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EU plans to spend €50mn in Pakistan for vocational...

September 17, 2021: Mr. Ovidiu Mic, Head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation to Pakistan, has visited FPCCI Head Office in Karachi.

The delegation expressed his satisfaction over the successful completion of more than three years of Sectoral Support Program (SSP) under Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) initiatives in collaboration with FPCCI.

These programs are being implemented by National Vocational & Technical Training Commission (NAVTCC) Pakistan & GIZ (Germany); and, also supported by the Norwegian Government.

Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo, President FPCCI, said that he is proud of FPCCI and NAVTCC for playing an instrumental role in TVET-SSP and efficiently facilitating the training programs to educate and train the youth of Pakistan.

Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo added that he wants to see TVET-SSP to expand to additional sectors and other cities of Pakistan to benefit more SMEs and Women Entrepreneurs across Pakistan. He also expressed his desire to see TVET-SSP continuing beyond 2021 and reach out to 90 million smartphone users of Pakistan to maximize the gains it can offer.

Mr. Ovidiu Mic informed the audience that starting from January 2022, EU plans to spend up to 50 million Euros in Pakistan for vocational education & training programs across Pakistan in various cities and sectors. He apprised the audience that agriculture, textiles, SMEs and ICT will get more programs as these sectors can potentially create millions of jobs in Pakistan. He added that EU is keen to help the unskilled workforce of Pakistan attain new skills and become productive employees for Pakistani businesses and beyond.

Mr. Sultan Rehman, Coordinator FPCCI Head Office, in his message, said reactivation of FPCCI-GIZ Joint Secretariat is the highlight of FPCCI’s performance in 2021.

Mr. Salman Haroon, Convener FPCCI’s Central Standing Committee on TVET, handed over books – based on TVET-SSP training programs – to the dignitaries.

Top leadership of the organizations and companies that have benefited and participated in TVET-SSP programs of EU also attended the meeting and shared their experiences with the programs and how those skill development programs have helped them acquire the required skilled human resources for their organizations.

Press Release

Govt to increase ratio of hydel electricity in National...

September 17, 2021: Water Resources Federal Minister Moonis Elahi visited WAPDA House yesterday, therein he was briefed about the development portfolio of WAPDA and the progress achieved so far on water and hydropower projects.

Speaking on the occasion, the Federal Minister said that harnessing the water resources is a key to national development. That is why, the Federal Government is constructing water and hydropower projects in the country to improve water situation and increase the ratio of hydel electricity in the National Grid for providing low-cost energy to stabilize the economy and provide relief to the people, he added.

The Federal Minister, appreciated WAPDA for implementing a mammoth development portfolio and expressed the hope that WAPDA would be able to complete these projects according to their timelines. He further said that Water Resources Ministry would play its due role in completion of WAPDA Projects on time.

Earlier WAPDA Chairman Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain (Retd), giving a run-down of the development activities, said that WAPDA is constructing more than 10 Projects in water and hydropower sectors under ‘Decade of Dams’. These projects, including Diamer Basha Dam, Mohmand Dam, Dasu Hydropower Project, Nai Gaj Dam, Sindh Barrage and K-IV Project are scheduled to be completed one by one by 2028-29.

On completion of these projects, gross water storage capacity will increase from 13 MAF to more than 24 MAF with an addition of 11.7 MAF, sufficient to irrigate another 1.6 Million Acres of land and provide 950 million gallons per day for drinking purpose to Karachi and Peshawar. The installed hydel generation capacity will be doubled to cross 18000 MW with an addition of 9000 MW. These projects will also provide about 35,000 job opportunities during the construction, the Chairman said

WAPDA Member (Finance) Naveed Asghar briefed the Minister of WAPDA’s financial strategy to arrange funds for construction of its projects. Member (Water) Abdul Zahir Khan Durrani apprised the Minister about the water sector projects, while Member (Power) Jamil Akhtar informed about WAPDA hydel power situation. General Manager (HRD) Brig (Rtd) Shoaib Taqi highlighted the measures being taken by WAPDA to make its human resource more efficient in line with modern human resource techniques.

Water Resources Joint Secretary Syed Mehar Ali Shah, WAPDA MD (Admin) Khalid Saleem, WAPDA Secretary Fakharuzzaman Ali Cheema and PSO to Chairman WAPDA Brig (Retd) Mateen Ahmed Mirza also attended the briefing.

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Fitch revises down World GDP 2021 to 6%

September 17, 2021 (MLN): World GDP is expected to grow by 6% in 2021, slower than the 6.3% growth forecast in the June Global Economic Outlook (GEO), says Fitch Ratings in its latest Global Economic Outlook (GEO).

Fitch noted that the supply constraints are limiting the pace of recovery.  

A credit rating agency has revised down the US 2021 GDP forecast to 6.2% from 6.8% in June. A greater share of demand growth is being reflected in price increases and US inflation forecasts have been revised up again.

The global economic recovery is still proceeding rapidly but it is hitting speed limits, it said.

Fitch has also lowered China’s forecast, to 8.1% from 8.4%, as the property slowdown weighs on domestic demand. Forecasts for some other Asian economies have also been revised down following a pick-up in coronavirus cases and renewed restrictions. However, Fitch has revised up eurozone 2021 growth to 5.2% from 5.0%. Poland, Turkey, Mexico, Russia and South Africa have also seen forecast upgrades.

An unprecedented boom in consumer demand for durable goods has stretched the capacity of global suppliers. Supply bottlenecks are curbing the rate of output expansion and creating near-term inflationary pressures.

“These pressures should ease significantly in 2022 as demand growth moderates and supply responds. But price pressures are shifting the tone of the policy debate. Fiscal and monetary policy support for growth will start to wane next year,” said Brian Coulton, Fitch Ratings’ Chief Economist.

The boom in demand for consumer durable goods has been so strong that supply was unable to keep pace. The global semiconductor market has proved to be a key bottleneck given the heavy electronics component of durables demand. Supplier delays for US manufacturers have reached levels last seen in the 1970s. Car production has been affected by component shortages. Goods scarcities look likely to persist well into 2022.

With regards to labour shortages, the reports have also become much more widespread since the spring and have been reflected, for instance, in business survey responses and surging unfilled vacancies.

The report noted that the progress with vaccine rollout is limiting the impact of renewed increases in Covid-19 cases on economic activity in Europe and the US. But virus dynamics are influencing growth more heavily where vaccination rates remain lower. The pandemic is still constraining labour supply.

The above-mentioned supply constraints have generated inflation pressures that are proving more intense and durable than anticipated in the June GEO. These go well beyond rising commodity prices and are most evident in global and, in particular, US goods price inflation.

The cost of processed inputs for US firms is rising at its fastest rate for 40 years. Higher costs have been passed onto consumers, with US core CPI inflation at its highest rate since the early 1990s. Goods price inflation should recede next year, but gradually rising US services inflation will prevent US core inflation falling below 3% by the end-2022. Inflation pressures are less intense in other advanced economies, but end-2021 CPI forecasts have been revised up widely, the report highlighted.

Inflation pressures are influencing the policy debate. Central banks have emphasized the likelihood that the current rise in the rate of inflation will be temporary, but recent surprises on inflation have changed the tone of the macro policy debate. The Fed is now expected to start tapering asset purchases this November. This is a few months earlier than Fitch expected in the June GEO. It is likely that the Fed will see its threshold of “substantial progress” towards restoring full employment achieved by October. The tapering is expected to last just under a year.

Fitch now anticipates two Fed hikes in 2023.

The Bank of England is also now expected to hike rates in 2023 and emerging-market (EM) monetary policy has seen a rapid about-turn. Peak global fiscal stimulus is behind us. Furlough schemes in Europe are being unwound.

The report said that deleveraging dynamics in the property sector are weighing on China’s recovery. The macro policy is starting to be recalibrated but slower housing activity will take a toll on domestic demand and global commodity markets. Challenges to the EM growth outlook for 2022 are starting to build.

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Pakistan, Kazakhstan agree to strengthen bilateral relation

September 17, 2021: Prime Minister Imran Khan had a bilateral meeting with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan on the sidelines of the SCO Council of Heads of State meeting in Dushanbe yesterday.

The two leaders exchanged views on bilateral relations and discussed key regional and international issues. The leaders affirmed the commitment to enhance Pakistan-Kazakhstan relations in diverse fields particularly trade, investment and transportation links.

The Prime Minister underlined that Pakistan was resolved to comprehensively upgrade engagement with Central Asian countries through its “Vision Central Asia” policy. The Prime Minister particularly emphasized the importance of connectivity and Pakistan’s pivotal position in providing the shortest access route to the sea. The Prime Minister also highlighted the significance of Trans-Afghan railway project connecting Termez-Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Jalalabad-Peshawar

The Prime Minister also elaborated his vision of socio-economic development and shifting country’s priority from geo-politics to geo-economics. To promote regional integration, they also decided to enhance connectivity through land and air routes.

The Prime Minister also underscored the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan for Pakistan and the region. He stressed that the international community had to remain engaged to support the Afghan people, to address urgent humanitarian needs, and take steps to stabilize the economy. The Prime Minister stressed that sustainable peace and security in Afghanistan would contribute to regional peace, connectivity and progress. 

The two leaders agreed to increase the frequency of high-level political exchanges. The Prime Minister renewed the invitation to President Tokayev to visit Pakistan. President Tokayev extended invitation to the Prime Minister to visit Kazakhstan.

Press Release

Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves reach $27.06bn

September 17, 2021: The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at US$27,064.9 million on 10-September-2021.

The break-up of the foreign reserves position is as under:

  • Foreign reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan: US$20,022.7 million
  • Net foreign reserves held by commercial banks        : US$7,042.2 million
  • Total liquid foreign reserves                                       : US$27,064.9 million

During the week ended 10-September-2021, SBP reserves remained unchanged at US$20,022.7 million.

Press Release

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