Rs one billion defamation suit filed against Malik Riaz

Rawalpindi, MTT News Desk: Colonel (Retd) Tariq Kamal, Secretary General of Pakistan Ex-servicemen Society has a defamation case against former Chairman of Bahria Town Malik Riaz seeking Rs one billion in damages.

Raja Khurram Ali Khan, District Judge West has accepted the petition and summoned accused on April 04 to clarify his position.

Colonel Tariq moved court seeking damages after the respondent levelled serious allegation against him in a TV programme on the alleged corruption in the Bharia Town.

In his petition Colonel Tariq said that he is a retired serviceman enjoying respect as an upright person in the society and holding senior appointments in different welfare organisations.

He said that it was the reputation of Mr Riaz that forced Tehrik-i-Minhajul Qurran founder Tahir-ul-Qadri to refuse to meet him before the long march towards Islamabad in January.

Malik Riaz again cheated nation by announcing to lure USD 45 billion investment from UAE which proved to be another lie, he added.

The petitioner said that Malik Riaz who embezzled Rs 200 billion in the DHA scam is now out to deprive masses of their hard-earned money by announcing a JV with an American builder in Karachi.

He said that courts and institutions should take note of the activities of the accused and ensure safety of life and property of masses.

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SECP makes online filing of returns mandatory

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has made it mandatory for all listed companies to file documents, returns, accounts and applications, meant to be filed with the SECP, or the Registrar, through SECPs eServices online filing facility.

The SECP issued a notification in this regard on March 13, 2013. The requirement shall come into effect after two months of the date of notification. The requirement has also been made applicable to companies which filed their last statutory documents through eServices or will file any statutory document through eServices from the date of applicability of the notification. Earlier, this requirement was only applicable to companies which had been incorporated through eServices online filing facility.

The online filing has been made mandatory to move towards automated regulatory regime of the SECP, in line with the objective of providing services with efficiency and in minimum possible time. eServices filing facility is an easy and hassle-free mode of submission for companies to make statutory filing, coupled with an added feature of smaller fees as compared to manual/physical filing.

The relevant notification has been placed on the SECPs website. The notification shall, however, be applicable to the filing of documents, returns, accounts and applications for which eServices online submission mode is available.

Govt leaves legacy of incompetence, corruption

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) said on day Sunday the democratic government has left a legacy of massive corruption and incompetence pushing country and masses into total gloom.

Those who take politics as a lucrative business secured their future through plunder while leaving 180 million people insecure, said Farida Rashid, President IWCCI.

Speaking to business community, she said that last five years would be remembered as a black chapter in the history of Pakistan.

The government made new records of incompetence, corruption, nepotism, lawlessness, bulldozing laws and clash of the institutions, she added.

Farida Rashid said that most of the economic, fiscal, foreign and internal policies of the government met with failure while Pakistan faced international disgrace on various occasions.

Government continued to plunder national resources during five years but made a history of loot during its last few days, she observed.

She said that almost all the policies were made to please nobility which took toll on Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs), rupee lost value, record loans were borrowed while collections and forex reserved dwindled.

Government failed to provide enabling environment, improve law and order as well as the circular debt contributing to flight of capital, shifting of industrial units and brain drain.

Incoherent policies left millions jobless while 10 million youth stepped in the job market with no opportunities available. Even the largest urban employment providing sector of textile failed to create a single job, she informed.

Farida said that oil and gas exploration was systematically discouraged to justify import of costly fuel for which the CNG sector was also destroyed.

Government took around Rs 2.7 trillion loans from international lenders out of which 2.3 trillion were used to finance politically run Public Sector Enterprises but none could come out of losses to become profitable entity.

Unprecedented corruption estimated at Rs 1800 billion, shook the foundations of the country and put its very survival.

Masses must learn a lesson as Pakistan cannot afford another round of such democracy, observed Farida Rashid.

PEW terms pipeline development greatest achievement of the Government

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Wednesday said inauguration of Pakistani portion of Iran gas pipeline, economically and strategically crucial for the future of our country, is the greatest achievement of the incumbent Government.

This historic decision, taken after a long delay, will help attract investment, provide jobs, and revive sliding economy while it has renewed hopes among dejected masses and business community reeling under severe energy crisis, it said.

The decision shows that Pakistan has decided to put its own interests ahead of the interests of all other nations and it is unwilling to sacrifice economy for the sake of the sole super power which has helped government gain global admiration, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

President Zardaris bold step will result in enhanced regional connectivity while balancing Pakistans relations with Iran and the Arab world to enhance our dignity among comity of nations, he added.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that slapping sanctions on Pakistan is against US interests, as it will have negative impact on war on terror and make US withdrawal from Afghanistan difficult.

He said that that American apathy towards Islamabads economic compulsions resulted in rapid developments related to the project, which have surprised many independent observers.

US continued to offer costly and unviable solutions to Pakistans energy problems including TAPI but it refused to sign a Civil Nuclear Agreement as she did with India which was discrimination with an important ally, Dr. Murtaza Mughal noted.

The decision will go a long way in ensuring energy security for Pakistan and improve our energy mix heavily tilted towards oil.

He warned that Iranian gas will of little use if government failed to introduce power sector reforms, attracted investment in exploration and cull circular debt.

Conversion of power plants to coal to save $5 billion per annum

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) said on Tuesday government should push power companies using furnace oil to switch to coal driven low prices, stability and vast supplies for years to come.

Coal is the cheapest and the most common fuel used to produce electricity and heat in the world, its share in worlds energy mix has hit record high with 5.4 per cent increase, it said.

With 1004 billion tonnes of known coal reserves left on earth and global consumption estimated at 9.98 billion tonnes per annum by 2030, Pakistan can become a major player with 175 billion tonnes of coal, said Farida Rashid, President IWCCI.

Thar coal is sufficient to meet our fuel requirements for centuries and help export electricity to regional countries opening door for prosperity but it remained largely ignored, she said.

Speaking to business community, she said that we are paying a very heavy price for running power plants on furnace oil and natural gas while the slow pace of the governments decision to convert some the furnace oil based power plants to coal is frustrating.

Conversion of furnace oil based power plants on Thar coal can save around 5 billion dollars of foreign exchange per annum as furnace oil imports stands at 40 per cent of total petroleum imports that are over 12 billion dollars.

Farida Rashid adding that switching on coal should be made easier for the private power producers seeking permission since long as conversion to imported coal will also save billions, she observed.

Conversion will cut oil import bill, reduce borrowings, clip subsidies and bring production cost down providing relief to domestic, commercial and industrial consumers, she added.

Farida Rashid said that conversion will also help cull circular debt which is biggest threat to the economy, bridge budgetary gap, make funds available for new investment on public welfare and power sector betterment and improve balance of payments position.

She said that some two billion dollars could also be saved by ensuring merit in provision of gas to the power plants, a decision implementable within an hour. This can be ensured by preferring most efficient power plants irrespective of the fact that they are state-owned or privately owned units.

Alternatively, government can take steps to improve productivity of inefficient public sector electricity generation companies which are preferred in provision of gas.

Business community believes that the resolution to power woes lies in conversion to relatively stable fuel because volatile global oil prices have resulted in huge circular debt and unmaintainable generation cost.

Government can consider asking IPPs to convert to coal, largest carbon-emitting energy source of all, otherwise the circular debt will soon cross Rs one trillion rupees mark, she warned.

Economy cannot be salvaged in presence of unstable power sector which is facing many problems none of which is impossible to solve.

Presently, coal is responsible for 41per cent of global electricity generation, with 1932 coal power plants, coal account for over 50 per cent of all US electric generation while India with 126 plants is expected to overtake America by 2025.

South Africas 93 per cent and China’s 68.7 per cent electricity comes from coal while Pakistans coal-based power production is insignificant. We should take steps to balance our energy mix and improve dismal per capita energy consumption to boost economy.

APCNGA demands 7-day gas supply across Pakistan

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Sunday sought 7-day gas supply to the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) filling stations across the stretch of the country as normal weather has subsided demand for the natural gas.

In a statement issued here today, Chairman of the Supreme Council APCNGA Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said that government must revisit loadshedding schedule for CNG sector to resume round-the-clock gas supply until next winter.

Government must end discrimination and provide relief to masses before the dissolution of the assemblies as we have braved unprecedented gas load shedding which took toll on daily life, economy and the foreign exchange reserves.

Ghiyas Paracha said that reduced demand of gas has improved the supply that can be confirmed from the record of gas distribution companies leaving government with no excuse to continue policy of unjust distribution of resources.

Regretting the continued silence of ministry of petroleum over proposals by APCNGA to get over gas crisis, he said that Government must take steps to rescue the CNG sector and ensure smooth sailing, especially in Punjab reeling under unfavourable policy of the centre based on political confrontation.

The leader of the CNG sector said that Punjab is being penalised by the policymakers and the largest province by population remained exposed to cruel loadshedding as compare to any other province. Reasons are not technical but political, he said.

Paracha said that foreign exchange reserved have touched alarming level while country is unable to sustain imports for two and a half months. In such a scenario, CNG can play a decisive role in cutting the import bill providing some much-needed fiscal space.

Rulers must realise that Pakistan is set to witness widespread political chaos if country fails to create one million jobs per annum without which survival of Pakistan and economic stability would remain far cry, he said.

The energy crisis and the way it is being handled since some years is adding to the vast army of unemployed posing great security threat to country, Paracha noted.

An independent commission should be formed to probe causes and consequences as well as macroeconomic implications of the energy crisis and choking CNG sector which may work as a wakeup call for the authorities who have worked on cross-purposes since years without any objection from the ruling elite.

He said that owners of the CNG filling stations would not accept intentionally engineered gas shortages anymore.

PSEs pushing country to bankruptcy

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said mounting losses in the politically managed Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) are pushing country towards bankruptcy.

Living on hefty bailout packages, not a single PSE has contributed anything but sheer disappointments over the decades, it said.

These companies being run by the non-professional and politically motivated managers have become hub of favouritism and corruption with little hope for revival, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

Governments use PSEs as a job creation tool to seek political mileage that in turn add to the losses in form of massive loans to pay salaries to an army of incompetent employees, he added.

He said that Pakistan International Airlines, marred with bad governance and misadministration, recently received Rs100 billion as bailout package while it has wasted around Rs 200 billion in last five years.

Estimates suggest that PSEs are wasting around 15 per cent of the total governments revenue which should be tackled immediately as collections have been sliding down since years.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that PSEs including PR, PSM, NHA, PEPCO, PASSCO, TCP, USC, receive over Rs300 billion as bailout packages annually with no improvement and continued wastage of fiscal resources which could have been used for bettering public services.

It can help government boost spending on critical sectors like health and education, he added.

Sometimes worst-run PSEs borrow more than what entire private sector of the country borrows from banks but they still make losses to the tune of billions while taxpayers money is used to keep them alive.

All the finance ministers of the incumbent government including Shaukat Tarin, Naveed Qamar, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Saleem Mandviwalla have failed to chalk out an effective strategy to turnaround the PSEs, said Dr. Mughal.

He said privatization of some PSEs might improve situation.

Inefficient CPPs inflicts Rs 70 billion loss annually on country

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Saturday questioned the policy of providing cheap gas to captive power plants (CPPs) to gain political favours which is causing a loss of Rs 70 billion to the public exchequer per annum.

The technology, efficiency, cost, consumption, production, and other parameters related to the CPPs are questionable, as industry has been using scrap plants in place of modern and better equipment, said Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, Chairman Supreme Council APCNGA.

The average efficiency of 113 CPPs, mostly installed in textile units, stands at 28 per cent meaning that they are wasting 72 per cent of the gas in the process of generating electricity, he said while speaking to APCNGAs central executive committee.

Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said that data of SSGC and SNGPL shows that CPPs are getting 454 mmcfd gas per day out of which 327 mmcfd is lost to inefficiency causing loss of around 19 crore per day.

Planning Commission and Ministry of Water and Power have termed primitive CPPs a major drain of indigenous hydrocarbon resources but to no avail, he said, adding that statements of crackdown against wasteful CPPs by ministry of petroleum is mere eyewash.

He said that government is pleasing owners of CPPs on the cost of domestic consumers, CNG, fertiliser and general industry. Many industries closed since long are being provided gas while the power generated through that gas is being sold to running industrial units without approval from Nepra which must be probed, he demanded.

He said that the silence of concerned departments on the issue is not only amazing but also criminal at a time when whole nation is reeling under power crisis.

The country would not have faced energy shortages of such magnitude if decision were taken on merit and the gas allocated to CPPs was provided to efficient power houses, he said.

Power generation companies are facing heavy losses as gas consumption as well as some 2000 mw load has been shifted to the unregulated gas gulping CPP sector which do not require a licence and have no performance and efficiency checks.

The policy has hiked operation and maintenance cost of the Discos, average tariff is going up while average sale declines causing losses to the government while CPPs thrive on economical gas and support of petroleum ministry.

Criticising the move to lower the efficiency benchmark for CPPs, Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha demanded a probe into the issue to fix responsibility on those who played havoc with the country for their personal welfare.

He demanded an immediate comprehensive and independent audit of captive power plants, banning Discos buying power from captives using cheap gas as fuel, and concrete steps to improve the efficiency and avoid wastage of precious natural resources in the national interest.

The government needs to increase gas price for CPPs by a minimum of 150 per cent to resolve all issues, ensure efficiency and reduce load shedding. There is a need for a well-integrated power policy which addresses the various issues to ensure an overall development of the sector and economy.

Call for national debate on risks associated with pipeline project

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) on Friday called for a national debate on risks associated with the Iran pipeline project.

We doubt will and ability of the government to ensure import of natural gas from Iran through a controversial pipeline, said Farida Rashid, President IWCCI.

Government claims to relieve country of energy crisis by importing natural gas from Iran, the quickest and cheapest way to fulfil our energy needs, remained confined to statements over the years, she said.

Speaking to women entrepreneurs, she said that in December 2012, President Zardari unexpectedly cancelled a trip to Iran due to US opposition to the project but now government has been issuing statements of rejecting US pressure days before dissolution of assemblies.

She said that all the statements of politicians claiming to reject US pressure on pipeline from gas surplus Iran are aimed at gaining popularity as country remained ill prepared to face US confrontation.

What took government to become aware of the political and economic risks posed by chronic power and gas shortages after five years of rule, asked Farida Rashid.

Why government did not initiate the project soon after coming to power which would have disallowed energy issue to undermine the countrys stability, helped revive economy and saved millions of jobs, she questioned.

Farida Rashid said that US would never allow Iran to increase its presence and influence and boost foreign exchange reserves at a time when west has imposed tighter sanctions on Tehran even if it means crumbling Pakistans economy, a long-time American ally.

Government should clarify how it would deal with tough US sanctions when country is heading towards a default due to mismanagement and corruption, she said.

We are facing a highly unstable balance of payment situation, forex reserves are at unsatisfactory level and government is unable to pay for imports for over sixty days which necessitates entering into a stand-by agreement with IMF, she added.

President of the IWCCI called upon a national debate on pros and cons of the project at a time Pakistan needs an IMF loan of 9-10 billion dollar loan from the IMF which will be impossible without US nod, she said.

Farida Rashid said that we will never have reliable energy supply from Iran unless US stop looking at the project from a political angle and start considering it imperative for survival of Pakistan.

Disorder in charity endangers future of students

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Wednesday said chaos in a well-known charity has put future of hundreds of students at stake.

Mismanagement and malpractices in a trust has raised concerns among parents of around fifteen hundred students getting education in the schools run by the trust, it said.

The health projects initiated by the trust are also being ignored owing to struggle in the charity, parents of the students told Abdullah Tariq, SVP, Pakistan Economy Watch.

The Chairman of Al Marifah Trust, Dr Sajjad ur Rehman has removed Managing Trustee and other two trustees. He also terminated administrator and other employees of the trust on charges of fraudulent activities, the parents told PEW.

The Chairman has also initiated legal proceedings against the trustees and the administrator, they added.

The trust has been running WISE schools and colleges where thousands of students are studying where the attention of administration has been diverted to politics.

Parents said that they are deeply concerned by reports of malpractices and misdirection which is damaging studies hence future of their children.

They called upon the concerned authorities to take note of the situation and order an external audit to ascertain as to who benefitted from donations worth millions of rupees attracted by the trust from unsuspecting donors.

NAB should discourage involvement of NGOs in the improper and dishonest use of funds with little to deliver, Abdullah Tariq demanded.

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