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SIDCL receives 1st batch of 40 Green Line Buses

September 19, 2021: Federal Minister of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives Asad Umer, while attending the event at Karachi Port regarding fleet delivery for Green Line BRTS buses stated that Federal Government has achieved another milestone as part of the Prime Minister’s Karachi Transformation Package (KTP).

He further stated that Green Line BRTS is a modern technology-based transport system comprising a 22 km dedicated Corridor aimed at providing easier mobility and facilitating daily ridership of 135,000 passengers per day. 

He informed that a comprehensive Command and Control Centre had been established for the projects including Green Line, Orange Line, etc. The second consignment of 40 more buses expected to reach in October, and the Green Line would be made operational by the end of November. He said that the Green Line was the first state-of-the-art project, which was being introduced to the city with 20.5 kilometre long corridor. A bus depot had been built for 80 buses whereas 22 bus stations had been completed.

Mr. Imran Ismail, Governor Sindh appreciated the efforts made by Sindh Infrastructure Development Co. Ltd (SIDCL) ensuring completion of Green Line project within its timelines. The dedicated Corridor serves some of Karachi’s most populated areas, namely Surjani Town to Gurumandir and Numaish Chowrangi (Phase 1).  While Phase 1 goes live in November 2021, Phase 2 (terminating at Municipal Park) is scheduled for late 2022.

Mr. Nadeem Lodhi, CEO SIDCL explained to the audience that the underlying fleet is low entry 18m Articulated Diesel-Hybrid self-charging technology which benefits the environment.  The Fleet is equipped with Modern Intelligent Transport System (ITS) such as Automatic Location System, Real Time Passenger Information, Surveillance Cameras and Auto-doors. The fleet is designed to offer comfortable modular seats, air-conditioning, digital screens and space for advertisement. The Fleet is designed to cater to people with special needs, will also benefit the environment by reducing the use of fossil fuels, limiting emissions & reduced journey time. Post Port clearance, the Fleet will be transported under the supervision of a Chinese technical team to its new home at the dedicated Bus Depot located in Surjani Town. 

Following an intense period of technical reviews, inspection, class room driver training etc, the Fleet will commence training sorties on the Corridor by mid-October. Subsequent to full-fledged User Acceptance Testing (UAT), Green Line commercial operations will commence by end November 2021.

Press Release

Weekly News Roundup

September 19, 2021 (MLN): The highlights of the important economic and business events that took place during the last week are in order so as to become acquainted with the recent developments in Pakistan’s economic and public policy.

  • Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) has appealed concerned authorities to allow those people to pay tax who had declared their assets under the amnesty scheme but could not pay taxes in stipulated time period.
  • During the departed week, Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) approved the summary submitted by the Power Division on the winter incentive package on incremental consumption for all domestic, commercial, and general services consumers of XW- DISCOs and K- Electrics from 1st November 2021 till 28th February 2022.
  • State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has launched a gender mainstreaming policy titled “Banking on Equality: Reducing the Gender Gap in Financial Inclusion.”
  • Pakistan has promising digital future and as an emerging economy, Pakistan is facing both opportunities and challenges, said Dai Xulong, vice-chairman of China Association for International Economic Cooperation (CAFIEC).
  • Managing Director of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) informed that gas crises are likely to continue for one to two more years until the new terminals for RLNG get installed at the Port.
  • Federal Government 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.
  • Prime Minister Imran Khan had a bilateral meeting with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan on the sidelines of the SCO where, the two leaders exchanged views on bilateral relations and discussed key regional and international issues.
  • Meanwhile, Pakistan Mortgage Refinance Company (PMRC) entered into an agreement for the deployment of loan and credit system with AutoSoft Dynamics (Pvt) Limited.
  • On Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan invited the business community of Tajikistan to invest their capital in Pakistan, assuring them of all-out facilitation by his government.
  • National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) approved Modification in Generation Licence No. GL/04/2002 dated November 18, 2002, in respect of K-Electric Limited (KEL).
  • The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved the provision of 70 MMG RLNG to SNGPL based plants (Agritech and Fatima Fertilizer) during Rabi season 2021-22.
  • On the telecom front, Ufone has been awarded Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) spectrum by PTA as a result of the recently held spectrum auction.
  • Based on the success of the Roshan Digital Account framework, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has devised a comprehensive ‘Customers’ Digital Onboarding Framework’.
  • On the energy front, the government has so far released an amount of Rs1.625 billion to execute seven ongoing and six new petroleum-related projects under the Public Sector Development Programme.
  • For the aviation sector, the government released an amount of Rs936.046 million to execute around 17 aviation sector projects under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP 2021-22).
  • The Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) has directed the Power Division to proceed payments to eleven IPPs, under the 2002 Power Policy (PP).
  • The electricity generation by WAPDA hydel power stations crossed over 8800MW during the peak hours last night.
  • During the week, Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) has been awarded the Best Islamic Stock Exchange Award 2021 by Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA).
  • On Tuesday, the Prime Minister directed to focus on the successful completion of the privatization program of public entities by taking all the necessary measures to ensure transparency.
  • Engro Enfrashare has entered into an Islamic syndicate arrangement amounting to Rs4.5billion, led by Meezan Bank and Faysal Bank.
  • The government on Wednesday decided to increase the price of petroleum products by up to Rs6 per litre.
  • In addition, Federal Government assured Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) to get their issues resolved on priority regarding export of perishable commodities.
  • National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited (NCCPL) announced that implementation of approved amendments in the company’s regulations 2015 pertaining to reforms in MFS has been deferred till September 20, 2021.
  • Federal Board of Revenue allowed tax-exempted remittances through international exchange companies, money transfer companies and money services businesses from abroad.

Announcements:

  • On the equity front, Agritech Limited (AGL) informed that Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) has restored gas supply to the company’s urea plant.
  • Nishat Power Limited (NPL) reported consolidated net profits of Rs2.68bn during FY21, depicting a decline of around 45% YoY.
  • The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) announced that it has resumed gas supply to all CNG stations across Sindh, K-Electric, and Sindh Nooriabad Power Company.
  • The Board of Directors of Nishat Power Limited (NPL) recommended the voluntary winding up of Lalpir Solar Power (Private) Limited. 
  • The Pakistan Stock Exchange Limited carried out the Re-Composition exercise of KSE-100 Index Companies for the review period from March 2021 to August 2021.
  • National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited (NCCPL) announced that it will collect capital gain tax (CGT) from clearing members and Pakistan Mercantile Exchange (PMX) for the month of July’21 on September 24, 2021.
  • The Management of the Citi Pharma Limited informed that the agreement has been signed between the company and Deputy Governor Namangan Region, Uzbekistan to establish a wholly owned subsidiary of the company in Uzbekistan.
  • Interloop Limited (ILP) posted 3.5x YoY increase in net profits after tax from Rs1.79billion to Rs6.29bn during FY21.
  • The shares of Searle Pakistan Limited (SPL) may be listed on PSX, up to the maximum extent of 349,010,000 ordinary shares.
  • The management of ADOS Pakistan Limited (ADOS) decided to shift the workplace of the Company from the industrial estate of Hattar to the Industrial Zone of Faisalabad.
  • The Board of Directors of the Nimir Industrial Chemicals Limited (NICL) considered, approved, and recommended a new capital investment of Rs1.250bn for setting up a production facility to manufacture various types of aluminum cans for aerosol products.
  • DG Khan Cement Company Limited (DGKC) reported a profit after tax of Rs4.09bn for FY21, a turnaround from the same period when it suffered a huge loss of Rs2.23bn (LPS:5.05).
  • Bank AL Habib (BAHL) Limited informed that the bank has received State Bank of Pakistan (SBP's) in-principle approval for closure of Bank AL Habib Limited (the Bank) Seychelles Branch Operations.
  • Beco Steel Limited under a new management team has started steel-related operations on a toll manufacturing basis.
  • The Board of Directors of Telecard Limited decided that its subsidiary, Supernet Limited (SNL) may be listed on PSX by offering its shares to the existing shareholders in proportion to their holdings.
  • Hi-Tech Lubricants Limited (HTL) declared net profits of Rs651.49mn for FY21, which was 5.3x higher than the profits of Rs121.6mn reported in the previous fiscal year.
  • The Board of Directors of TPL Properties (TPLP), has given in-principle approval for selling its developmental assets either directly or through SPVs to the REIT Fund to be managed by TPL REIT Management Company Limited.
  • Thall Limited (THALL) posted net profits of Rs5.91bn in FY21, showing an extraordinary growth of 83% YoY when compared to net profits of Rs3.23bn reported in FY20.
     

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Pakistan to adopt a Gender Roadmap to achieve equality

September 19, 2021: A high-level meeting was chaired by the Asad Umar, Minister Planning Development and Special Initiatives in Islamabad on Saturday.

Member Social Sector & Devolution presented the draft gender roadmap which proposed gender integration across all national policies, programs, offices and key management processes. The roadmap is designed to close the gender gap in education and employment, simultaneously empowering the young women to yield a substantive SDG dividend, that can in turn catalyze the economic growth of Pakistan.

The agenda of Gender Development and Equality has been taken up as a national priority by the current Government. The final gender roadmap is a key product emerging from months’ long nation-wide iterative consultations engaging the National Youth Council, academicians, subject experts, national task forces, youth voices from across the globe, government officials and development partners. Several high impact interventions were discussed to mainstream gender across all key priorities.

The packages of high impact strategic interventions were proposed keeping in view the confronting challenges to inform mindful investment in closing the gender gap and creating equitable opportunities for women and girls.

The Minister Asad Umar underscored the importance of gender-transformative workplaces. He desired that a policy framework be developed based on deliberations and rapid research, identifying the current barriers faced by female workers in public and private sector organizations. The key recommendations outlined in the framework should not only guide development of a public sector program but must also be supported by necessary legal instruments to make working environment conducive and progressive for women.

During the meeting, the Minister Planning, Development and Special Initiatives expressed his concern over the rising proportion of out-of-school children following the pandemic globally as well as in Pakistan, sharing the Government’s intent in tackling this challenge as a national priority.

 The Minister highlighted the need for exploiting the e-school experiences from the pandemic and using COVID19 as an opportunity for introducing innovative e-solutions, e-schools and accelerated learning programs for reaching out of school children.

While reviewing the proposed innovative employment generating and skill-building strategies, the Minister advised that the same be reviewed in tandem with the existing interventions under the Kamyab Jawan Programme to consolidate efforts and resources under one umbrella for an optimum impact. The importance of dedicated transport facilities for young females was highlighted for both accessing educational and employment opportunities. The Minister desired for a comprehensive proposal to be presented in this regard in the coming week.

The minister emphasized the national priority accorded to gender empowerment and the urgency to respond to the current situation He asked for the proposed two-year roadmap to be presented before sectoral experts, industry, leaders, and policy think tanks, and their inputs sought while finalizing the same.

Press Release

Amnesty Scheme: ABAD demands to include taxpayers who filed...

September 19, 2021: Chairman Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) Fayyaz Ilyas, terming recent circular issued by Federal Board of Revenue regarding The Asset Declaration Ordinance-2019 (generally known as Amnesty Scheme) an appreciable step, has appealed Prime Minister Imran Khan, Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin and Chairman Federal Board of Revenue Ashfaq Ahmed to allow those people to pay tax who had declared their assets under this scheme but could not pay taxes in stipulated time period.

In a statement, chairman ABAD said that The Assets Declaration Ordinance, 2019 was promulgated on May 14th, 2019, for payment of tax and declaration of corresponding assets by June 30th, 2019 and later on due date was extended till July 3rd, 2019. However, many of the people, who had declared their assets either could not pay tax against their declared assets or paid their due tax but could not submit their declarations, he said adding that the government should give one more chance to all taxpayers in this direction.

He said that the Prime Minister vision for granting Amnesty was to bring all undeclared wealth into book and raise the tax collection but the announcement of FBR to allow those people who had paid taxes under the said amnesty scheme to file their declaration is also a good step but with that all persons who had filed their declaration of assets also should be allowed to pay taxes so that FBR itself can get benefit to get its target of tax collection for this year.

He said that I hope the government will ask the FBR to allow pay taxes to those people who had filed declarations of their assets and give relief to them.

It is to mention that the FBR has decided to allow filing of declarations for all those citizen taxpayers/persons who deposited tax under the Ordinance within the due date i.e. July 3rd, 2019 but could not file their declarations due to any reason. The system has been enabled for the purpose and all taxpayers can now file their declarations between September 10th, 2021 till September 25th, 2021.

Press Release

Weekly Economic Roundup

September 19, 2021 (MLN): The financial highlights of the country are brought to light with the economic and financial data releases over the course of the week.

  • Pakistan’s current account balance (CAB) posted a deficit of $1.47billion in August 2021, compared to a surplus of $225million in the corresponding month last year.
  • Pakistan’s trade deficit in services ballooned by 2.9x YoY to $355 million during August 2021, from a deficit of $123mn recorded in the same month last fiscal year.
  • Foreign direct investment in Pakistan stood at $113.2 million during August’21, showing an increase of 26% MoM against the net inflow of $89.9mn recorded in July’21.
  • Pak Rupee's Real Effective Exchange Rate Index (REER) decreased to a provisional value of 97.4 in August’21 compared to 99.4 in July’21.
  • The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at US$27,064.9 million on 10-September-2021.
  • Imports into Pakistan during August 2021 amounted to Rs. 1,081,961 million (provisional) as against Rs. 889,779 million (provisional) in July 2021 and Rs. 556,064 million during August 2020, showing an increase of 21.60% over July 2021 and of 94.57% over August 2020.
  • Exports from Pakistan during August 2021 amounted to Rs. 368,847 million (provisional) as against Rs. 373,412 million (provisional) in July 2021 and Rs. 265,600 million during August 2020, showing a decrease of 1.22% over July 2021 but an increase of 38.87% over August 2020.
  • The import bill of petroleum products during the month of August’21 stood at $1.76billion, depicting a colossal surge of 2.3x YoY while on MoM basis, the import of the same group surge by 32%, compared to the same period last year.
  • With a contribution of 15% to the total import bill during the month of August’21, the import bill of the machinery group surged by 52% YoY to $984 million.
  • The total export of textile products witnessed an upsurge of 45.2% YoY to clock in at $1.46 billion during August’21. When compared with the figures of the previous month, exports of textile commodities depicted a marginal decline of 0.57%.
  • The trade value of food exports from the country in August’21 stood at around $325.75million, showing a robust surge of 48% YoY from $220mn in August 2020.
  • The unemployment rate in Pakistan jumped from 5.8% in 2017-18 to 6.9% in 2018-19, the Labor Force Survey (LFS) published by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics revealed.
  • The prices of petrol and high-speed diesel (HSD) have moved up by Rs5 and Rs5.01 per litre, respectively. While, the prices of Kerosene Oil and Light Diesel Oil enhanced by Rs5.46 and 5.92 per litre, according to a notice issued by Finance Division.
  • The Large-Scale Manufacturing Industries (LSMI) of the country witnessed a growth of 2.25% YoY during July’21 compared to the same month last year.
  • The Monetary Policy Committee of SBP will meet on Monday, September 20, 2021, at SBP Karachi to decide about the Monetary Policy. Later on, SBP will issue the Monetary Policy Statement through a press release on the same day.
  • The government has so far released an amount of Rs1.625 billion to execute seven ongoing and six new petroleum-related projects under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP 2021-22) aimed at accelerating oil and gas exploration activities and achieving self-sufficiency in the energy sector.
  • The government has so far released an amount of Rs936.046 million to execute around 17 aviation sector projects under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP 2021-22).
  • Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in an effort to facilitate overseas Pakistanis has allowed tax-exempted remittances through international exchange companies, money transfer companies and money services businesses from abroad.
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