SC seeks report on Pakistanis property in UAE

ISLAMABAD, Sep 19: Supreme Court on Wednesday sought report from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) within 15 days, in connection with  the 2,700 property acquired by Pakistanis in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar passed the directions while hearing the suo motu case on assets owned by Pakistani nationals in foreign countries.

During the course of proceedings, Director General FIA Bashir Memon apprised the bench regarding property in the UAE and asked for a month’s time to submit a full report.

Attorney General, informed the court that the United Kingdom and Pakistan had launched a partnership which aimed to track corruption and restart the bilateral transfer of prisoners. He further informed that 44 hawala/hundi businessmen had been arrested and raids were being conducted in Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and various other cities.

The Chief Justice remarked that according to Section 183 of Article 4 of the Constitution, we must take action against money launderers in the public interest.

The top judge instructed AG to submit progress report regarding measures taken to curb smuggling money through the hawala/hundi system.

Meanwhile, addressing the Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Tariq Bajwa, Justice Nisar said, “We have high hopes from you but we are not receiving the desired results. You will have to present us with a solution.

To this Bajwa said, the government was legislating and amending old laws, adding that declarations signed with foreign governments would facilitate in bringing back stolen money from abroad.

According to an information, "Pakistanis have property worth Rs1,000 billion in the UAE a task force can be used to summon all these property holders if the government desires to do so,” said Justice Nisar.


KSE-100 Index to be Re-composed from Oct 1st 2018

The Pakistan Stock Exchange announced that it had carried out the re-composition exercise of KSE-100 Index Companies for the review period March 2018 to August 2018, as per its Re-Composition Rules for KSE 100 Index.

The following companies will be affected as a result of the re-composition:

KSE100 Re-Composition Summary

Incoming Outgoing Reason
Gatron (Industries) Limited Ibrahim Fibres Limited Sector Based Rule
Shakarganj Limited JDW Sugar Mills Limited Sector Based Rule
Byco Petroleum Pakistan Limited Crescent Steel & Allied Products Limited Market Capitalization Based Rule
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited Jahangir Siddiqui & Co. Limited Market Capitalization Based Rule
Aisha Steel Mills Limited Nishat Power Limited Market Capitalization Based Rule

The Complete revised list of KSE100 Companies can be viewed here

The changes in the KSE-100 index will be implemented w.e.f. Monday, October 01, 2018.


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PM calls on King Salman; discusses bilateral trade, investment

IISLAMABAD, Sept 19: Prime Minister Imran Khan called on King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at the Royal Court in Jeddah and discussed matters of mutual interest, bilateral trade, investment and stronger economic ties, a statement from the PM Office said here Wednesday.

Upon arrival he was presented a salute by the Royal Saudi guards and national anthems of the two countries were played. This is the first foreign trip of Imran Khan to any country after assuming charge as prime minister of Pakistan. The two-day visit is on the invitation from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.

The prime minister will also hold wide-ranging talks with the King and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, who also holds the portfolios of Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense. The king will also host a state banquet for the prime minister at the Royal Court.

Soon after his arrival on Tuesday Prime Minister Imran Khan paid his respects at the Roza-e-Rasool (PBUH) and later performed Umrah. Doors of the Holy Kaaba and the Roza-e-Rasool (PBUH) were specially opened for the prime minister and members of his delegation.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain  and Adviser for Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood accompanied the prime minister. Pakistan's ambassador to Saudi Arabia Hasham bin Siddique, Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki also attended the meeting.


Net Selling in Capital Markets via SCRA falls by...

As per the data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Specially Convertible Rupee Accounts (SCRA), foreign investors remained net sellers at the capital markets during the week ending September 14, 2018.

During the week under review, the net sale of securities dropped by around 14% on a week-on-week basis, as it has been recorded at Rs.1.4 billion against a net selling worth Rs.1.6 billion reported during the week before.

On the whole, the sale of securities by foreign investors decreased by 60% or Rs.6.4 billion over the previous week after being recorded at Rs.4.3 billion compared to Rs10.729 billion a week before, while the purchase of securities by foreign investors also decreased by 68%, or Rs.6.2 million after being recorded at Rs.2.9 billion compared to Rs.9.1 billion during the week before.

Special Convertible Rupee Accounts cater to the needs of non-resident investors, who wish to trade freely in the shares quoted on the Stock Exchange of Pakistan.

Operation of SCRA accounts is up to an extent of remittances received from abroad or by transfer from a Foreign Currency Account maintained by non-resident investors in Pakistan.

The balance available therein can be used for purchase of any shares quoted on the country’s secondary markets i.e. Pakistan Stock Exchange. The disinvestment proceeds against the sale of previously purchased shares through SCRA can be credited in this account, in addition to dividend income against the shares held by non-resident investors.

The funds available in such accounts can be transferred outside Pakistan or credited to a foreign currency account of non-resident investor maintained in Pakistan at any time without prior approvals of the State Bank of Pakistan.

According to the latest statement issued by SBP, remittances coming into the SCRA account stood at Rs824 million, while those leaving the account were recorded at Rs.2.8 billion. Compared to the prior week ending on August 31, 2018, remittances coming into the SCRA accounts by September 14th fell by Rs.1.3 billion from the week before while those leaving the SCRA accounts, fell by Rs.2.7 billion.

Income from dividends credited into the SCRA account stood at Rs.184 million, compared to Rs.415 million a week earlier.

Closing position of SCRA accounts were reported at Rs.25.4 billion, down from the Rs.25.8 billion reported a week before.

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Pakistan’s Current Account deficit widens by 10% in July-Aug

September 19, 2018 (MLN): Pakistan’s Current Account deficit for the two months of the current fiscal year has widened by almost ten percent to $2.72 billion compared to $2.48 billion in the corresponding period of the prior fiscal, according to the State Bank of Pakistan.

Current account deficit during the month of August has on a positive note, fallen down to $600 million, compared to a deficit of $2.17 billion in the month before, i.e. July 2018.

As per figures released by the State Bank on Wednesday, Balance on Trade in Goods and Services has expanded to $6.625 billion in these two months, compared to $5.988 billion in the same period last year.

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Tile Manufacturers express dismay over gas price hike

September 19, 2018 (MLN): All Pakistan Ceramic Tiles Manufacturers Association (APCTMA) in a statement issued on Wednesday pleaded the government to withdraw the increase in gas price as it will make locally produced tiles uncompetitive in the local and global markets and will lead to thousands of jobs losses in the sector.

Spokesman of APCTMA said that the tile industry is in the revival phase and expects relief measures from the government against the difficulties of rising energy prices, high tax rates, extremely low Import Trade Price (ITP) of imported tiles from China in addition to massive inflow of smuggled tiles from Iran.

He urged Finance Minister Asad Umar and Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan to take back increase in natural gas tariff. Gas price for general industrial and captive power plants has been increased by 30 percent from Rs. 600 to Rs. 780 per mmbtu.

According to APCTMA, the government’s announcement on raising the prices of gas will have a negative impact on the direct and indirect employment of over 50,000 people in the local tiles industry. It said that the government decision will stall the growth in the construction sector which is booming on the back of rapid urbanization and other construction activities of large malls, office buildings and apartments across the country thus making all the efforts of employment generation a futile exercise.

In addition, he warned that the gas tariff increase will also halt all the expansion and investment projects of the industry which will also hurt the transfer of technology and the creation of a skilled labour base and vendor industry in the country. The industry intends to invest in capacity enhancement, to further increase its production in order to meet demand, if the government supports the local industry, he said.

The Association also said that the local tile industry is producing quality products that are comparable to top global tiles manufacturers, hence contributing towards a big opportunity for employment generation in the country.

Despite losses incurred by local manufacturer as declared in the prior financial statements of public listed companies, the local industry is continuously contributing to the national exchequer in the form of sales tax, import duties and other taxes, he said.

He said that industry has already been hit by huge influx of smuggled tiles and imports at lower valuation, which capture approximately over 40 percent of the country’s tile market of nearly Rs. 80 billion while domestic manufacturers continue to suffer owing to their higher production costs and uneven competition from cheaper imported products. Increase in gas prices will badly hamper the sales and profitability of local tile industry and will further intensify the share of imported tiles.

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Khusro Bakhtiar calls for enhanced cooperation with World Bank

September 19, 2018 (MLN): Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, on Wednesday, called for enhanced cooperation with the World Bank on issues such as energy, infrastructure, water, education and health while speaking to a delegation led by the Country Director of World Bank Mr. Patchamuthu Illangovan.

The minister lauded the role of the World Bank in modernizing infrastructure and supporting various development initiatives in Pakistan, adding that the cooperation further needed to be expanded in the education, health, water, energy and infrastructure especially in the underdeveloped areas of the country.

The minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar maintained that the PTI government under the leadership of PM Imran Khan was committed to take the necessary measures to eradicate poverty and provide more education and health care facilitates to the country’s citizens.

 Minister said that the government has special focus on underdeveloped areas across the country and stated that the government is working on plans for low cost housing for the common man.

Makhdoim Khusto Bakhtiar also informed the delegation about the government’s vision of restructing the public sector and improving the government’s performance for more efficient service delivery.

The delegation appreciated the present government’s commitment of increasing the quality of life of its people with a special focus on human development and assured its support on the development projects in different sectors.

The meeting was also attended by Secretary Planning Mr. Zafar Hassan, Member Infrastructure Ahmad Khan and other ministry officials.

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Unity Foods reports Rs 121.5 million in annual profits

September 19, 2018 (MLN):  Unity Foods Limited (UNITY), formerly engaged in the manufacture and sale of yarn under the name Taha Spinning Mills Limited, has reported annual profits worth Rs 121.5 million during the year ended June 30th 2018.

According to the company’s annual financial results that were reviewed, finalized and issued on the Pakistan Stock Exchange by the Company’s Board of Directors on September 19, 2018 the company reported sales worth Rs 2.78 billion, while the firm’s gross profits stood at Rs 248 million after accounting for the Rs 2.5 billion incurred as the cost of sales.

The company also incurred expenses during the year of Rs 132.5 million, comprising Rs 55.59 million in distribution and selling expenses, Rs 55 million as administrative expenses and Rs 21.84 million as other operating expenses, leading to an operating profit for the year of about Rs 149.6 million.

After taking into account Finance costs worth Rs 51.84 million, the company earned pretax profits worth Rs 97.79 million. The company also received tax reversals worth Rs 23.7 million, increasing the company’s after-tax profits by exactly that amount.

Basic and diluted earnings per share for the year were reported at Rs 1.18 per share.

The Board of Directors of the company have also recommended a final cash dividend at Rs 0.5 per share, i.e. 5 percent.

Unity Foods Ltd. is an agri-business company, with principal activities that entails the entire value chain from the procurement and crushing of multiple oil seeds. 

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Fast mobile broadband, more employment and investment after 5G

September 19, 2018: A new technological era has prevailed across the globe and every country is trying best to keep enhancing technological advancements and capture Information Technology market share which has a value of worth $12 trillion.

Advanced nations are now engaged in a technological trade tussle and trying to become a world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. The advanced countries had invested and are spending billions of Dollars in technology including next generation 5G which ensures to download a large size of data within minutes or even seconds. It will give a boost to driver-less car technology and will help to fulfill a dream of shifting scattered cities into smart cities.

China has been investing a great number of dollars in Pakistan under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

On the initiative of land-based connectivity, optical fiber cable is linked between two countries.

A Chinese company may lead Pakistan to its first ever 5G technology. However, 5G is more expensive than 4G. Therefore, the future government may have to work hard to introduce it in its full spirit as next evolution comes in form of 5G that will offer attractive data rates and more than that the fastest speed ever.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is going to launch 5G standards in 2019 and on the whole, a vast number of trials and experiments already being held in different parts of the world including Pakistan.

Zong and Telenor might be the first companies to introduce 5G. Up to a point, Zong also introduced 4G service in Pakistan before any other company. The company also requested Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to take permission for the testing.

The question arises how 5G will be different from its preceding generations and when, what of 5G for Pakistan is still unclear. The most publicized aspect of 5G is the introduction of new frequency spectrums, broadly categorized into frequency range 1 (FR-1) and range 2 (FR-2).

Recent 5G trails conducted abroad have already demonstrated the speed of 9.3 Gbps over 24 GHz spectrum, nearly 10 times faster than the theoretical maximum data rate for 4G.

When contacted, official sources said policy directives for test and development of technologies for fifth generation (5G) wireless networks in Pakistan has been issued last year which would be implemented by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

The next generation mobile services (3G/4G) are continuously gaining momentum in Pakistan since their launch in mid-2014 while the demand for data services is growing along with the subscriber base which has crossed 58.56 million with tele-density of 28.08 during last five years. The Basic Telephony subscriber reached three million with 1.30 per cent tele-density while on other hand the number of cellular subscribers crossed 151 million by end of August this year.

The official said 4G network roll-outs continued across the country.

Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui has also hinted introduction of 5th Generation (5G) service from next year to attract foreign investment.

"We need to introduce more innovative services in mobile broadband arena not only to facilitate the consumers but also attract precious foreign investment and meet modern requirements," said the Minister.

The Minister had said, "The world is changing very swiftly and to compete with other nations we need to adopt new technologies." He hoped that keeping in view of importance IT sector in Pakistan foreign companies would approach themselves to launch the modern 5G service.

As per operator-wise data issued by PTA regarding number of 3G and 4G subscribers, Mobilink Jazz's total count for 3G users stood at 15.04 million by August 2018, as compared to 14.54 million by January 2018. Jazz 4G user numbers jumped from 2.23 by January 2018 to 5.07 million by Aug 2018.

Zong 3G subscribers decreased to 9.03 million by August 2018, from 9.08 million in January 2018, while number of 4G users jumped from 5.07 million by January end to 8.13 million by Aug 2018.

The number of 3G users of Telenor decreased from 10.75 million in January 2018 to 10.21 million by August 2018. The number of 4G users jumped from 1.88 million in January 2018 to 3.59 million by August 2018.

Ufone's total 3G subscribers reached 7.47 million by end of August 2018 as they were 6.630 million in January 2018.

It is imperative that we should remain proactive in ensuring market readiness for the next wave of mobile communications i.e. 5G which would open a new arena for smart devices and ensure employment and investment opportunities in Pakistan during coming years.

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China’s crude oil futures attract worldwide participation

September 19, 2018: China's crude oil futures, the first futures variety on the Chinese mainland open to overseas investment, have attracted worldwide interest, exchange data showed Wednesday.

"So far, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE) has approved the filings of 32 overseas agencies to provide brokerage services for overseas investors, with three others still waiting approval," according to Li Hui, vice general manager of the Shanghai Futures Exchange, INE's parent company.  "Those brokerage agencies have helped investors from Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States and Britain process trading of crude oil futures."

Currently, crude oil futures held by overseas investors account for about 15 percent of the exchange total.

"The INE crude oil futures have played a preliminary role in pricing and settlement, as the futures have been used as benchmark prices of some long-term crude oil supply contracts denominated and settled in yuan," Li said.

The futures contracts were launched in March 2018 in Shanghai in a move to further open up the financial sector.

By Aug. 30, the combined turnover of the crude oil futures stood at nearly 11 million lots (1,000 barrels per lot), with a total value of 5.34 trillion yuan (about 779 billion U.S. dollars).

The value of daily turnover averages about 49 billion yuan, with the maximum daily amount topping 108.65 billion yuan, according to the INE data.

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