Archive for April, 2015

Punjab health authorities hurting patients for personal gains

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Irregularities detected in purchase of hepatitis medicine in Punjab
Unlawful deal would deprive thousands of patients of benefit of treatment
Collusion with companies facing corruption changes in various countries unearthed

Substantial irregularities have been detected in the purchase of hepatitis medicine by Punjab health department discriminating local industry and depriving thousands of poor patients of benefit of treatment.
According to the details provincial government had allocated 2.44 billion rupees to be spend for prevention and control of hepatitis in three years as every 13th person is infected with either hepatitis B or C with majority living in Punjab.
A decision was taken to spend Rs 750 million in the first year and the health authorities of Punjab decided purchase medicine from multinationals on double cost ignoring local pharmaceuticals.

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Xi visit boosts morale of entire nation

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The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Thursday said Chinese President Xi Jinping’s two-day state visit has boosted the morale of entire nation.
The visit and 51 deals signed during his visit is not only rare opportunity but a test for Pakistan, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.
He said that Pakistan will never get such a great opportunity therefore government must take concrete steps and initiate reforms to make agreements a reality.
China has again proved to be a selfless friend at a time when no country or foreign investor is ready to invest in Pakistan and all important countries have made Pakistan a punching bag, he added.

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Gas companies ‘conspiring’ against LNG policy

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Pakistan Economy Watch says gas companies and some departments are working hand in glove to foil the government’s LNG plans
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Tuesday said some influential businessmen and gas distribution utilities are conspiring to fail LNG policy framed to tame energy crisis.
Some of the gas consuming sectors have lost interest in using LNG while opposition to the deal due to allegations of corruption, unnecessary secrecy and undisclosed pricing continue to gain momentum at various levels, said Dr Murtaza Mughal, president PEW. He said that LNG is being bought at a very high rate as compared to international market, which is of no use to some sectors, which had expressed extreme interest in it.

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Supreme Court asked to take note of wheat scam

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National interests compromised to benefit few influential
Influential politicians patronising mafia should be taken to task

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday asked the Supreme Court to look into wheat scam which benefitted few at the cost of millions of farmers, consumers and public exchequer.
Government allowed import of wheat despite bumper crops since two years and surplus stocks giving opportunity to private sector and flour mills mafia to dump seven lakh tonnes of substandard wheat.
The import destabilised local market forcing farmers to sell their commodity at reduced rates and transformed issue of surplus stock into a national concern, it said.

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Efforts to introduce genetically modified seed criticised

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Imported seed to devastate farmers, agriculture sector
Using seeds of deception amounts to suicide
The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Wednesday criticised renewed determination by the government to introduce genetically modified seed which has proved to be harmful for human health, livestock and environment.
Large scale introduction of the seed through law without detailed study into its pros and cons may result devastate agriculture sector, it said.
Policymakers should not impose their will on farmers which will benefit an influential multination’s on the cost of agriculture sector, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

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PEW points towards inconsistency in the LNG deal

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Kickbacks to the tune of billions feared in the import of gas
LNG policy compromised to benefit a banker and stockbroker
The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Monday said kickbacks to the tune of billions have been feared in the LNG import deal which can jeopardise the energy future of the country.
Authorities have been violating the LNG Policy in a bid to benefit a mafia comprising a banker, a stockbroker and others, it said.
Pakistan is paying almost two dollars extra to buy one mmbtu of LNG hiking cost of first shipment of LNG comprising 140,000 tonnes or 72, 80,000 mmbtu by almost Rs. 1.5 billion rupees, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.
He said that if three million tonnes of LNG was imported annually as per the plan it will translate into losses of almost Rs 31 billion rupees which will damage economy but benefit the influential individuals.

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TDAP failed to find export markets for surplus wheat: PEW

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Surplus stock to give racketeers opportunity to exploit growers
Farmers facing triple whammy of rains, slow buying and profiteers

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) hasn’t paid attention to find export markets for surplus wheat which will destabilise local market and pave way for exploitation of farmers.
Wheat crop has been badly hit by rain in many areas while slow buying by the authorities due to lack of storage capacity is giving opportunity to profiteers to exploit farmers, it said.
The surplus stock may hit mark of ten million tonnes of which a part will be wasted due to insufficient and substandard storage capacities, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

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Legality of ECC recent decisions questioned: pew

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The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday questioned legality of decisions taken by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet in its meeting held on April 09.
The decisions were taken in consultation with a member and two other senior officials of Ogra who were invited to the meeting despite the April 06 decision of the Islamabad High Court declaring the regulator dysfunctional, it said.
The government not only invited Ogra officials to the meeting but included a member Ogra in the LNG pricing committee and issued directives to amend Ogra rules which is contempt of court, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.
He said that a dysfunctional institution cannot modify rules and that conduct of ECC has put a question mark on the legality of the decisions taken in the meeting.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that a division bench of IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Amir Farooq not only stopped Ogra from functioning but also declared orders and steps the authority took so far were without a lawful authority.

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Agriculture, livestock sector being ignored: PEW

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The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday said banks continue to ignore agriculture sector which is keeping farmers poor and dependent on informal lenders offering costly loans.
Around seventy percent of the farmers are dependent on parallel financial system working in rural areas as banks avoid advancing loans to this important segment despite best efforts of SBP, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.
The agriculture and livestock sectors comprising 44 percent population and 21 percent share in GDP gets 6.5 percent of all the loans issued by the commercial banks which is insufficient to bring a change in the lives of farmers.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that ratio of default among farmers has come down to one percent from eighteen percent but it has not pressed the financial sector to think positively about it.

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Delayed refunds hurting environment, exports

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Fake cases being fabricated against exporters to hold back payments
The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said authorities have failed to provide enabling environment to exporters which will result in missed export target.
Country is set to miss export target of $27 billion frustrating all the efforts aimed at improving balance of payment situation.
At one hand the FBR has stopped payment of refunds surpassing Rs 100 billion while on the other fake refund claims are processed and released immediately, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.
He said that fake cases are fabricated against exporters to delay refunds while the Export Development Fund dubbed as extortion by exporters is being misused since years.

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New sugar mills to spell disaster for industry: PSMA

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Sugarcane price should not be fixed but linked to quality
Govt inaction keep country entangled in sugar crisis: Iskandar Khan

Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) on Thursday demanded complete ban on setting up new sugar mills in country as current capacity is sufficient to cater for the needs of country for next forty years.
Establishing new sugar mills is counterproductive as 84 mills in different parts of country are already producing surplus while government has to spend billions for export of surplus sugar, said Chairman PSMA Iskander Khan.
He said that sugar mills are not operating according to capacity while new mills would push sugar industry to meet the fate of CNG industry where Rs 450 billion investments are under constant threat.
Talking to Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President of the Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW), Khan said that sugar mills are governed through obsolete laws framed in 1950 which is a reason behind continual sugar crises in Pakistan.
Lauding the decision of the government to provide subsidy worth Rs 10 per kg to the sugar mills, Iskander Khan termed it necessary to keep the troubled industry afloat. However, he opined that providing subsidy to growers in place of millers would be a better option. read more…

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