The Punjab government slashed on Thursday the rate of 10 kg of flour from Rs650 to Rs490, as part of its provincial government relief package, announced Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz.
Taking to Twitter, CM Punjab said that in the first phase, the price of 10kg flour is being reduced from Rs650 to Rs490 i.e. a reduction of Rs160.
Hamza said that the government is giving Rs200 billion subsidy on flour, which is a primary food component.
“The politics of looting, anarchy, division and self-promotion are not our focus but to give relief to the people and cure the sufferings of the last 4 years,” he added.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference, Hamza slammed the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for creating fertilizer shortages and supplying low-quality seeds to farmers, reported Aaj News.
PM Shehbaz calls for achieving wheat procurement targets by June 1
He said that despite hurdles, the government has managed to procure 4.5 million tons of wheat in the international market, which is being sold at $500 per ton or Rs4,000 per maund.
"However, we have procured wheat at Rs2,200 per maund,” he said, adding that the province has procured enough wheat stocks to last a year.
Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had expressed concerns over non-fulfilment of wheat procurement targets by the provinces and fixed June 1 as the deadline for them to complete the procurement.
Meanwhile, Hamza also commented on the provincial political crisis and Omar Safraz Cheema's removal as Punjab governor. He said that in the absence of a governor, the speaker is meant to become acting governor, but this has not yet happened and there has been no cabinet in Punjab for one and half months.
Experts for ensuring flow of water downstream of Kotri
HYDERABAD: The water and fish experts have drawn the attention of the government of Pakistan to ensure the flow of water downstream of Kotri in Indus River and warned that if serious measures in this regard had not been taken, Sindh could face an unimagined loss in the years to come, due to sea erosion.
They recommended that the government of Pakistan, especially the Sindh government must devise a durable policy regarding constant water flow in the Indus River otherwise, a tens of thousands people hinging on the fisheries for their livelihood would be badly affected.
This they said while addressing a seminar organized to mark the World Fish Migration Day (WFMD) on Tuesday at the University of Sindh by the Department of Freshwater Biology and Fisheries to mark the international day.
The experts raised awareness among the masses about the significance of river flow and migratory fish for human lives. They urged the government to save water and fish as per the globally announced theme titled “Connecting Fish, Rivers and People”.
On the occasion, director Centre for Coastal & Deltaic Studies (CCDS), Sindh University Campus Thatta Prof. Dr Mukhtiar Ahmed Mahar said that the first ever awareness program regarding the fish migration had been observed in the department, which will prove beneficial for the conservation of the assets and resources. “The recommendations of this seminar must be shared with the Sindh government for implementation”, he said.
Director Inland Fisheries Sindh Bashir Ahmed Dogar said that Sindh University’s Department of Freshwater Biology and Sindh Fisheries could jointly carry out research and awareness projects for the development of the province and the country.
Deputy Director Inland Fisheries Sindh Khaleeq Ahmed Soomro stated that the initiatives should be taken to ensure research collaboration between the varsity and the Sindh government for the welfare and advancement of fisheries in Sindh.
Professor Dr Anila Naz Soomro said that during her research project in Japan, it was proved that juveniles of shrimp were in a higher population at the tail of rivers that entered into the Sea. “It is therefore, proved that the flow of rivers is most important for the population of aquatic animals for their growth and survival”, she added.
KARACHI: The Met Office advised the general public to take precautionary measures during the heat wave as the fresh spell of scorching weather began on Wednesday.
In the next 24 hours: Hot weather is expected in most plain areas of the country.
Isolated rain with wind-thunderstorm and gusty winds is expected in Gilgit-Baltistan, upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir, Islamabad and upper Punjab.
A dust-raising gusty wind with thunder storm is likely in southern districts of Punjab. “Continental air is prevailing over most parts of the country. Shallow western lies are passing over western/upper parts of the country,” the Met said
In the past 24 hours: Weather remained hot and dry in most parts of the country, while very hot in plain areas.
The day’s highest temperatures were recorded in Dadu 48 degrees Celsius, Turbat, Sibbi, Khairpur, Jacobabad and Mohenjo-Daro 47, each.
However, isolated rain-wind-thunderstorm was recorded in Kashmir, upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Murree and Noorpurthal.
Kotli and Murree recieved 8 mm, each, of rainfall, Noorpurthal 6 mm, Muzaffarabad 5 mm, Kakul 4 mm, Rawalakot 3 mm, Garhi Dupatta and Balakot 2, each.
ISLAMABAD: Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) Dr Asif Mahmood Jah has strongly recommended to the FBR to immediately issue a notification to considerably enhance regulatory duties on the import of all kinds of non-essential items and luxury goods to reduce imports.
Talking to Business Recorder Wednesday at the FTO Office, Dr Jah said that the matter of reducing the import bill is very serious and needs immediate issuance of the SROs. The FBR is conducting the said exercise and a major increase in RDs is required for curtailing the imports. The higher rates of RDs should be imposed on all kinds of non-essential items and import of items “manufactured locally”. The second option is to ban the import of luxury items for a specific time period, he added.
EFP proposes measures to lift country out of economic quagmire
In the last budget (2021-22), the FBR had increased regulatory duties on the import of mobile phones, tobacco, shampoos, cosmetics, tyres, tiles, dinner sets, padlocks, LCD and LED from July 1, 2021.
Sharing major budget proposals of the FTO Office being reviewed by the FBR, Dr Jah stated that there is a general complaint on the part of the taxpayers that the income tax return form to be filed under section 114 of the IT Ordinance 2001 is very complex and difficult to understand and still difficult to fill. It is recommended that the annual IT return form may be simplified by having a single page with fewer columns to fill, in both English and Urdu languages. More emphasis should be placed on filing annexures with returns wherever required.
LAHORE: Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan has said the “dacoits in Punjab” have changed the entire team of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to get bail in all the corruption cases against them, and if courts acquit them of the charges then the people involved in petty cases should be freed from jails too.
The former prime minister was addressing a lawyers’ convention organised by the Lahore Bar Association (LBA) on Wednesday.
He urged the lawyers to join him with full zeal in his struggle for a “greater Pakistan”, to get independence from “American hegemony” and bury the “dacoits”.
Mr Khan was of the view that no struggle in Pakistan had succeeded until the lawyers had joined it.
He also said he would announce the date for a long march to Islamabad in his next public meeting to be held in Multan next Friday.
Imran Khan thanks Supreme Court for rejecting dissident lawmakers' votes
He said the current rulers wanted to adopt different methods to stop him from organising the long march to Islamabad; that was why he wanted the legal fraternity to support him in his struggle.
The “Tehreek-e-Pakistan (freedom movement)” was led by a lawyer and the movement for independence of the judiciary also succeeded due to a lawyers’ movement, he said. Therefore, the lawyers should join hands with him in the struggle for an “independent Pakistan”.
The PTI chief reiterated that the present rulers were “imposed on the country through a foreign conspiracy” and it was the people’s democratic right to get rid of them in a peaceful manner.
He said there could be no prosperity in any country without rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution and added that most of the Muslim countries were facing this problem.
He had named his party ‘Tehreek-e-Insaf’ because God wanted to see justice prevail on the planet, he added.
Among others who spoke on the occasion were Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Ali Muhammad Khan, Senator Ali Zafar and LBA President Rao Sami.
ISLAMABAD: The mystery of thousands of cusecs of “missing” water from Taunsa Barrage (Punjab) to Guddu Barrage (Sindh) is still unresolved as no concrete evidence has been found by a joint committee of Parliamentarians and technical experts, well informed sources told Business Recorder.
Last week, National Assembly Standing Committee on Water Resources constituted a committee comprising MNAs Khalid Magsi and Riaz–ul-Haq. The members visited the sites of Guddu Barrage and Taunsa Barrage and witnessed water measurement by experts.
The team of Sindh Government led by Minister for Irrigation Jam Khan Shoro had accused Punjab of stealing its water share between Taunsa Barrage to Guddu Barrage through pumping. Indus River System Authority (IRSA) has approved losses of 28 percent for Sindh and Balochistan due to 300 kilometres of length from Taunsa Barrage to Guddu.
The sources said the visiting team which measured water at Guddu and Taunsa barrages has found substantial discrepancy in water released from Taunsa that reached Guddu. According to the measurement done by the technical experts in the presence of Parliamentarians and representatives of both provinces, 69,000 cusecs of water released from Taunsa Barrage was 37,000 cusecs when it reached Guddu Barrage.
River inflows, outflows register gains
The team also found that gadgets being used by Sindh Irrigation Department at Guddu Barrage to measure water were faulty.
“When, the team despatched from Islamabad reached Guddu and inquired from Sindh Irrigation team about water passing Guddu Barrage, they claimed it was 47,000 cusecs but when the team measured water, it was 37,000 cusecs, which created considerable panic amongst the officials of Irrigation Department of both Sindh and Punjab,” the sources maintained.
The officials of Irrigation Department of Punjab felt that perhaps an impression was being created that they were not releasing due quantity of water to Sindh from Taunsa Barrage. However, when the team visited Taunsa Barrage to measure the certified water it indicated that 69,000 cusecs of water was being released as per approval of IRSA.
Explaining reasons for less water at Guddu Barrage, the sources said, since length from Tausna Barrage to Guddu Barrage was about 300 kilometres, a substantial amount of water was absorbed in sand heaps and corners of both sides of the canals which was one reason for less water reaching Guddu.
The sources maintained that there was also no doubt that farmers of Punjab had also installed tube-wells on their own lands adjacent to canals, which certainly sucked water from the canal but they could not be barred from operation because they were not violating their boundary.
The team, sources said, had updated Minister for Water Resources Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah about amount of water released from Taunsa Barrage and reached Guddu.
Zahid Junejo, Chairman IRSA/ Member Sindh, accused the water regulator of failing to give due share of water to Sindh.
An official of Sindh government told this correspondent on condition of anonymity that the provincial government had conveyed its concerns at the highest level and hope that the province would be given fair treatment.
JAKARTA: Indonesia exported 2.02 million tonnes of palm oil in March, including refined products, down 40% from the same month a year earlier, data from the Indonesia Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) showed on Thursday.
Indonesia produced 3.78 million tonnes of crude palm oil, taking end-March stocks to 5.68 million tonnes, compared to end-February stocks of 5.05 million tonnes, GAPKI data showed.
Palm oil may rise to 6,602 ringgit
Indonesia has since April 28 stopped palm oil exports to control domestic prices.
Oil prices recover from early losses as global supply fears linger
TOKYO: Oil prices rose on Thursday, recovering from early losses, as lingering fears over tight global supplies outweighed fears over slower economic growth as highlighted by slumping global shares.
Brent crude futures for July were up 97 cents, or 0.9%, at $110.08 a barrel at 0220 GMT, after falling by more than $1 earlier in the session.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for June rose 42 cents, or 0.4%, to $110.01 a barrel, recovering from an early loss of more than $2. WTI for July was up 56 cents, or 0.5%, at $107.60 a barrel. Both benchmark prices fell about 2.5% on Wednesday.
“A slump in Wall Street soured sentiment in early trade as it underlined concerns over weakening consumption and fuel demand,” said Satoru Yoshida, a commodity analyst with Rakuten Securities.
Asian stocks on Thursday tracked a steep Wall Street selloff as investors fretted over rising global inflation, China’s zero-COVID policy and the Ukraine war. “Still, oil markets are keeping a bullish trend as a pending import ban by the European Union on Russian crude is expected to further tighten global supply,” Yoshida said.
The European Union this month proposed a new package of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Oil rises to 7-week high on EU’s Russian oil ban effort, demand hopes
This would include a total ban on oil imports in six months’ time, but the measures have not yet been adopted, with Hungary being among the most vocal critics of the plan.
The European Commission unveiled on Wednesday a 210 billion euro ($220 billion) plan for Europe to end its reliance on Russian fossil fuels by 2027, and to use the pivot away from Moscow to quicken its transition to green energy.
Also, US crude inventories fell last week, an unexpected drawdown, as refiners ramped up output in response to tight product inventories and near-record exports that have forced US diesel and gasoline prices to record levels.
Capacity use on both the East Coast and Gulf Coast was above 95%, putting those refineries close to their highest possible running rates.
Saudi companies invited to invest in petroleum industry
LAHORE: Chairman Oil Marketing Association of Pakistan (OMAP) Tariq Wazir Ali has invited Saudi industrialists to invest in Pakistan’s petroleum industry as there is a vast scope of investment in this sector. He said that in the current economic situation, visit of any foreign investor is a breath of fresh air for the country’s economy.
He was talking to a delegation of Saudi Marabaha Marina Company during their visit to OMAP office. The delegation included Chairman Abdul Rehman Muhammad and other officials.
Tariq Wazir Ali also said that Saudi Marabaha Marina Company is interested in investing in petroleum, agriculture and housing sector in Pakistan. He assured his full support to the Saudi investors.
He further said that at a time when the country’s economy was facing difficult times, any kind of foreign investment would prove to be a breath of fresh air. Abdul Rehman, chairman of the Saudi company Marabaha Marini, said that there is a huge potential for foreign investors for investment in the petroleum, agriculture and housing sector of Pakistan.