Category: News of Official Departments

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Australia backs IOM Assistance to Undocumented Afghans in Pakistan

Islamabad, June 23, 2017 (PPI-OT):The Australian Government and IOM Pakistan have launched a two-year, AUD 4 million (USD 3 million) project to help undocumented Afghans in Pakistan and their host communities, as well as those returning to Afghanistan. In 2016, an unprecedented number of Afghans returned to Afghanistan, mainly from Pakistan and Iran. They included over 250,000 undocumented returnees and over 380,000 registered refugees.

This year, as of June 20th, over 100,000 Afghans have returned home, including almost 70,000 undocumented returnees from Pakistan. This is a 250 percent increase over the number of returnees during the first six months of 2016. Australia’s contribution will enable IOM and its partners to help the Government of Pakistan to develop sustainable solutions for the estimated 500,000-600,000 Afghan nationals still living in Pakistan.

“Australia is committed to partnerships, which promote stability in the region and to help the most vulnerable, particularly women and children,” said Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Margaret Adamson. The new Australian funding will also help IOM and its partners to monitor migration flows and conduct host community surveys to help the Pakistani and Afghan governments, humanitarian stakeholders and returning communities to make better-informed decisions relating to safe and humane migration.

IOM Pakistan will also use the funding to provide primary health care services and vocational business training for undocumented Afghans and host communities in Pakistan. This will help the Afghans to start new livelihoods and reintegrate when they return to Afghanistan, as well as provide new economic opportunities for host communities. The funding will also help IOM to support the Government of Pakistan to implement its ‘Repatriation and Management Policy for Afghan Refugees,’ which includes the registration of undocumented Afghans living in Pakistan.

“IOM is fully committed to support tailored solutions for undocumented Afghans in Pakistan,” said IOM Pakistan Chief of Mission Davide Terzi. “Pakistan has been host to millions of Afghans for over 30 years, and it is imperative to devise comprehensive programmes that facilitate returns, create viable options for those that decide to stay and support the Pakistani host communities.” As part of the IOM Regional Response Strategy, IOM Pakistan is seeking USD 21 million to support the most vulnerable undocumented Afghans during 2017-18.

For more information, contact:
National Information Officer
United Nations Information Centre (UNIC)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-8355720
Cell: +92-300-8553790

Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry expresses deep grief sorrow over demise of LCCI former President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad

Lahore, June 23, 2017 (PPI-OT):The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed deep grief sorrow over demise of the LCCI former President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad. In a condolence message, the LCCI President Abdul Basit, Acting President Amjad …

Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry opposes closure of Engineering Development Board

Lahore, June 23, 2017 (PPI-OT):The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed grave concern on the news of closure Engineering Development Board (EDB) and termed it a bad proposal. Government should shelve the idea for the sake of engineering sector of Pakistan.

In a statement issued here Friday, the LCCI Acting President Amjad Ali Jawa and Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan said that reportedly this decision has been taken without taking the stakeholders on board. They said that Engineering Development Board is playing a fundamental role in promotion of engineering sector.

“EDB was established to oversee multiple areas related to the engineering sector. An important area where EDB has contributed the most is the Automobile Sector. It oversees the implementation of the Auto Policy, based on predefined policy document guidelines. It supports the vendor industry by handling various SRO’s, by assuring local content enhancement and curtailment of rollback, based on the government’s policy guidelines”, they said.

They said that closure and shifting the responsibility of EDB, will derail the engineering industry, especially the auto sector, will lead to inefficiency in the government, and lack of expertise would further complicate the situation, leading to stoppage of investments in Auto Sector, especially the Vending Sector.

They recommended that proposal of disbandment of EDB should be taken back immediately as it would give a bad message to the foreign investors. To improve the circumstances, a professional CEO EDB should be appointed, based on capability to handle such an organization. They said that closure of an institution is not a solution to the problems. Government should take corrective to overcome the loopholes.

For more information, contact:
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +92-42-111-222-499
Fax: +92-42-36368854

Aamer Ata Bajwa, Acting President, FPCCI condemns illegal threats to member of business community

Karachi, June 22, 2017 (PPI-OT):Acting President, FPCCI Mr. Aamer Ata Bajwa has strongly condemned the illegal threats from Omni Group to member of business community M/s. Shahzad Trade Links who is the Agent of Belarus Tractors in Pakistan since last …

Governor Sindh’s Programme for Eid-ul-Fitr

Karachi, June 22, 2017 (PPI-OT):The Governor Sindh’s Programme for Eid-ul-Fitr will be as follows:

0800 Hours – Eid Prayers at Gulshan-e-Jinnah (Old Polo Ground)

Exchange Eid Greetings at Governor House with:

0900-1100 Hours – Open House to exchange Eid Greetings with Senior Armed Forces Officers, Diplomatic Corps, Ulema, Civil/ Military Officers and Prominent Citizens.

For more information, contact:
Information and Archives Department
Directorate of Press Information
Government of Sindh
95-Sindh Secretariat 4-B, Karachi
Tel: +92-21-99204423, +92-21-99204401

Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner of Australian Trade and Investment Commission calls on LCCI Acting President and Vice President

Lahore, June 22, 2017 (PPI-OT):Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner of Australian Trade and Investment Commission John Madew Thursday called on the LCCI Acting President Amjad Ai Jawa and Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan and had a detailed discussion on trade and economic issues. Regional Business Development Manager of Australian Trade and Investment Commission Imran Saeed Khan was also present on the occasion.

John Madew said that private sectors of the two countries should develop sustainable partnership and find out tangible ways to avail full advantage of the trade and investment potential exists in Australia and Pakistan. He said that Australia has made a considerable development in dairy and livestock sectors and its experience in these areas can be useful for Pakistan. He said that Australian Universities are focusing on Research and Development that is a key to give boost to the trade and economy. He informed the house that Australian IT companies are finding new partners therefore Pakistani IT companies should avail this opportunity.

The LCCI Acting President Amjad Ali Jawa said that Pakistan and Australia enjoy good diplomatic relations and at present, both countries are engaged in cooperating with each other in many fields. He informed the participants that last year, there were two delegations – one from Sydney and other from Canberra – visited LCCI. He appreciated Australian High Commissioner for fully cooperating with the LCCI that went to Sydney in February 2017 to attend Halal Expo 2017. Our members had successful meetings in Australia.

He said that the balance of trade has been in favour of Australia but it is a matter of concern for us that the gap between imports and exports is expanding year by year. From 2014 to 2015, the two way trade surged from dollar 504 million to dollar 714 million. This increase took place due to abrupt rise in imports from Australia to Pakistan which went up from dollar 337 million to dollar 538 million during that period. Pakistan exports showed some improvement but its magnitude was not sufficient enough. The volume of exports to Australia inched up from dollar 167 million to dollar 176 million.

Amjad Ali Jawa said that Australia has a well-developed dairy and livestock sectors and Pakistani counterparts can benefit from Australia for enhancements in milk and meat production. Livestock sector of Pakistan accounts for more than 10% of GDP. Pakistan lags behind in technological innovation in agriculture and livestock. Australia should share its advanced agro-technology and expertise with Pakistan.

The LCCI Acting President said it is really appreciative that Australian government is extending liberal scholarships to the Pakistani students and at the moment more than 15000 students are studying in various universities of Australia. LCCI is of the view that these scholarships should be increased to offer more opportunities to the Pakistani students.

The LCCI Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan said that Pakistan is emerging globally in IT sector with young and talented pool of IT professionals and this area has great potential for mutual cooperation between the two countries. Likewise, Australia can supply LNG to Pakistan to overcome its energy issues. He said that knowledge and experience sharing with Pakistani businessmen would help improving the present scenario between two countries.

For more information, contact:
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +92-42-111-222-499
Fax: +92-42-36368854

Shamim Firpo demands immediate settlement of refunds claims

Karachi, June 21, 2017 (PPI-OT):President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Shamim Ahmed Firpo, while referring to numerous requests received from KCCI members, urged the government to immediately settle pending refunds claims in order to save manufacturers-cum-exporters, particularly small exporters, from suffering severe liquidity crunch. In a statement issued, President KCCI added that the government must ensure availability of suffice liquidity to exporters if it was really serious in dealing with the issue of dwindling exports.

He said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been continuously targeting the exporters by delaying billions of rupees refunds of sales tax, withholding, customs rebates, duty drawback on taxes and levies for achieving its budgetary revenue collection targets. “FBR is focused only on further squeezing the existing taxpayers, while no effort was being made to bring tax-evaders into the net for broadening tax-to-GDP ratio”, he added.

He noted that tax refunds of Rs300billion of textile industry alone were stuck up with FBR, resulting in intensifying the hardships for the industry. The government must realize the seriousness of the situation and take steps for timely clearance of all stuck up refunds with a view to provide some relief to perturbed business community.

Referring to a recent statement by Federal Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan in which he claimed that his ministry’s entire attention was focused on the reimbursement of tax refunds and other payments under Prime Minister’s Rs180 billion exports incentive package, Shamim Firpo asked that how will the government be able to settle huge refund claims with such a petty incentive package, particularly in a situation when refund claims of textile industry alone have escalated to above Rs300 billion. Delays in implementation of PM’s exports incentive package is also a matter of concern for the business and industrial community, he added.

Shamim Firpo recalled that under Prime Minister’s directives, Sales Tax refunds of up to Rs22 billion were settled in the month of August 2016 which was followed by another settlement of refunds claims of Rs21 billion in the month of November 2016 but it has been seven months now since the last payments against refund claims were made whereas such claims have been escalating every day, triggering extreme anxiety amongst many taxpayers.

In this regard, he advised the government to devise an automated system which must ensure release of all pending refund claims on monthly or quarterly basis which, if done, would enable the industrialists and exporters to efficiently devise their future business expansion strategies and create an enabling environment in which the businessmen and industrialists will be least bothered about the release of refund claims and they will stay focused on exploring ways and means of how to enhance their businesses and exports.

He opined that the improved economic figures along with positive developments taking place due to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) clearly indicate that Pakistan was headed in the right direction and was likely to become one of the fastest growing economies of the world but on the other hand, the government must act sensibly by ensuring a level-playing field to the business and industrial community so that they could be able to catch up with the pace and stay afloat in the extremely competitive business environment.

President KCCI hoped that the government comes up with pro-business initiatives soon as only such initiatives can rescue Pakistan’s economy from the clutches of IMF. “We are ready to utilize all our expertise and resources to promote industrialization and expansion but the government must also support us and refrain from taking anti-business moves and deliberate delays which hinder progress and prosperity for the country”, he added.

For more information, contact:
Director Press/Electronic Media and Public Relations
Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI)
Aiwan-e-Tijarat Road, Off Shahrah-e-Liaquat,
Phone: +92-21-99218001-09
Fax: +92-21-99218040

Benazir Bhutto’s democratic struggle and sacrifices a golden chapter in history: Mukesh Kumar Chawla

Karachi, June 21, 2017 (PPI-OT):Provincial Minister for Excise and Taxation and Narcotics Control Mukesh Kumar Chawla has said that Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was an effective voice of the poor masses and she did a glorious struggle for the rights of the people and restoration of democratic norms in the country and fought against dictatorship and illuminated country’s name across the world. This he said while addressing cake cutting ceremony, arranged in connection with birthday celebrations of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, here in his office.

While paying rich tributes to the sacrifices which she rendered for the masses and the country as well, he said that there is no doubt that she was a great leader and due to her splendid struggle for democracy, she had been recognised not only at country level but her greatness was also admitted internationally and she laid her life for her people.

Mukesh Chawla added, ‘Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was a hope of ray for her workers and the people and she had a soft cornet for the poor people’. He said that the chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had true legacy of her mother and carrying her mother’s vision ahead and serving the people. ‘The people of Pakistan are with Pakistan Peoples Party and in coming general elections, the PPP will win all over the country and form the government in Federal’, he concluded.

For more information, contact:
Information and Archives Department
Directorate of Press Information
Government of Sindh
95-Sindh Secretariat 4-B, Karachi
Tel: +92-21-99204423, +92-21-99204401

Auditor General founds illegal recruitment of director Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Chair, other irregularities at Karachi University

Karachi, June 21, 2017 (PPI-OT):The Director General Audit Sindh in his special Audit report on Director Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Chair (SMBBC) has found the appointment of the incumbent director against the rules and regulation as she had no required experience.

The Director General Audit Sindh conducting an special audit on Director, SMBBC and Convention Centre from 2009 to 2016 has found the appointment of the incumbent director, Sahar Gul Abbasi against the rules. The report says that the advertisement of the post dated January 18, 2015 was found but there was no list of number of applicants or shortlisted candidates. Ever there was no notification of the selection committee.

Ms Sahar Gul Bhatti was shortlisted but did not have 15 years teaching/research guidance experience as required in the advertisement “which seems an undue favour to the candidate where as Mr Shuja Ahmed (competitor of Ms Sahar Gul Bhatti) was Masters from London and Ph.D from London and have a complete or more than 15 years experience as required in the advertisement.

The Director General Audit Sindh Karachi conducted an audit of ‘Director Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Chair and Convention Centre Karachi University in January, 2017. The main objectives of the audit were to review the chair’s performance against the intended objectives, to assess whether chair was managed with due regard to economy and efficiency and to review compliance with applicable rules, regulations and procedures. The audit was conducted in accordance with the INTOSAI Auditing Standards.

In 2008 Government of Sindh established Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Chair and Convention Centre Karachi University. The chair aimed at undertaking the research on the Vision and Mission of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. The institute would be providing education through designing multidisciplinary courses, short and long as portrait by utilizing Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s precious political thought academically such as Democracy, Peace, Development, Good Governance, Poverty Alleviation, Human Rights, Women’s Emancipation and development to create awareness in upcoming young generations to develop the country. The chair would enter into collaboration with National and International institutions for various exchange of programs.

During review of the accounts of the Director, SMBB Chair and Convention Centre University of Karachi for the period up to 2015-16, it was observed that supervision construction contract Rs7.936 million was awarded to M/s Shahzad Associates for supervision consultancy against the provision at 2 percent of the contract cost of Rs5.290 million in P.C.I. Hence excess rate at1percent of Rs2.646 million over and above the provision of P.C.I was allowed/ awarded without approval of competent forum.

The auditor general has recommended detailed inquiry into the matter. The audit report says that during audit of office of the Director, SMBB Chair and Convention Centre University of Karachi for the period up to 2015-16, it was observed that the funds of Rs 6.150 million were drawn from assignment account and deposited into university account to avoid lapse of funds which is illegal. as under:

The report say the review of the accounts of the Director, SMBB Chair and Convention Centre University of Karachi for the period up to 2015-16, it was observed that advance payment of Rs 1.876 million was made on account of purchase of fixed assets to the suppliers as work order was issued on June 14, 2015 and contract agreement was not signed. Moreover, the procurement ID was withheld at SPPRA website due to non-compliance of SPP Rules and also no inspection reports of the items by the committee were found to audit.

During the special audit of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto chair, it was observed that the Director of SMBBC has been offered and paid a lump sum package of Rs160,000 p.m totalling Rs 1,920,000 on account of salary during the period from June 2015 to June 2016 without approval of the Syndicate / Senate whereas the predecessor Director was obtaining salary of Rs130,000/ p.m for which no any approval was found.

The report said the Director was appointed on the fixed salary of Rs 160,000 p.m. for a period of two years and no any other facility was given but contrary to the above Rs 0.150 million on account of POL for the personal vehicle and mobile card for the personal use was drawn. The report recommends that the expenditure so incurred seemed unauthorized which may be recovered.

The audit found that the endowment funds of Rs.25.00 million were received by the Directorate of SMBB chair for investments and expenditure would be made from the profit earned on the investments whereas Rs3.032 million were utilized from the endowment funds as per the statement submitted to audit which shows balance of Rs21.968 million out of Rs25.00 million. The auditor recommends recovery of the funds so drawn may be made under intimation to audit.

The report say that works of Rs262.533 million was awarded to a contractor for construction of Convention Centre and allied facilities for the Chair who was ineligible contractor as per evaluation criteria of the prequalification document. The report says that the supervision construction contract of Rs 7.936 million was awarded to M/s Shahzad Associates for supervision consultancy of, “Construction of office, convention centre and allied facilities for Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Chair” who was ineligible contractor as per evaluation criteria of the prequalification document.

The report says NITs of Rs60.759 million was awarded to contractor / consultant but the procurement IDs were withheld due to non-following of SPP Rules, 2010 and payment was released without fulfilling the codal requirements. Thus payment without fulfilling procedures of procurement was unauthorized.

According to report the expenditure of Rs 0.287 million was incurred on account of printing and publication through splitting up upon the same dates to avoid open tender. Expenditure so incurred could not be authenticated. The audit report say that in the scheme titled “construction of Benazir Bhutto chair and allied facilities” an expenditure of Rs 1.864 million has been incurred on the head of contingency which includes professional video camera of Rs 60,000 and other items but no any tender was floated for this in contravention of above rules.

The audit has raised objection that a Rs24.670 million was drawn and paid to a contractor on account of mobilization advance prior to award of work and before obtaining 10 percent bank guarantee and 10 percent guarantee was also obtained before issuance of mobilization advance cheque. The report also says that a vehicle was purchased for Rs788 million during ban period without approval of the chief minister. Also approval of external bill for advance payment was not found to audit. The auditor has recommended necessary action and further inquiry.

For more information, contact:
Press Secretary,
Chief Minister House, Sindh
Tel: +92-21-99202019 (Ext: 336)

Prime Minister accords approval to New Civil Awards Category of ‘Environment’

Islamabad, June 21, 2017 (PPI-OT):The Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif has accorded approval to a new distinct category of civil awards for “Environment” on a recommendation of the Ministry for Climate Change in view of the unprecedented significance of the environmental protection and conservation, according to a press release issued here on Wednesday.

Federal Climate Change Minister Zahid Hamid said, “Climate change is real global threat, which has been also impacting Pakistan with increased and frequent extreme climate events like devastating floods and intense heat wave incidents experienced in recent years. However, the creation of the civil award in “environment’ category will help recognize unprecedented efforts of the recipient individuals institutions/organisations towards addressing these environmental and climate change issues in Pakistan.”

He said further total climate change-related losses suffered by the country were estimated to be one billion rupees per day. The climate change minister highlighted that deforestation, land degradation, massive air, water and land pollution loss of wildlife habitats and biodiversity were the country’s major environmental issues.

“In the light of such massive threats, numerous individuals and organisations are striving and making efforts to cope with impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, which must be recognized at the state level. For instance in the past few years, at least three brave persons have laid their lives while fighting the timber and mangrove mafias: one forest guard and two community workers. Others have been promoting renewable energy, environmental education, forestation, water conservation and other similar efforts to save the planet,” the climate change minister Mr. Zahid Hamid indicated.

Highlighting the importance of the civil awards given away at the state level in recognition of out stance contribution in a given field of human activity, the climate change minister said that in every country such prestigious awards given away to recognise the efforts undertaken by individuals and organisations in any particular field of endeavour as well as significant achievements. However, these also inspire others to undertake similar efforts.

“In view of the reaffirmation of his commitment to the overall environmental protection and conservation made at the UN-led global climate change conference in Paris in 2015, the Prime Minster Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s has approved a new distinct category of civil awards for Environment. This would add to the current list of Pakistani civil awards which are given in the following fields, namely: engineering, public service, science, gallantry, sports, education, medicine, health, literature, special athletics, arts (painting, drama/film/acting/film production, etc) and journalism.

For more information, contact:
Deputy Director
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
LG and RD Complex, G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-9245565

FPCCI fully supports All Pakistan Textile Mills Associations and other Textile Associations and expresses concern over their strike

Karachi, June 21, 2017 (PPI-OT):The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) expressed its great anxiety and concern over the strike called by All Pakistan Textile Mills Associations (APTMA), Pakistan Textile Exporters Associati…