Weekly inflation increases 1.19pc


ISLAMABAD (APP): The weekly inflation for the week ended on March 24 for the combined income groups increased by 1.19 percent as compared to the previous week. According to the data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) for the week under review in the above mentioned group was recorded at 226.46 points against 223.36 points last week. As compared to the corresponding week of last year, the SPI for the combined group in the week under review witnessed increase of 4.82 percent. The weekly SPI has been computed with base 2007, 2008=3D100, covering 17 urban centres and 53 essential items for all income groups and combined. Meanwhile, the SPI for the lowest income group up to Rs8,000 increased by 1.09 percent as it went up from 213.14 points in the previous week to 215.47 points in the week under review. As compared to the last week, the SPI for the income groups from Rs 8001 to 12,000, Rs 12,001 to 18,000, Rs 18,001 to 35,000 and above Rs 35,000, increased by 1.12pc, 1.2pc, 1.21pc and 1.21pc respectively.

During the week under review, average prices of 09 items registered decrease, while 13 items increased with the remaining 31 items' prices unchanged. The items, which registered decrease in their prices during the week under review included pulse gram, garlic, wheat, wheat flour, gur, pulse mash, pulse masoor, pulse moong and red chilly poweder.

The items, which recorded increase in their average prices included tomatoes, eggs, chicken farm, potatoes, onions, mutton, rice basmati broken, cooked beef, LPG cylinder, firewood whole, sugar, vegetable ghee and bananas.

PTDC to initiate Mini Air Safari for tourists


ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) would develop Helipad at Rawal Lake View Point to start mini air safari in Islamabad. Talking to APP, PTDC Managing Director Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor expressed the hope that in near future Pakistan will be one of the top tourists destination of the world. Chaudhry said PTDC is considering participating in international tourism and travel exhibitions in collaboration with provincial tourism organisations, airlines, hoteliers and tour operators which not only creates awareness about Pakistan but also results in increase of tourist influx to the country. "To increase number of rooms in existing PTDC Motels, we have contacted manufacturers of prefabricated structure and soon new rooms will be added in Naran, Ayubia and other prominent motels," he said. The PTDC managing director said that it is need of time that all relevant government and private organisations to join hand for making this industry the major earner for Pakistan.

He said, “In this regard, we have launched many projects that include City Tour Bus Service, making of documentary films, up-gradation of existing facilities as well as setting up new tourism projects in Islamabad and other parts of the country. He further said that 30 kanals of land has been allotted to PTDC for construction of tourist facilities in Naltar.

He said that IT Department will develop an Online Reservation System for PTDC Motels where customers can make their reservation online. Vega will also provide sponsorship for Islamabad City Bus Tour for its decorations.

PEW concerned over high POL prices


ISLAMABAD (INP): The PEW on Sunday said prices of petroleum products in the country are far more than the international market which is hurting masses and every segment of the economy. Petroleum prices can be reduced if FBR starts taxing nobility which will automatically reduce pressure on the poor masses, it said. The government has no other option but to heavily tax the petroleum imports, which is chocking the economic growth, said PEW President Dr Murtaza Mughal. He said that all the important petroleum products are attracting double digit taxation which has penalised the masses. Situation can take a positive turn if corruption is reduced in the tax administration, he added. Last year, the consumers of diesel paid Rs29.57 as GST on every litre while they paid Rs6 on every litre in form of petroleum levy which had a very negative impact on economy as diesel is the most popular fuel. Consumers paid Rs15.22 on every litre of petrol as GST, Rs13.18 on every litre of kerosene oil and Rs12.21 on every litre of light diesel which help the government to earn billions of rupees.

Govt asked to settle circular debt immediately


ISLAMABAD (INP): The government should immediately settle issue of circular debt otherwise it will leave PSO bankrupt disrupting import of oil and gas which will damage economy and reverse all the economic gains, a business leader said here on Sunday. Disruption in the energy supply chain will have a very negative impact on masses, industry and agriculture therefore the issue should be resolved on priority, said ICCI former president Atif Ikram Sheikh. In a statement issued here today, he said that the government is reluctant to clear the debt because it will widen the fiscal deficit which is against the national interests. Sheikh said that the government settled circular debt worth Rs480 billion on 2013 and claimed that it will never resurface again which proved otherwise. He noted that now circular debt has resurfaced with the government claiming it to be at Rs393 billion while private power producers say that it is Rs414 billion. Power producers are not paid therefore they are unable to pay Rs 274 billion to PSO on account of oil purchase.

Therefore, PSO is unable to pay Rs 63 billion to oil and LNG suppliers of Kuwait and Qatar who can stop supplies any time. He said that the situation is grim but the finance ministry is not ready to pay more than Rs 6 billion which is nothing more than a joke.

Authorities should review the policy of keeping the issue of circular debt alive worrying that settling it will damage their efforts to keep fiscal deficit in limits, he demanded.