Sep 292017
 

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has announced to extend the last date for filing annual income tax returns by one month after the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) received a little over just 200,000 returns by the end of September 29. The number of returns filed till the last working day of the month was just 17% of the total returns filed in the last fiscal year. The date has been extended till October 31 for individuals, associations of persons and companies, according to the finance ministry. One of the reasons for the low number of returns was the failure of FBR’s Income Tax Policy in timely finalizing the return forms. Against a registered 4.3 million people, only 1.2 million filed their income and assets statements in the last year, showing weak enforcement. A recent study of the World Bank has estimated that Pakistan suffers an annual tax loss of Rs3.2 trillion due to weak enforcement and low compliance by taxpayers. The post Deadline to file income tax returns extended by a month appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

May 042017
 
The Dasu project

The government has started a number of hydropower projects to maximise power generation. This was necessary to tackle the energy crisis in the country. Recently, an agreement between Wapda and a Chinese firm has been signed to carry out work on the Dasu Hydropower Project. The project is to be completed in two phases. The first phase will be completed by 2021 and is expected to generate above 2,000MW of energy. The project is financed by Wapda along with partial funding of the World Bank. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has also approved the government’s guarantee for commercial financing of $360 million for the project. The project, when completed, will contribute significantly to resolving the energy crisis in the country. The government should take more such steps to provide much-needed relief to the people. It is hoped that the country will soon be free from unscheduled loadshedding. Aamer A Najmee Lahore Click for detailed story

Jan 192017
 
Pakistan asks India, World Bank to inform it of all future hydel projects

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has asked the World Bank and India to inform Islamabad of all the dams and hydropower projects proposed to be built by New Delhi on the western rivers, and not just the two projects under dispute currently, so that the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) could be followed smoothly in future, an inter-ministerial meeting presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was told on Thursday. Ministers and other representatives of the ministries of water and power, foreign affairs and law and justice, the Attorney General’s Office and civil and military experts attended the meeting. Pakistan’s executive director in the World Bank, Nasir Mehmood Khosa, attended the meeting as a special invitee and the water and power secretary briefed all those present on the ongoing dispute with India.Editorial: Water wars The meeting observed that the president of the World Bank had drawn up the lots for appointment of umpires for a court of arbitration before it had put on hold the process about two months ago. “This meant that the World Bank was convinced and had accepted Pakistan’s position,” said Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf. Pakistan’s stance was that not only the two schemes under dispute at the moment — the Kishanganga and Ratle projects — but technical and other details of all the upcoming projects should be shared with the World Bank and Pakistan, along with their designs and locations, so that Islamabad could examine them in a manner that they did not create problems every now and then and [Read More…]

Sep 082016
 
Islamabad: September 8, 2016

Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar said that widespread micronutrient deficiencies are major issue today, for our children to attain full potential and contribute optimally to the development of the country and It is my firm belief and also evidence suggests, where multi-sctoral approach has been adopted, nutrition situation has been improved significantly. While she was addressing the Launching Ceremony of Food Fortification Programme She said Ministry of National Health Services has constituted a multi-stakeholder platform the National Fortification Alliance to strengthen coordination among different government departments, regulatory bodies, development partners and industry. She said we have also expanded this alliance to provinces and its provincial chapters have also been constituted to support implementation of fortification interventions at province. She added that we have already an example of great success under this alliance where the Micronutrient Initiative, World Food Program and other stakeholders worked closely with the ministry to reduce iodine deficiency disorders through universal salt iodization. She said Food fortification is an easy and cost effective solution to address deficiency of minerals and vitamins. We could reach population at large without making any change in the eating habits of our people. The fortification of wheat flour with iron and folic acid and Edible oil/ghee with vitamin A&D would help us reduce the hidden hunger from our population. Our women and children would be prevented from deficiencies of these essential micronutrients which are imperative for good health and nutrition. She said Food Fortification Program has a great potential [Read More…]

Aug 272016
 

ISLAMABAD: Around 110,000 premature deaths in Pakistan are the result of exposure to air pollution. The country ranks third in the world for most premature deaths. A couple of years back, the World Bank had asked Pakistan to take immediate measures to reduce the level of outdoor pollution to protect the health of its citizens from further damage. But the country’s seriousness in fighting pollution could be gauged from the fact that its premier lab for air pollution sampling and analysis has not been operational for the last six years. A special grant of Rs18 million allocated for the lab’s revival in January also lapsed in June. The Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Central Laboratory for Environmental Analysis (CLEAN) was set up in Islamabad in 2007 at a cost of Rs713.3705 million with the help of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), but it has not been operational since 2010. The facility, which aims to establish a basis for a nationwide analysis of environmental pollution and to enhance technical capacity of the environmental watchdog, consists of a main lab, an air and water lab, a stack emission data centre and a microbiological lab with equipment capable of testing industrial and municipal waste as well as air pollution. Equipment bought for the facility and sub-facilities has been gathering dust at the EPA’s head office and provincial stations. The equipment has not been used since the Ministry of Environment was devolved to the provinces in 2010. The lax attitude of the EPA and [Read More…]

Jul 182016
 
Kisan Package Will Result In Development Of Agri Sector And Prosperity Of Farmers: Shehbaz Sharif

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has said that agriculture is the backbone of national economy and Punjab government has announced a historic package of 100 billion rupees for progress of agriculture and prosperity of farmers. He said that implementation of the package will leave a far-reaching impact on agri sector. He said that the elements involved in the trade of spurious pesticides will not be spared and an indiscriminate crackdown will be launched against them. He was presiding over a high level meeting regarding implementation of Kisan Package, here today. Provincial Minister for Agriculture Dr. Farrukh Javed, Secretary Agriculture, Chairman Punjab Information Technology Board, Chairman Chief Minister’s Taskforce on Information and concerned officers were present in the meeting. The Chief Minister said that progress of agriculture and prosperity of farmers is the foremost priority of the government and federal and provincial governments have announced an unprecedented package for the development of agriculture sector and uplift of cultivators. He said that Punjab government has announced Kisan Package of 100 billion rupees and its implementation will result in prosperity of farmers and progress of the country. Shehbaz Sharif said that government is fully aware of the loss suffered by farmers in the past and Kisan Package will compensate these losses. He said that farmers will fully benefit from Kisan Package and will strive for development of agriculture sector and increase in per acre yield. He said that Punjab government has also evolved a big programme of provision of interest-free loan to [Read More…]

Jun 252016
 

ISLAMABAD: A World Bank report lowered on Saturday the progress rating of the first phase of 2,160MW Dasu hydropower project, moving it down to ‘moderately satisfactory’ from its previous ‘satisfactory’ status. The federal government failed to resolve a host of land related issues, including ones on land acquisition and payment of service charges with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government. The latest implementation status report of the WB-funded project also raised the specter of unwanted delays. Lingering land-related issues highlighted the flawed government policy of starting major development projects without doing adequate spadework. The government preferred 4,320MW Dasu hydropower project over Diamer-Bhasha dam and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was initially keen to inaugurate its first phase before the end of his five-year term in 2018. The Dasu project is one of the projects expected to produce 31,000MW of power that the federal government claimed it would complete in next five years to address power outages, on a permanent basis. Its newest deadline for ending power outages is March 2018. The current overall implementation progress on phase-I of the Dasu hydropower project is ‘moderately satisfactory’, a notch down from the previous rating, the WB report showed. The project, however, retained ‘satisfactory’ rating in terms of expanding the hydropower supply in Pakistan. WB financing is critical for the timely completion of the project’s first phase that has a total cost of $4.3 billion. The bank has already approved $588.4 million for the scheme. It has also given guarantees of $460 million to raise about $2.5 billion [Read More…]

Jun 222016
 
MOS review of the countrys Progress towards Polio eradication

National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar chaired a high level meeting in the Ministry to review the progress of Pakistan’s Polio eradication programme during the just concluded low transmission season. Besides Director General Dr. Assad Hafeez, and other senior officers of the Ministry, the meeting was also attended by Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, National Coordinator, Dr. Salah Haithemi, WHO team lead, Mr. Aidan Oleary, UNICEF team lead, Dr. Tim Peterson, Deputy Director Gates Foundation and Brig. Kamal Soomro, Coordinator N-STOP. Dr. Safdar, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operation Centre briefed the participants on program progress and also shared remaining obstacles and opportunities. The support to the ‘One Team led by the Government’ working under network of emergency operation centres provided by the Government functionaries as well as the Global partnership at all levels was unprecedented and one major factor behind the turnaround seen in 2015 and 2016, he said. Sharing continued decline in case count and proportion of positive environmental samples, the Coordinator paid rich tribute to the country team and frontline workers for vaccinating 280 million children during nine campaign conducted in the low transmission season. The successful IPV-OPV campaigns in targeted high risk areas of Karachi, Khyber Peshawar and Quetta block helped in quick immunity boosting of approximately 3 million vulnerable children. The community based vaccination and health camps helped in enhanced community ownership of the programme interventions. The meeting was also apprised of the remaining challenges faced by the programme in Karachi, north Sindh and southern KP. [Read More…]

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