SECMC, Health Foundation ink agreement

ISLAMABAD (Staff Reporter): Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) has signed an agreement with the Health Foundation pledging to eradicate Hepatitis B and C from its area of operations in and around Thar Coal Block-II. This agreement will facilitate a Hepatitis-free community through 100% vaccination, raising mass awareness and behavior change communication in Block II while also providing treatment to non-affording Hepatitis B and C positive patients, said a spokesman of the SECMC here.  SECMC is working with Health Foundation since 2015, and is now extending the campaign in five additional villages of Gurrano area. The extended campaign will immunize a total of 10,500 people – approximately 6,500 from Block II and around 4,000 from extended areas including Gurrano – bringing the total to over 18,000 locals under the free vaccination program.  Abul Fazl Rizvi, Chief Operating Officer, SECMC said, “The launch of the Hepatitis Programme will end the disease in Thar Block-II and its surrounding areas.

We have a responsibility towards the locals who reside in the vicinity of the coal project, and we will do our best to facilitate their well-being and help improve their standard of living. This initiative is one of the many interventions we hope to make in Thar. We are certain that our efforts with the Health Foundation to counter Hepatitis will bear fruit in the shape of a healthier and more prosperous Thar”.

Dr Laila Rizvi, Executive Director, The Health Foundation, expressed her enthusiasm about the project saying: “We at Health Foundation work towards general health of the marginalized and poor community. We are proud to have collaborated with SECMC and by working together on a common platform we hope to contribute towards SECMC’s vision of a healthier Thar.”

The company is supporting Thar community and has initiated various programs for sustainable health facilities in the area.  The partnership between both organizations will reinforce SECMC’s pledge to put its communities at the forefront of all project related activity and is one of the many health interventions to be carried out in the area by the Company. The program will seek to completely eradicate Hepatitis B and C in Block II by June 2017.

The extended campaign will immunize a total of 10,500 people – approximately 6,500 from Block II and around 4,000 from extended areas including Gurrano – bringing the total to over 18,000 locals under the free vaccination program.


World oil prices drop

LONDON (AFP): Oil prices retreated Friday, losing a chunk out of the previous session's large gains that had been won thanks to a plunge in US crude stockpiles. Both main contracts had soared more than two dollars Thursday and Brent briefly went above $50 a barrel after the US Department of Energy said the country's commercial crude inventories slumped by 14.5 million barrels, the sharpest weekly drop in 17 years. But with analysts not expecting a repeat this week, prices fell on Friday. They said the decline was attributed to the suspension of imports and shutdown of some production owing to Hurricane Hermine, which passed through the Gulf of Mexico in late August. "The reason behind the enormous drawdown is transitory, and does not influence the demand-supply situation of the oil market," said IG market strategist Bernard Aw.  "One week's worth of data does not make a trend."  Around 1100 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in October was down 66 cents at $46.96 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for November delivery slid 70 cents to $49.29 compared with the close on Thursday.

The market has been fixated in recent weeks by an upcoming meeting of OPEC and non-cartel member Russia to discuss ways of tackling a global supply glut that has hampered prices for more than two years.

Overproduction in the markets resulted in crude prices striking a near 13-year low below $30 at the start of 2016.

While officials from Russia and OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia have sought to soothe concerns ahead of this month's gathering in Algiers, experts are sceptical whether an agreement can be reached.

A previous attempt at a production cap in April was derailed by Iran, which refused to join in talks as it ramps up output after the lifting in January of years of nuclear-linked sanctions.

"Of course both Russia and Saudi Arabia would have liked to have a higher oil price than the current $50," said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB Markets.

"Over the past week they have talked about stabilising the market. But what do they really mean because the oil market is today in many ways actually fairly balanced.

"Supply is more or less equal to demand and annualised price volatility is right on to what it normally has been historically of about 35 percent."

Schieldrop said the market was in fact moving away from a supply glut situation, with inventories expected to fall next year and beyond.

"What is however highly abnormal and thus imbalanced is the current very low level in upstream oil investments," he noted.


FXTM Partners launches new programme

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): The global, award-winning forex broker FXTM’s partnership provider, FXTM Partners has announced a new and innovative affiliate programme, making it one of the most advanced and efficient performance-based affiliate programs in the forex industry. Designed to enable partners to grow professionally by providing them all the tools they need to enhance their business, the complete revamp of the program demonstrates FXTM Partners’ continuous support of its partners in Pakistan and globally. Key updates include revolutionary hybrid payouts, now offered by the affiliate program, and combine fixed CPA based on three different levels with a Dynamic Rebate Scheme. This new concept is centered on rewarding affiliates for their loyalty, which is why the new program provides affiliates with a lifetime of rebates which increase as the broker-partner relationship grows. Jameel Ahmad, Vice President of Corporate Development and Market Research at FXTM said; “We have established a vast and successful global network of traders, affiliates and introducing brokers.”

In explaining the motivation behind the updates, Jameel stated; “While our partnership program was already very popular and well received by our affiliate network in Pakistan, we are committed to constantly raising the bar on our products and services. Part of that is giving full support to our partners as they achieve their goals, and providing profitable and innovative solutions that are tailor-made to match their needs and business model.”


Tobacco retailers reject Senate bill

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): President of All Pakistan Cigarettes Retailers Association Haji Mubeen Yousaf has lauded the Senate’s Standing Committee on Health for duly consulting the retailers association on the issue of the most controversial bill on tobacco control tabled by Senator Mushahid Hussain. But he termed the bill a draconian law which is like snatching away bread and butter from hundreds of thousands of tobacco retailers and their dependents. The tobacco retailers have rejected bill tabled in Pakistan’s Upper House for passage, terming it an anti-retailers draft that risks livelihood of thousands of families. The draft bill under review by Senate suggests imposition of ban on the display of tobacco products while making it mandatory for the retailers to ‘remodel’ their shops accordingly. It also bans incentive programs for the retailers, thus depriving them of their ability to earn additional income. “This bill has seriously risked the livelihood of over 500,000 retailers and wholesalers,” said Haji Mubeen.

 “Snatching bread from the mouths of people in such huge number is height of tyranny.”

Haji Mubeen said the ban on displaying or forcing the retailers to hide products will give a wrong impression, “As if were are doing some sort of illegal activity. This is absolute injustice."