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Fourteen perished, 16 injured due to heavy rains: NDMA



ISLAMABAD: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in its Monsoon 2018 daily situation report stated here on Friday that fourteen died and sixteen got injured due to heavy rains in the country.
According to the report, due to heavy rains and overflow of water channel at Malach, Murree Expressway, Rawalpindi, 13 persons were drowned in flood water while the rescue operation was conducted by Rescue 1122. The rescue team recovered 6 dead bodies and shifted 7 injured to Tehsil Headquarters hospital (THQ), Murree after first aid.
Earlier on 12 July, a passenger van was trapped in a landslide due to heavy rains at Fateh Pur Thakyala, Kotli where 4 deaths and 3 critical injuries were reported. In another incident, the same day, 2 injured persons were reported due to landslide at village Hudabari, District Bagh (Azad Jammu and Kashmir).
In Federally Administered Tribal Area (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) on 12 July torrential rains caused a roof of a room collapsed at Alisherzai area, Kurram Tribal District where 4 people died and 4 injured were reported.
However, the report said that River Kabul at Nowshera was flowing at a low level and all other rivers flowing at the normal level while low to medium level flooding was expected in the Nullahs of Rivers Ravi and Chenab during next 24-hours.
The past meteorological situation and future forecast by Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) reported significant rainfall during last 24 hours including Islamabad 73 mm, Sialkot 70 mm, Shinkiari 56 mm, Sehrkakota 48 mm, Kamra 47 mm, Haraman 45 mm, Kotli 44 mm, Murree 43 mm and Attock, Khairabad 42 mm.
The PMD forecast for next 24 hours predicts scattered wind thunderstorm and rain with isolated heavy falls expected over the upper catchments of all the major Rivers along with Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Lahore and Sukkur Divisions and Kashmir. Isolated wind thunderstorm and rain was expected over Malakand, Hazara and Bahawalpur Divisions, it added.
The NDMA has advised the concerned stakeholders to remain alert and make all possible arrangements to cope with any emergency as the Monsoon is likely to remain active during the week.







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ADB to provide $7.528 bn to Pakistan



ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has planned to support Pakistan with lending of $7.528 billion for various development projects during the next three years.

In its new Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) for Pakistan 2019-21 revealed on Thursday, the ADB has proposed a sovereign lending program for next three years worth $7.528 billion, consisting of $5.37 billion from regular Ordinary Capital Resource (OCR) lending and $2.158 billion from Concessional COR Lending (COL). COL includes a carryover of $600 million from 2018. The non-lending program for 2019–2021 is $21.7 million, including transaction technical assistance for various pipeline projects. An amount of $2.245 billion in ADB loan financing is allocated for the energy sector, which is 29.8 percent of the total pipeline for 2019–2021.  

The pipeline includes a multi-tranche financing facility for Transmission Strengthening (tranche 1) for National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), Hydropower Development Project for Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), and support for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Gas Pipeline Project. For the transport sector, some $1.394 billion of ADB loan financing for the sector (18.5% of the total pipeline) have been allocated for the transport sector.  The pipeline includes the Sustainable National Highway Project and the Sindh Hyderabad Southern Bypass Project.

ADB also proposes support for the revitalization of Pakistan Railways to improve transport sector sustainability, including exploring non-conventional financing arrangements. For agriculture, natural resources, and rural development, ADB has allocated $794 million in loan financing to the sector (10.6% of the total pipeline).  The pipeline includes the Greater Thal Canal Irrigation Project, the Kurram Tangi Water Resources Project, and the Smaller Cholistan Water Resources Development Project. Similarly, for water and other urban infrastructure and services, the ADB has allocated $470 million in ADB loan financing (6.2% of the total pipeline).  The pipeline includes a cross-sector project readiness facility for Punjab and the Punjab Cities Improvement Project. ADB has also allocated $2.4 billion in loan financing to the finance and public sector management sectors (31.9% of the total pipeline).

The COBP, 2019-2021, includes new projects such as trade and competitiveness program (subprogram 1) in 2019; financial markets development in 2020; infrastructure financing and PPPs in 2021; as well as the second phase of support for the Benazir Income Support Program in 2020. The education and health sectors pipeline includes $225 million in loan financing (3.0% of the total pipeline). ADB’s re-engagement in education and health sectors includes $175 million for projects on secondary education in Sindh and improving workforce readiness and skills development in Punjab, and $50 million projects to improve quality of health care services in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

ADB will also provide technical assistance across sectors to help project implementation and to generate and disseminate knowledge products to support policy and project development, as well as to enhance project quality and readiness. Pakistan, a group B developing member country, is eligible for regular OCR lending and concessional OCR lending (COL).  The indicative resources available during 2019–2021 for sovereign operations amount to $5,712 billion, comprising $4.29 billion for regular OCR lending and $1.422 billion for COL. The final allocation will depend on available resources, project readiness, project performance and debt distress rating of the country among others. ADB’s non-sovereign operations will supplement these resources.  ADB will also explore co-financing from other sources and seek financing from the regional pool under concessional resources and regular OCR for regional cooperation and integration.

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Improving ease of doing business



Imran Khan on solution to poverty

ISLAMABAD: PM has today directed Board of Investment (BoI) chairman to present a comprehensive plan, listing all the issues in various sectors and their sub-sectors and how the processes could be streamlined to simplify procedures related to government approvals, addressing taxation issues, dispute resolution and facilitating investors/businesses. 
He said this while chairing a high-level meeting to review progress on improving ease of doing business and creating an enabling environment to facilitate the conversion of interest of the local as well foreign investors into actual investments in the country. The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Law Minister Dr. Farogh Naseem, Commerce Advisor Abdul Razak Dawood, BoI Chairman Haroon Sharif, federal secretaries and senior officials. 
BoI Chairman Haroon Sharif while briefing the prime minister about the steps taken so far said the Board would be serving as an agent of change for facilitating business transactions, removing impediments in the way to the materialization of investors’ interest into actual investments and smooth functioning of the businesses in the country. He also briefed about various issues being faced by the business community including taxation, access to finance, regulation and policy issues and red-tapism.
He said the BoI was also actively working with the provinces and relevant ministries for removing barriers in the way of establishing Special Economic Zones.  He said special efforts were being made to bridge the gap between private and public sector and to reach out to the private sector to revive their confidence in government policies and put in place a framework that facilitates business community in its business pursuits.  The BoI chairman also briefed about Naya Pakistan Diaspora Fund which was being set-up to promote SMEs and rural development in key areas of education, health, and infrastructure development.
He also apprised the prime minister of the investment framework which had been structured for attracting and materializing investment from UAE, KSA, China, Japan, and Malaysia.   It was decided during the meeting that the prime minister would chair a review meeting every month on ease of doing business in the country.

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Export of surplus wheat from Pakistan!



Export of surplus wheat from Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: According to a notification issued by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research modalities had been devised apropos export of surplus wheat from Pakistan.

The notification reads: “In compliance with the ECC Decision…and thereby ratification of the Cabinet Division…regarding Export of Public Sector’s Surplus Wheat/Products, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research devised modalities. In consultation with the Ministries of Finance and Commerce, for the export of 0.5 million tons of surplus wheat/products of the public sector. Details of modalities are given below:

  1. The Provincial Governments and PASSCO shall process export of wheat by placing the tenders in the tune of 0.5 million tons of wheat with the following break-up:
  • PASSCO-0.10 million tons
  • Punjab – 0.250 million tons
  • Sindh-0.150 million tons.
  1. PASSCO and Governments of Punjab and Sindh are allowed to export 0.50 million tons of wheat and wheat products [Flour (Aata) Fine Suji and Maida.
  2. The successful bidder will provide a performance a guarantee of 120% of the amount of difference between the issue price of wheat (to flour mills) and the bid price, which may be released on submission of an export document’s within 90 days.
  3. The export of wheat and wheat products should be completed before 30th April 2019, while the export process should be completed up to 30th June 2019. In order to facilitate the exporters for completing their codal formalities.
  4. The freight support for the export of wheat in respect of PASSCO will be paid by the Federal Government, while Government of Punjab and Sindh shall bear freight support charges for their respective exports.
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