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Posts Tagged ‘business news’

Oct
20

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The central bank pumped in Rs325.00bn into the banking system on Sept 08, in the open market operation. The injection was made in a one day contract at 5.80pc. The central bank had received bids worth Rs341.50bn.

According to the weekly statement of position of all scheduled banks for the week ended Aug 19, deposits and other accounts of all scheduled banks stood at Rs10,165.79bn after a 0.41pc fall over the preceding week’s figure of Rs10,207.59bn. Compared with last year’s corresponding figure of Rs9,020.41bn, the current week’s figure was higher by 12.70pc.

Deposits and other accounts of all commercial banks stood at Rs10,109.37bn against preceding week’s deposits of Rs10,151.25bn, showing a decrease of 0.41pc. Deposits and other accounts of specialised banks stood at Rs56.43bn, up 0.20pc against previous week’s figure of Rs56.31bn.


Bank borrowing rose by 21.43pc against the previous week


Total assets of all scheduled banks stood at Rs13,891.38bn, higher by 1.93pc over preceding week’s figure of Rs13,627.94bn. Current week’s figure is higher by 9.55pc compared to last year’s corresponding figure of Rs12,679.83bn.

Total assets of all commercial banks stood at Rs13,666.16bn, higher by 1.96pc over previous week’s figure of Rs13,403.46bn, while total assets of specialised banks at Rs225.23bn, were higher 0.33pc over the previous week’sRs224.48bn.

Gross advances of all scheduled banks stood at Rs5,040.71bn, smaller by 0.13pc over the preceding week’s figure of 5,047.52bn. Compared with last year’s corresponding figure of Rs4,566.00bn, current week’s figure is higher by 10.40pc.

Advances by all commercial banks fell to Rs4,877.07bn from previous week’s Rs4,884.05bn indicating a fall of 0.15pc, whereas advances of specialised banks stood at Rs163.63bn against previous week’s 163.47bn.

Borrowings by all scheduled banks increased in the week under review. It rose by 21.43pc to Rs1,742.68bn against previous week’s Rs1,435.13bn. Compared to last year’s corresponding figure of Rs1,696.38bn, current week’s figure is larger by 2.73pc.

Borrowings by commercial banks in the week at Rs1,665.24bn were higher by 22.58pc against previous week’s Rs1,358.52bn. Borrowings by specialised banks stood at Rs77.44bn against the previous week’s Rs76.61bn.

Investments of all scheduled banks stood at Rs7,114.16bn against preceding week’s figure of Rs6,962.69bn, showing a rise of 2.18pc. Compared to last year’s corresponding figure of Rs6,293.03bn, current week’s figure is higher by 13.05pc.

Chart by Rehan Ahmed
Chart by Rehan Ahmed

Investments by all commercial banks stood at Rs7,071.73bn, higher by 2.20pc against preceding week’s figure of Rs6,919.64bn, whereas investment by all specialised banks stood at Rs42.44bn against preceding week’s figure of Rs43.05bn.

Cash and balances with treasury banks of all scheduled banks increased over the week and stood at Rs8,26.51bn against previous week’s Rs758.18bn, showing an increase of 9.01pc. Current week’s figure increased by 13.16pc compared to last year’s corresponding figure of Rs730.38bn.

Cash and balances of all commercial banks stood at Rs823.76bn, higher by 9.12pc over previous week’s Rs754.94bn. Cash and balances of all specialised banks were smaller by 15.04pc at Rs2.75bn against the preceding week’s Rs3.24bn.

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Oct
20

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The Pakistan State Oil (PSO) on Thursday denied any imminent fuel shortage in the country and assured smooth transition to new fuels in due course of time.

“Pakistan State Oil refutes the impression that is being created by some circles that there will be shortage of fuel in the country in the next few days owing to the decision of the government to import higher grades of Mogas and compliance of the same by all Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs),” said a statement released by the national oil company.

The statement added that as opposed to the claims made; the company has sufficient quantities of Mogas and assures the public that there will be no shortage of fuel for its customers at PSO outlets across the nation.

“PSO does not operate on short term gains or minimise its stocks and will continue to honour its commitment of fuelling the nation under all circumstances irrespective of commercial benefit to itself as our topmost priority and commitment is to keep the wheels of the country running.”

High Octane Blending Content (HOBC) sold in Pakistan is RON 97. The local refineries, except for Attock RON 87, will be producing RON 90 petrol from the beginning of November 2016 as well, the statement added.

The policy steps taken are a paradigm shift for Pakistan’s oil industry and provision of clean fuels will assist the climate change plans of the country.

PSO assured the people of Pakistan that the transition to new improved quality fuels will be a smooth one, it was further pointed out.

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Oct
18

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There are two elements for small businesses’ security: firstly, information technology (IT) security, and secondly, physical security. Securing IT infrastructure in Pakistan is quite easy.

Off-the-shelf systems and even capable vendors are readily available. However, what’s important to understand is how your online presence impacts your physical security.

Continue Reading…

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Oct
17

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Pakistan maintains one of the world’s largest centralised citizen databases, which continues to expand at an unprecedented rate. This mammoth task sounds impressive, but it also raises concerns about the vulnerability of our data.

There is no denying the database’s utility. Multi-layered digitisation of big data can offer guarantees for greater transparency. Indeed, in the best-case scenario, sophisticated mobilisation of big data can refine the state’s service delivery mechanisms.

The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), for instance, is one biometric transition success story in Pakistan.

The BISP’s increasing automation reflects how biometric verification of credentials acknowledges the non-static, dynamic nature of data. The programme facilitates nearly 5.3 million women in accessing welfare support through real-time thumbprint recognition.

On the other end, insufficient legal safeguards to curb abuse of surveillance knowledge by law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) raises red flags.

These concerns are not unfounded considering the exceedingly vigilant security regime under which rights defenders, citizen activists, and journalists operate in Pakistan’s data territory.

Given the size of biometrically-contained human records in the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) repository and the extent to which data-sharing occurs across, between, and beyond government agencies and LEAs, the scale of this vulnerability is likely to be huge.

Read: CNIC re-verification hit by major technical snag

With Computerised National Identification Cards (CNICs) as testaments of having our consolidated biometric data stored with principally a single entity; and with an inevitably recurrent use of this CNIC and of biometrically-registered SIM cards while conducting our daily consumer mobility and monetary interactions, the ideals of free movement and of unmonitored human communication for the citizens, are breached in their fundamental.

It can be rationally imagined that only when surveillance on communications is regulated exhaustively and when limitations on the jurisdiction of this surveillance are very thoroughly defined – which is possible when there are efficient legal protections accessible to all citizens indiscriminately – the privacy of citizens and the democratic guarantees that their personal data are not exploited, will not be threatened.

The desperate need for biometric data management

The simple fact is that biometric data management is yet to mature.

Accidental data leakage, forgery with identification documents leading to identification theft and duplication, and inaccuracies in the handling of even legitimate documents, are insecurities of scale and have incredible damaging externalities.

Risks associated with these externalities become more profound in the intricate dynamics — including a refugee management crisis, an overwhelming population, and a climate of intense censorship — of countries like Pakistan.

These challenges are exacerbated when infrastructure and staff competencies in the use of biometric technology are not adequate and thorough.

Explore: Afghan refugees’ children can’t get CNICs: Nisar

Opportunities which biometric data amassment has to offer, merit a pragmatic acknowledgement of existing structural and legal voids which prevent the prioritisation of the protection of individual privacy, and which continue to generate pressing questions on the efficacy of this technology for public development and responsive governance.

Mass-scale surveillance and the law

In Pakistan, the space for an autonomous Privacy Commission gains prominence to respond to the critical need for the examination of an exceptionally large surveillance data.

This need grows further in the scenario where the government is investing heavily in mass-scale digital surveillance of its citizens and visitors through projects like the Punjab Safe Cities Project (PSCP).

The PSCP will reportedly have more than 8,000 cameras installed across its premises, and is now being extended to include Rawalpindi, Multan, Gujranwala, and Faisalabad.

Similarly, the Islamabad Safe City Project (ISCP) gives LEAs sweeping intrusive powers through 24 hours of intensively-networked, real-time virtual monitoring with around 1,800 high definition Huawei CCTV cameras worth over Rs13 billlion installed in the capital city and connected to Nadra’s centralised biometric repository.

As shared by ISCP project director Dr Tahir Akram with Dawn, the project’s command centre will be able to “monitor every car coming out of any residential sector in Islamabad”.

Read: Operators to spend more on Sim verification drive

This arrangement between safe city projects and Nadra affords the kind of arbitrariness to data handlers that pervasively encroaches on the civil freedom of sociopolitically vulnerable sections of the citizenry, to claim anonymity.

It therefore becomes important to question what guarantees are being supplied for the protection of this surveillance data during its retention with Nadra, and what extent of this retention carries involvement of Huawei’s equipment.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 and the way forward

The recently-enacted Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA, 2016) further legitimises the demand for independent data protection authorities and an increased jurisdiction of the National Commission for Human Rights as also outlined in the 2015 Charter of Demands jointly prepared by digital rights organisations Bytes for All, Pakistan, and Media Matters for Democracy.

Simultaneously, it is crucially significant that the data-handling and investigative capacities of FIA’s National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes, are rapidly evaluated and optimised. This will ensure that PECA is enforced keeping in view the local dynamics where the government has still not rolled out enough campaigns for the purpose of educating the cyberspace occupiers in the country about the legal implications of this law on their cyber rights and responsibilities.

A glaring void currently exists between the extensive criminalisation of the Internet landscape that PECA’s enactment has mobilised into law and the public’s nascent information and comprehension of the intricacies of its legalities.

Equally concerning is that PECA’s language contains considerable opportunity for the subjectivity of the investigating regulator to claim a determinant jurisdiction.

Explore: The state bytes back: Internet surveillance in Pakistan

In the backdrop of Pakistan’s dictatorial history with digital censorship and the political exploitation of the blasphemy law, to invest potentially unmonitored authority in a regulatory body, will make the ambiance of cyber expression only more precarious.

To refer to PECA as ‘archaic’ is no exaggeration.

In its quite expansive coverage and criminalisation of cyber activism, it criminalises the act of whistleblowing. It also makes highly controversial way for a warrantless collection of one’s personal digital data and its reproduction to Pakistan’s foreign cooperation partners.

With now a fiercer surveillance regime in place, Pakistan currently experiences one of the world’s most desperate urgencies to ensure the presence and preparedness of an assertive oversight and transparency regime.

In terms of transparency, it is expected of the federal and provincial governments to educate the public on the use of their Right to Information for greater documentation on surveillance practices, to be brought into the public domain.

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Oct
17

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THE textile industry is in a dilemma as cotton trade between Pakistan and India has been hit by a rise in border tension; and traders across the border, being uncertain of future developments, are not entering into new deals.

Pakistan’s Cotton Commissioner Khalid Abdullah says a low quantum of trade activity is still taking place. The government has not asked importers to stop buying cotton from India but many of them are not buying on their own as a gesture of national solidarity. However, Indian exporters are refusing to sell at their government’s behest although they would be the losers.

Pakistani spinners are the biggest buyers of Indian fibre. Fewer imports by Pakistan this year could hurt Indian exports, raise their prices and help rival cotton exporters like Brazil, the United States and some African countries. For Pakistan’s industry, buying the raw material from other sources may prove costly owing to long distance freight. In fact, the situation is in a wait-and see mode. Cotton trade between the two countries is worth $822m a year.


Pakistan’s Cotton Commissioner Khalid Abdullah says a low quantum of cotton trade activity is still taking place


Another victim of high political temperature is vegetables. According to Times of India, traders from the Indian state of Gujarat have decided to stop supplying vegetables to Pakistan.

Gujarat used to send 50 trucks having 10 tonnes of vegetables, mainly tomatoes and chilli, to Pakistan via the Wagah border. This is the first time in almost two decades that Gujarat’s exporters have halted the supply of essential vegetables to Pakistan. The commission agents say they will not resume exports till the normalisation of relations.

The suspension in cotton trade comes at a time when Pakistan’s cotton crop has recorded an overall decrease of 15pc over the last year, adding to the industry’s woes. Pakistan, the world’s third-largest cotton consumer, starts importing from September, but this time there has been little activity so far.

In the 2015-16 fiscal year ending on March 31 in India, official trade between the two was $2.6bn with cotton being a major component. However, in the crop year that ended on September 30, Pakistan was India’s biggest cotton buyer after its own crop was hit by drought and whitefly pest. According to an estimate, Pakistan will need to import at least three million bales in 2016-17.

The Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC), on Oct 7, estimated that the output for 2016-17 stood at 11.039m bales.Participants were informed that the lower output was mainly due to effects of climate change on the crop, besides pests like pink bollworm and whitefly. The crop output in Punjab is estimated at 7.3m bales, with each bale weighing 170 kilograms.The crop size of Sindh is estimated at 3.7m bales.

The representative of growers from Punjab agreed to the assessment whereas the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association chairman was of the opinion that the crop size in Punjab was about 7.5-8m bales. Cotton sowing has registered a decrease of 21pc in Punjab while it has risen by 2pc in Sindh. The crop size is assessed on the basis of data provided by provincial governments.

Meanwhile, Afghan President’s special envoy and Ambassador to Pakistan, Dr Omar Zakhilwal, has refuted reports that Kabul has shut down the land route for Pakistani trucks going to Central Asian states through its territory. Ashraf Ghani had threatened, last month, to shut Pakistan’s transit route to Central Asian countries if it did not allow Afghan traders to use the Wagah border for trade with India. Pakistani trucks, the envoy says, can deliver transit goods directly to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan via Afghanistan.

It is interesting to note that in a highly charged political atmosphere, trade in other commodity goods has not been affected. The inward flow of Indian goods into Karachi’s major commodity and grocery markets, in old city areas which form the hub of the country’s wholesale trade, continues uninterrupted without any increase in prices or shortage of goods.

Shopkeepers selling Indian cosmetics and jewellery are doing business as usual because of their smooth flow and easy availability. The war-like situation has not affected their business. Not only is the arrival of goods from India normal, even exports are taking place at the usual pace. Pulses, spices and dried fruits continue to land in Pakistan, with these items not having faced any shortage in the wholesale market so far.

Trade balance between the two countries is in favour of India. In 2015-2016, exports from Pakistan to India dropped to $400m from $415m in 2014-2015. India’s exports to Pakistan surged 27pc to $1.8bn over the same period.

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Chairman Aamir Fayyaz says that since now the textile industry has become highly dependent on imported cotton, duties and taxes on import of cotton would make the entire value chain uncompetitive. The situation calls for the withdrawal of 4pc customs duty and 5pc sales tax on the import of cotton. He wants the government to resolve the textile industry’s issues and enable it to undertake investment worth $1bn per annum.

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Oct
09

After a 2005 video of Donald Trump making salacious comments about women surfaced on Friday, some prominent Republicans are calling on their nominee to drop out of the race.

That would launch a series of events unprecedented in a presidential race.

And it wasn’t the first time conservatives have suggested Trump’s resignation.

In August, the right-leaning Wall Street Journal editorial board published a scathing op-ed calling on Trump to mature his campaign style or hand the nomination to his running mate, Mike Pence.

But the scandals have continued. In the new, vulgar video, published by The Washington Post on Friday, Trump discussed trying to “f—” a married woman and wanting to kiss an actress he was about to appear with on “Days of Our Lives.”

“And when you’re a star they let you do it,” Trump continued. “You can do anything. … Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything.”

Republicans all the way up to the chairman of the National Committee, Reince Priebus, condemned Trump for his comments. And then some started asking him to step aside. Top GOP Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois said Trump “should drop out,” and the RNC “should engage rules for emergency replacement.”

“In a campaign cycle that has been nothing but a race to the bottom — at such a critical moment for our nation — and with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Governor Pence to lead the ticket,” former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman told the Salt Lake Tribune a week after finally endorsing Trump.

donald trump mike pence

© Provided by Business Insider Inc donald trump mike pence

Three-term Republican Governor of New York George Pataki tweeted: “[Trump’s] campaign is a poisonous mix of bigotry and ignorance. Enough! He needs to step down.”

A.J. Spiker, a former Iowa GOP chair and adviser to Sen. Rand Paul’s PAC, said Trump was “unfit for public office.” “Donald Trump should resign as the Republican nominee for president,” he tweeted.

So what would happen in the extremely unlikely scenario that Trump quit the race? We took a look.

Can Trump give Pence the nomination?

mike pence donald trump

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Whether Trump was hypothetically forced out or decided to drop out, a messy transition would ensue.

“I don’t think he’s going to step aside,” Alex Keyssar, a political historian at Harvard University, told Business Insider in August.

But the fact that people are even suggesting that Trump should, Keyssar said, has never happened before at the presidential level.

“This is the first time any such discussion has really occurred,” he said.

If Trump did decide to quit, Pence would not automatically receive the Republican nomination, Ballotpedia’s Charles Aull, an expert on the presidential race and its many rules, told Business Insider in August.

The GOP would have to go through a formal process.

How could the GOP replace Trump?

The Republican National Committee’s rules say it can fill any candidate vacancies that occur because of “death, declination, or otherwise” by either reconvening all 2,472 delegates to vote at another convention, or by letting its 168-member body decide via majority vote.

In the latter scenario, each member would get a certain number of votes based on the population of the state they represent.

Aull said this is much more likely, because reconvening another convention would be a logistical nightmare. And at this point, we’ve probably run out of time for another one, anyway.

Who would replace him?

If this happened, Aull said, choosing Pence would be the least controversial option (as opposed to former presidential nominees Gov. John Kasich or Sen. Ted Cruz), because he was already approved by Trump and chosen at the convention.

This choice could give some Republicans a sense of relief, Keyssar said, encouraging some voters who don’t want to vote for the candidates from either party a reason to cast their ballots on Election Day instead of staying home.

Could the RNC say, ‘You’re Fired’?

Republican National Convention Texas

© Provided by Business Insider Inc Republican National Convention Texas

A small subset of people have called for the RNC to use an extreme interpretation of the phrase “or otherwise” in the rules for replacing a candidate as a way to forcibly remove Trump from the nomination.

The RNC could also rewrite its rules to force him out, which would take even more time. That’s pretty unlikely.

It could be the only way to get Trump off the ticket, though, since most presidential nominees don’t simply drop out, Keyssar said.

“I think it’s usually the case that you can assume that people who run for an office actually want to hold the office,” he said. “They would not step aside, especially with the presidency. It’s fulfilling their lifetime ambition.”

If Trump didn’t go willingly, he would probably sue the RNC if they use this “otherwise” clause and take the nomination away from him. Then it would be up to the courts to decide whom the nominee should be.

Since we’re getting into serious hypotheticals here: If Trump, or any candidate, committed a major crime, he or she could still legally run for president. There’snothing in the US Constitution banning alleged felons from running for office. Socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs even received one-million votes from behind bars in 1920.

If Trump, or whoever, were then convicted, the vice president might have to take over (if the new Republican nominee won the White House, that is). Or maybe he could pardon himself — we really don’t have precedent for that ludicrous scenario.

Is it too late to get rid of Trump?

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A formal re-selection process would take at least a couple weeks, and time is ticking down to Election Day on November 8.

Most states have their own ballot deadlines for presidential elections so people casting absentee ballots can vote for the correct candidates. We’ve flown past those.

Not only are the ballots locked in with Trump’s name on the ticket, but early absentee voting has already started in several states, and several more will join in the coming days. The election is 31 days from Friday.

That means that if the RNC does replace Trump, his name would still appear on absentee ballots, and likely on the ballots voters cast in person on Election Day — not the new nominee selected by the party.

This could be incredibly confusing for voters who would want to vote for Pence, but would have to select Trump on the ballot, political scientist Josh Putnam told The Washington Post.

Several ballot deadlines have already passed, and more are coming up this week.

Another state-specific hurdle would come up after the election.

When voters select a candidate, they are really telling members of the Electoral College in their state to vote for that candidate. In some states, the electors can choose whomever they want for president. Others require they vote for a party based on popular vote. And in a third set, electors are legally bound to vote for the name on the ballot.

It’s this third category where the Republican Party would have to go to court to transfer the votes for Trump to the replacement. That would be even more time consuming and “messy.”

What if Trump steps aside the day after the election?

We have a Constitution for that one.

The 20th Amendment says: “If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified.”

In that case, Trump could effectively “choose” Pence to take over if the voters vote him into office and he then decides to step aside.

If any of that happens, could Pence win?

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© Provided by Business Insider Inc pence for prez trending hard

During the vice presidential debate on Tuesday, Google traffic soared for people searching “Pence for president.” And a poll Friday pegged him as the way-too-early frontrunner for the nomination.

Polls and pundits agreed the Republican vice presidential nominee won the debate, and cast Trump’s ticket in a softer, more reasonable light. A poll on Wednesday even showed he was the 2020 frontrunner for president.

For some voters, Keyssar said, replacing Trump could be a bad idea. Most of his supporters are loyal to him and could feel betrayed by the RNC if it attempted to replace him with someone else.

But for others, Pence may be seen as their savior — particularly after a day like Trump had Friday.

“If there was a replacement nominee, it’s still possible that that replacement nominee could win the election,” Aull said in August. “Because so many of the issues that the GOP has been having have sort of centered on Trump himself … it would probably generate some excitement. People are bound to be excited if somebody like Pence stepped in.”

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Oct
03

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Forty-seven years of US government authority over the internet’s most basic functions has been ended, not with a celebration or a wake but with the quiet expiration of a contract.

The agreement essentially gives a California-based non-profit group the sole authority to organise cyberspace’s address book. And though this entity, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), has played this vital role for years, the retreat of US control has sparked Continue Reading…

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