damages sales in local market. Current price of a cement bag is stagnated at Rs 525 than previous Rs 500, after addition of taxes despite reduced coal price. It should be mentioned here that growth in number of development projects and increased housing schemes are lifting cement sector’s production by 15 percent every year.

 Oil prices dip after strong rally

NEW YORK (AFP): Oil prices fell late Friday, with analysts saying traders booked profits from the previous day's strong rally ahead of the weekend amid general hope that the oversupply is easing. US oil had hit a six-month high Thursday as the International Energy Agency pointed to the glut easing in the second half of this year. On Friday, OPEC said the oversupply that has sent prices sliding since mid-2014 "may be easing" as a result of reduced output by countries outside the 13-nation oil-producing cartel. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in June closed 49 cents lower at $46.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, however, WTI jumped more than three percent.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for July slipped to $47.83 a barrel, down 25 cents from Thursday but still registering a weekly gain of more than five percent.

The small decline Friday is "just a pullback," said Carl Larry, director of oil and gas for consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

"We probably have a bit of bullish sentiment ahead but people are trying to get flat here as we have a whole week ahead of us," he said.

Larry pointed out that US refinery usage and product demand were higher. He predicted a major drop in US commercial crude inventories this week because of the Canadian oil taken offline amid massive wildfires in Alberta's oil-sands region.

Tim Evans of Citi Futures also noted light profit-taking ahead of the weekend, and said a stronger dollar after a better-than-expected US retail sales report was "also encouraging some selling."