Siemens secures major service contract for Pakistan power plant

Karachi, March 15, 2018 (PPI-OT): Highlighting its commitment to supporting Pakistan in meeting its growing power needs, Siemens has announced the signing of a long-term service agreement with Punjab Thermal Power (Private) Limited to provide comprehensive maintenance, parts and repair services for Punjab Power Plant Jhang for the next 12 years. The agreement includes Siemens’ Power Diagnostics, part of the company’s “Digital Services for Energy” portfolio of data-driven solutions.

With the fifth-largest population in the world, Pakistan is working to spur socio-economic development by delivering reliable and efficient power supply to industries and homes. Located in Haveli Bahadur Shah, Punjab Power Plant Jhang, is expected to add 1.3 gigawatts (GW) to Pakistan’s grid, making it one of the largest gas-fired, combined cycle power plants in the country.

It will also see the first deployment of Siemens’ SGT5-8000H gas turbines in the country, selected for their high power output and record-breaking efficiency. Anticipated benefits of the agreement include increasing the availability of the power plant and reducing the maintenance costs. The agreement covers all the scheduled and un-scheduled outage services for two, SGT5-8000H, gas turbines, generators, and related auxiliaries as well as the supply of spare parts and field services.

“With Pakistan’s increasing energy demand, the country is looking at innovative technologies to strengthen the electricity infrastructure,” said Helmut von Struve, CEO of Siemens in Pakistan. “Together with our partners and customers, we are working to address the country’s needs, with projects that set new standards in efficiency, reliability and innovation. Today, are proud to contribute to this important power plant, which will provide a much-needed boost to the national grid to meet the evolving energy needs of the Pakistani people and industrial sectors.”

Siemens’ Power Diagnostics use advanced data analytics to help predict and eliminate unplanned downtime, and improve power plant productivity by identifying operational challenges in advance. It will also allow the power plant’s team to manage outages more efficiently. The current agreement builds on Siemens’ contributions towards strengthening Pakistan’s power sector. It comes three months after the company signed the largest ever power generation contract in the country to provide a complete power island solution for Punjab Power Plant Jhang.

For more information, contact:
Communications
Siemens Pakistan Engineering Company Limited
B-72 Estate Avenue, S.I.T.E,
Karachi 75700
Tel: +92 (0) 21 32574910-19, 3259 2000
UAN: 021 111-077-088
Cell 03332272135
Fax: +92 (0) 21 32563563, 32566218

High Sales Tax rates and it procedure is mother of all ills: FPCCI

Karachi, March 15, 2018 (PPI-OT): The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in its proposals for the ensuing Federal Budget has urged the Government to effectively use Sales Tax Scheme to broaden the tax base provided the standard sales tax rate is brought down to 7% non-adjustable and non-refundable to be collected at single stage at import and / or at manufacturing, except high tax earning sectors for the government viz POL, Energy, Telecom, Tobacco and Liquor.

The Proposal added, “In value added chain industry it may be collected at 0.5% at each stage of value addition. However, since a Single Digit Sales Tax rate would require a lot of time for massive amendments in the Sales Tax Act, 1990 therefore, in the meantime the standard Sales Tax rate may be reduced to 15% in V.A.T. mode at first stage and thereafter reduce it gradually @ 1% annually”.

The proposal is a part of the FPCCI presentation being prepared under the Chairmanship of Syed Mazhar Ali Nasir, Senior Vice President, FPCCI and would be presented by the FPCCI to the high-ups of Ministries of Finance and Commerce and FBR for incorporation in the Federal Budget 2018-19 and to the concerned Standing Committees of National Assembly and Senate for seeking their support and recommendations.

The proposal argued that prevailing rate of Sales Tax @ 17% in Pakistan is too high out of which its major part is refunded or adjusted and net tax in the kitty of government comes to around 5% to 6%. In Los Angeles, one of the richest state in USA, the sales tax rate is 9.25%; India, 13.68%; Indonesia 10% and in most of the Far Eastern Countries, it is between 6% to 8%.

The FPCCI proposal lamented that 17% sales tax rate and its procedure is mother of several ills and stands in the way of its full collection. Being a consumption tax, its high rate directly impacts inflation, promotes smuggling, encourages massive tax evasion and corruption.

For more information, contact:
Secretary General
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI)
B-1, Federation House, Main Clifton Road,
Shahra-e-Firdousi,
Karachi-75600, Pakistan
Tel: +92-21-35873691, 93-94
Fax: +92-21-35874332
Email: info@fpcci.com.pk
URL: www.fpcci.com.pk

Murad Ali Shah hands over 12 4X4 ambulances to Tharparkar

Karachi, March 15, 2018 (PPI-OT): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in a ceremony held here at the CM House handed over 12 well-equipped ambulances to Tharparkar district for its six taluka hospitals. The ceremony was attended by MNAs, Senators, MPAs, chairmen taluka municipal committees and concerned officers.

Addressing the handing over of 12 ambulances ceremony, the chief minister said that he pleased to handing over 12 well equipped and advance 4×4 Toyota Hilux Ambulances, two for each Taluka Headquarter hospital of District Tharparkar for timely Transportation of patients from rural and hardest areas to hospitals or even to Tertiary level health facilities for management of critical conditions. This is in addition to a pool of already available ambulances in the district.

He said that district Tharparkar is one of the most under privileged areas of province. “Its 95% area is desert and facing several socioeconomic issues and natural calamity including drought,” he said and added the health department was providing health services to 1.65 million population of the district through a network of 253 health facilities, including one DHQ hospital, six THQ hospitals, six RHC, 33 BHU and 207 government dispensaries.

Murad Shah said that due to complex dynamics of the district there were several factors which were hampering smooth provision of maternal, new-born and child health services. “The important factors include access, transportation, low literacy, poverty, unawareness, malnutrition, inadequate referral facilities and natural calamities” he said. He went on saying resultantly the people of the district were facing serious health challenges which resulted in morbidity and mortality among high risk group population especially mother and children.

Murad Ali said that beside several reasons, the high mortality in the district is because of three delays, they are decision to access care, transport and receipt of adequate appropriate treatment. He added other factors are socio-economic and cultural. “To address these delaying factors, the health department has taken several initiatives during recent years to improve health services and status of the population which includes filling of vacant posts of Medical Officer/ Women Medical Officer, paramedical staff besides posting of many Specialist.

“The Medicine budget of the district is doubled and health staff is getting very handsome special allowance with the intention to retain them in the hardest area,” he said and added to increase community awareness and to change their health care seeking behaviour through health education, the government was hiring 1000 Lady Health Worker for 100 percent coverage of the district, these LHWS would further provide Primary health care and family planning services and would also help in improving referral system.

The chief minister talking about DHQ hospital of Tharparkar said it as a well-equipped and well-staffed hospital to take care most of the common emergencies of children and mothers. “We have focused on curative and preventive services through various priority programs like EPI, MNCH, Nutrition Support program, TB control, malaria, dengue control and Hepatitis control programs,” he said.

Secretary health Dr Fazal Pechuho addressing the ceremony said that the department was in process of re-structuring with the technical support of World Bank and USAID and hopefully we would soon create Health Management cadre in the department to fill the re-structured positions for overall strengthening of the health system in the province. Earlier, the chief minister handed over 12 ambulances to the elected representatives of Thar by cutting the ribbon.

For more information, contact:
Press Secretary,
Chief Minister House, Sindh
Tel: +92-21-99202019 (Ext: 336)
Website: www.cmsindh.gov.pk

Sindh has potential to collect over Rs.7 billion

Karachi, March 15, 2018 (PPI-OT): Sindh government in collaboration with World Bank has decided to devolve property tax collection to the local bodes, DMCs for which a proper data base and capacity building of concerned local bodies staff would be undertaken shortly. This decision was taken by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in a meeting he held with a World Bank team led by Senior Economist Ms Yoonhee Kim, Urban development Specialist Mr Shoaib Athar, Public Sector Specialist Irum Touqeer, Urban development Specialists Takaaki Masaki and others.

The Sindh government delegation led the chief minister was comprising Minister Local Government Jam Khan Shoro, Mayor Karachi Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, Secretary Excise Haleem Shaikh, Chairman DMCs and others. The chief minister in his opening remarks said that he had already devolved property tax to local bodies in Karachi KMC but they have to develop a system for collection. He added that property survey of Sukkur has been conducted. It is interesting to note that earlier there were only 35,000 households registered for collection of property tax but the fresh survey has revealed an amazing figure of 65,000 houses fit for levy of property tax.

The World Bank team through a presentation said that the current collection of property tax in Sindh is Rs2 billion while there was a potential of Rs7.2 billion. Citing the examples of Punjab, they said that they collected $88 million during 2015-16, Chennai collected $90 million, Indian Hyderabad collected $179 million, Bangalore $201 million and Mumbai $373 million. “These figures are enough to assess how much Karachi in terms of its size and household can collect property tax,” they said.

The World Bank said that the tax base has been eroded by virtue of very generous exemptions. It was also pointed out that the administration of property tax is based on ‘old’ system technology, current billing system is not fit-for-purpose. They recommended a self-assessment and self-payment platform for property tax customers is need of the hour. The property tax arrears constitute a major problem and significant loss of revenue.

The World Bank suggested devolution of Urban Immovable Property Tax (UIPT) to local bodies, DMC. On this this chief minister said that the local councils of Karachi – DMCs – do not yet have the capacity to administer UIPT collection functions, in the absence of staff trained in property tax law and procedures, and there are lack of IT capabilities. He added that he had already issued directive to the local bodies to develop an efficient system.

It the meeting it was agreed to take immediate measures within next three months. These measures include agreement and legislation about UIPT devolution road map and institutional arrangement and survey preparations and their launch. The bank also suggested phase-I (July 18 to June 2020) in which survey would be completed along with preparation of property tax data base. An improvement would be in tax payers services. Training and capacity building of DMCs staff identification, procurement, pilot deployment of ICT system for DMC would be undertaken.

In the phase-II (July 2020 to June 2023) legal reforms, introduction of a self-assessment and self-payment system. The valuation methodology and updating valuation table would also be made and exemption and relief system would also be reformed and it was agreed upon that the enforcement powers would be strengthened further.

It was decided to undertake a full survey of all buildings in the six DMCs of the city; collect qualitative and quantitative data for each building, including property use, to collect the GPS co-ordinates for each building including digital image and to build upon the experiences from Sukkur and with participation from ETD and DMCs.

It was also decided to establish an IT Revenue Management System (IRMS) for DMCs. There would be a hardware and software determine host for the data server. DMC staff to be involved in the building survey and they would be provided training in the new IT Revenue Management System, training in property tax management including valuation, law, billing, collection and enforcement Taxpayer/customer services training.

On this the chief minister directed excise department to identify and legislate changes whatever needed to support a modern, ICT-based, Revenue Management System. “We would also bring in legal reforms needed to move to a self-assessment and on-line self-payment system.

For more information, contact:
Press Secretary,
Chief Minister House, Sindh
Tel: +92-21-99202019 (Ext: 336)
Website: www.cmsindh.gov.pk

Sindh Chief Minister visits National Stadium

Karachi, March 15, 2018 (PPI-OT): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the law and order was very much under control and “we are making fool proof arrangements for PSL-final match.” This he said while talking to media just after undertaking a visit to the national stadium today. He was accompanied by provincial Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal and Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro.

He said that he had held a number of meetings to review the arrangements inside and outside the stadium. “The Sindh government has prepared a beautiful ground within the premises of the stadium for practice and other matches,” he said and added all the approaching roads, streets, compound wall, stadium, beautification and repair of the stadium and such other were being done by his government. “This is our event and would all have to make it a successful,” he said.

Replying to a question, Murad Ali Shah said that he had provided enough funds to KMC so that all the roads, sewerage lines, lifting of garbage and such other civil works could be done. “Mayor Karachi has enough powers and he is also working for the betterment of the city,” he said.

Talking about suicide attack in Lahore, the chief minister said that it could not be linked with the law and order situation in Karachi. “We have taken strict measures, have broken the networks of terrorists and now I am sure they have no courage to emerge again,” he said and added ‘We are making the peace in the city sustainable,” he assured.

Replying to a question he said that nobody would be given passes to witness the PSL Final match. “To enjoy the match you have to buy the ticket, otherwise be happy by watching it on your TV sets at home,” he said in a lighter mood.

Replying to a question Murad Ali Shah said that he wished best of luck for all the teams participating in the PSL matches but “being chief minister of Sindh and Karachiite I am supporting and praying for Karachi Kings,” he said. Earlier, the chief minister visited all under construction/renovation parts and enclosures of the National Stadium and directed the local government minister to get it completed by March 22.

For more information, contact:
Press Secretary,
Chief Minister House, Sindh
Tel: +92-21-99202019 (Ext: 336)
Website: www.cmsindh.gov.pk

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi calls on Commander Royal Saudi Border Guard and Eastern Fleet Commander at KSA

Islamabad, March 15, 2018 (PPI-OT): Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, is on an official visit to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). During the visit, the Naval Chief called on Commander Royal Saudi Border Guard, Vice Admiral Awwad Eid Al Balawi and Eastern Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Fahad Ali Al-Furaidan.

During the meeting with Commander Royal Saudi Border Guard, professional matters of mutual interest were discussed. The Admiral highlighted Pakistan’s commitment and performance in fight against terrorism in general and Pakistan Navy’s efforts for maintaining peace and stability in Indian Ocean Region. Vice Admiral Awwad Eid Al Balawi acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts in promoting peace and stability in the maritime domain for freedom of seas and free flow of maritime trade.

Later, Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi met Eastern Fleet Commander Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Rear Admiral Fahad Ali Al-Furaidan at Jubail. During the meeting, professional matters and various avenues of bilateral collaboration came under discussion. The Admiral also visited Command and Control Centre and Mine Warfare Centre at the naval base.

Thereafter, Chief of the Naval Staff visited King Fahad Naval Academy and called on Commandant of the Academy, Rear Admiral Zead Al Otaibi. During the meeting, matters of mutual interest including professional and academic training and grooming of young officers were discussed. Chief of the Naval Staff also visited various segments/ sections of King Fahad Naval Academy and interacted with Midshipmen and cadets.

For more information, contact:
Directorate of Public Relations,
Pakistan Navy
Naval Headquarters, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-20062326
Cell: +92-300-8506486
Website: www.paknavy.gov.pk

Pakistan Navy inducts Backhoe Dredger RAH KUSHA and Split Hoper Barges TARSEEL-1 and 2

Karachi, March 15, 2018 (PPI-OT): Induction Ceremony of Backhoe Dredger RAH KUSHA and Split Hoper Barges TARSEEL-1 and 2 built for Pakistan Navy at Tianjin Shipyard, China was held at PN Dockyard, Karachi. Vice Admiral Kaleem Shaukat, Vice Chief of the naval Staff graced the occasion as Chief Guest. The ceremony was attended by high ranking officials and dignitaries from China, Pakistan Navy and Corporate Sector.

With induction of this new dredger BD RAH KUSHA and its two hopper barges SHB TARSEEL 1 and 2, dredging capability OF Pakistan Navy will enhance further. BHYD RAH KUSHA, due to its unique design and functioning methodology, can dredge in proximity of jetties and berths where other conventional dredging means are less effective.

Speaking on the occasion, the Vice Chief of Naval Staff stated that Pakistan’s sea trade routes and Maritime zones are the life lines for country’s economy and need to be guarded at all costs. He said that our ports and harbour are the gateway to this economic line and the need to keep them functional at all times mandates a strong Navy.

He avowed that induction of Bachkhoe Dredger RAH KUSHA fulfils an essential requirement of PN and will meet the objectives set forth for it. The Chief Guest said that this induction is yet another manifestation of Pak-China bilateral defence cooperation which is unparalleled and has always lived up to the expectations. He also congratulated and praised all stakeholders for their dedication and relentless efforts in making the project a resounding success.

For more information, contact:
Directorate of Public Relations,
Pakistan Navy
Naval Headquarters, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-20062326
Cell: +92-300-8506486
Website: www.paknavy.gov.pk