Meeting analyses telecom policy implementation

ISLAMABAD (INP): Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has started analyzing the Telecommunication Policy 2015 recently released by Ministry of IT&T after approval from Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on December 11, 2015. To review in detail Sections of the Telecom Policy, a meeting of different divisions of PTA was held at PTA Headquarters on Monday with chairman PTA, Dr. Syed Ismail Shah and Member (Finance) Mr. Tariq Sultan in chair. Participants of the meeting appreciated the role of MoIT in drafting a comprehensive Policy while keeping in view different aspects concerning the stakeholders. During the meeting, role of PTA in implementing the Sections of Policy and strategy for the same was discussed.

Tasks were assigned to PTA Divisions for preparatory work in this regard. It was decided that follow up review meetings will be held to assess progress on the assigned tasks.

Govt urged to announce special package for Hyderabad traders

HYDERABAD (APP): Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) urged the government to announce special package for Hyderabad as they could get maximum benefits from GSP Plus extended by European Union. Member, HCCI, Qayoom Nusrat said this while talking to APP here. “The GSP Plus is good opportunity where relief on duty has been extended by EU to support the economy of Pakistan” he said. It is the best opportunity to exploit its benefits by Hyderabad business community like others but there is a need of support of government, he said. Textile sector is getting more benefits from this scheme, there are six units in Hyderabad, eight in Kotri and 15 units in Nooriabad, Nursrat said.

Production of those units could be enhanced, if the government extended more support, he said.

Besides, due share from Export development fund should be provided for uplift of infrastructure and other support of Hyderabad business community, he added.

He appealed government to extend all possible support in this regard to the business community.

Construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam to start next year

ISLAMABAD (Online): The construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam, one of the most important energy projects of the country, will start next year. The land acquisition process for the project has been finalized with a cost of 104 billion rupees. According to media reports, the project likely to be part of second phase of CPEC is lifeline for Pakistan as it will not only generate 4500 MW of electricity, but also serve as a huge water reservoir for the country. After a decade, the country is expected to face acute shortage of water so in order to prevent food scarcity this project will be developed at all costs. This determination was expressed by Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal at a recently held meeting to review the project.

Reports said the government assigns the highest priority to Bhasha Dam because a serious water crisis is looming in next five to ten years which will be much bigger than electricity crisis.

The foundation stone of Diamer-Bhasha Dam, a gravity dam on the River Indus in Gilgit-Baltistan, was laid on October 18, 2011, but no progress was made on it in the past.

The Bhasha dam ground-breaking ceremonies were held twice by two different chief executives, first by General Musharraf and then by premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, but the authorities have failed to move an inch from the land acquisition.

The Diamer-Bhasha Dam project is located on Indus River about 315 km upstream of Tarbela Dam, 165 km downstream of Northern Areas capital Gligit and 40 km downstream of Chilas.

Govt released over Rs248b for

developmental projects

ISLAMABAD (APP): The government has released over Rs 248.145 billion for different social sector developmental projects under PSDP 2015-16 as against the total allocation of Rs 700 billion. According to latest data released by the Planning Commission of Pakistan, government has released Rs 29.316 billion for infrastructure and development projects under National Highway Authority (NHA) as compared to the total allocation of Rs 159 billion for FY 2015-16. Under PSDP Rs 53.788 billion has been released for WAPDA and other power sector projects as against the total allocation of Rs 112.288 billion for current fiscal year to overcome the shortage of energy in the country.

Meanwhile, a sum of Rs.11.774 billion has been released for Water and Power Division (WAPDA) water sector projects for building the mega water reservoirs as compared to total allocations of Rs. 30.120 billion in federal PSDP 2015-16.

About Rs. 18.692 billion has been released for Higher Education Commission as compared to the total allocation of Rs 31.100 billion for the year 2015-16.

So far, the government has released Rs 5.959 billion for different projects of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission as against the total allocation of Rs 30.408 billion for fiscal year 2015-16.

A sum of Rs. 7.810 billion has been released for uplift and improvement of the services of Railways Division as government had earmarked Rs 41 billion for the development of Pakistan Railways.

Under PSDP 2015-16, a sum of Rs 8.123 billion has released for different projects of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Division as against Rs 20.701 billion earmarked for current fiscal year.

The government has released Rs. 624.912 million for National Food Security and Research Division, Rs 420 million for Science and Technical research Division and 100 million for SPARCO respectively.

Under PSDP, 2015-16 an amount of Rs 4.689 billion has released for Azad Jammu and Kashmir block and other projects as against the total allocation of Rs 13.300 billion for current fiscal year while Rs 10.378 billion has released for the development of Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA) and SAFRON where as government has allocated Rs 19.700 billion for fiscal year 2015-16 for uplift of these areas.

The government has also released Rs 20 billion for Pakistan Millennium Development Goals and community development programmes aiming at to achieve proper human development index by improving the standards of life in the country.

According to the details, government has so far released Rs 70.231 billion for the developmental projects under different federal ministries and Rs 83.104 billion for corporations.

The government has released Rs 52.600 billion for Temporary Displaced Persons (TDPs) and security enhancement under current year’s development programme for the rehabilitations of TDPs.

LCCI to continue facilitating

business community

LAHORE (APP): LCCI will continue to play role as facilitator for the business community and leave no stone unturned for early solution of the issues being faced by the trade and industry. LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad and Vice President Nasir Saeed expressed these views while speaking at the meeting of Standing Committee of Trade & Market Associations here at the Lahore Chamber on Monday. Convener of the Standing Committee Mujahid Maqsood Butt also spoke on the occasion. Sheikh Arshad said that LCCI was taking up the issue of traders at all forums and it is also in continuous liaison with the govt on the issue of withholding tax on banking transactions and this issue is to be resolved soon.

He also urged the Federal Board of Revenue to stop conducting raids on the business premises as these are creating unrest among business community, adding that businessmen should be given due facilitation and for the purpose, the LCCI would continue to play its role proactively.

He added, “The LCCI is working on various economic fronts and will forward a set of comprehensive recommendations to the government for revival of economic activities in the country in general and in the province of Punjab in particular.”

The LCCI President said the Lahore Chamber had already started spade work to this regard and fast holding meetings with trade and industrial associations to gather the challenges being faced by them and their impact on economic activities.

He said, Federal Board of Revenue would not be able to achieve its revenue target without providing a business-friendly atmosphere to the business doing people.

While, Nasir Saeed said that during their meetings with a number of trade and industry associations, they came across quite a few issues that could be resolved only through facilitation to the business community.

He said that problems like traffic mess, encroachments, infrastructure development and law and order need to be tackled on urgent basis as these are hampering the business activities.

He mentioned that Lahore Chamber had already appealed to the government for the simplification of taxation procedures and expansion in the tax net.

He said that business community believes that Pakistani merchandise were best of the best in the world but fast losing their due place in the international market because of high input cost in Pakistan.

Proposals would also be incorporated in the LCCI recommendations as to how costs could be curtailed in Pakistan without any loss to the revenue.