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Turkey’s tourism income increases in second quarter

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: Turkey’s total tourism income increased by 30.1 percent, year-on-year, reaching $7.04 billion in the second quarter of 2018, according to Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat)’s report on Tuesday.

“While 84.7 percent of this income [excluding GSM roaming and marina service expenditures] was obtained from foreign visitors, 15.3 percent was obtained from citizens resident abroad,” TurkStat said in a statement.

Turkey welcomed more than 11 million tourists in the second quarter of this year, an increase of 24.9 percent from the same quarter in 2017.

The report showed 89 percent of visitors were foreigners with 9.85 million persons, 11 percent of them were Turkish citizens resident abroad with 1.21 million persons, TurkStat said.

According to TurkStat, the number of Turkish citizens traveling abroad in the second quarter fell by 4.4 percent over the same period and reached almost 2.2 million.

The number of foreigners visiting Turkey rose by 28.5 percent, year-on-year, in June, reaching 5.1 million persons, the Culture and Tourism Ministry revealed Tuesday. Russians made up almost 22 percent of foreign visitors, followed by Germans at around 10 percent, and British citizens at nearly 7 percent.

Number of foreigners visiting Turkey during January to June period climbed by 28.92 percent, compared to the same period last year, the data showed.

The total number of Turkish citizens resident abroad visiting the country also went up by 21.64 percent during first six month, year-on-year.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey expected 40 million tourists by end of 2018.

“We expect $32 billion tourism revenue, and we are proceeding quickly towards this target,” Erdogan added.

Mehmet Ersoy, minister of culture and tourism, also said nearly 16 million foreigners visited Turkey in the first six-month period of the current year. While Turkey hosted 36.8 million foreigners in 2014 and 36.3 million in 2015, the figure decreased sharply to 25.3 million in 2016 but rose again to 32.4 million last year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. Turkey targets 50 million tourists and $50 billion in income by 2023, according to private sector representatives and officials.

The next quarterly data of TurkStat on tourism statistics is due on Oct. 31.

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Turkey: Foreign trade deficit drops 9.1% in June

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: Turkey’s foreign trade deficit dropped by 9.1 percent, year-on-year, in June, while its exports and imports reached $12.95 billion and $18.45 billion, respectively, Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) announced on Tuesday.

The country’s exports decreased by 1.3 percent and its imports dropped by 3.8 percent in the month versus June 2017, TurkStat said.

Foreign trade deficit of Turkey in June was nearly $5.5 billion, down from over $6 billion the same month last year.

Turkey’s six-month export rose by 6.3 percent to reach $82.2 billion and imports soared by 13.5 percent to nearly $123 billion, on a yearly basis.

The country’s foreign trade deficit was $40.7 billion from January to June, up 31.6 percent compared to the same period 2017.

In June, Turkey’s exports to the EU jumped by 6.4 percent to $6.6 billion versus the same month in 2017. The EU countries’ share in Turkey’s exports was 51.2 percent in the month, up from 47.5 percent in June 2017.

Turkey exported mostly to Germany with $1.3 billion, followed by the UK ($882 million), Italy ($815 million) and the US ($627 million) in June. Meanwhile, Turkey imported mostly from China with $1.84 billion, Russia ($1.79 billion), Germany ($1.8 billion) and the US ($1.15 billion).

“The ratio of manufacturing industries products in total exports was 94.3 percent in June,” TurkStat said.

It added that the ratio of high-technology and medium-high-technology products in manufacturing industries were 3.2 percent and 37.6 percent in June, respectively.

Manufacturing industries imports consisted of 79.9 percent of Turkey’s total imports in the month; 13.6 percent of them were high-technology products and 42.6 percent were medium-high-technology products.

Turkey’s exports were $157.05 billion and imports $233.79 billion while foreign trade deficit was $76.73 billion in 2017.




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Pak earns over $3.630bn from export of transport services

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The transport services by Pakistan in other countries increased by 3.29 percent during the first eleven months of financial year 2017-18 compared to the corresponding period of last year.

Pakistan exported transport services worth $3630.695 million in July-May (2017-18) against the exports of services worth $3514.894 million in July-May (2016-17), showing 3.29 percent growth, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

Among these, the air transport services export increased by 3.93 percent and reached to $791.260 million during the period under review against $761.350 million last year.

Among the air transport services, exports of passenger services surged by 14.55 percent, from $433.980 million to $497.140 million, the data revealed.

However, the freight service exports witnessed decline of 2.51 percent by going down from $17.950 million to $17.500 million while the exports of all other air transport services also declined by 10.60 percent by slipping from exports of $309.420 million last year to $276.620 million in 20117-18.

On the other hand, the sea transport exports increased by 12.62 percent by growing from $2049.020 million to $2307.700 million. Among sea transport, the freight service export increased by 13.09 percent from $192.048 million to $2074.620 million while the export of other sea transport service increased by 8.62 percent by going up from $214.580 million to $233.080 million.

Meanwhile, the services of road and rail transport witnessed decline of 9.44 percent and 12.61 percent in exports during the period under review. The road transport services declined from $19.348 million to $17.522 million whereas the rail transport service dipped from $8.906 million to $7.783 million, the PBS data revealed.

It is pertinent to mention here that the exports of services from the country witnessed negative growth of 7.91 percent during the first eleven months of the fiscal year 2017-18 against the corresponding period of last year. The exports of services from the country during July-May (2017-18) were recorded at $4.696 billion against the exports of $5.099 billion during July-May (2016-17), showing decline of 7.91 percent, according to latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

The imports of services into the country, however increased by 4.98 percent by going up from $8.980 billion during FY2016-17 to $9.428 billion in FY2017-18.



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Jewellary export goes up 1.3 per cent

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Jewellary export from the country increased by 1.3 percent during fiscal year 2017-1 8 to $5.9 million as compared to the export worth of $5.8 million in same period of the preceding year.

The export of gems also surged by 34.97 percent during the period under review as it rose to $4.05 million in July-June (2017-18) from $3 million in Jul-Jun (2016-17).

According to latest data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the jewellary export witnessed a sharp decrease of 93 percent and 91 percent when compared to the export of June 2017 ad May 2018 respectively.

The export went down to $34,000 in June 2018 from $508,000 in June 2017 and $381,000 in May 2018.

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HBL and EFU Life launch Sahara Plans

F.P. Report

KARACHI: HBL, in its capacity as the largest bank of Pakistan, enjoys an extensive distribution network with over 1,750 branches, over 2,000 ATMs and a reach of over 11 million customers.

EFU Life is a leading life insurance company in Pakistan and is the first conventional insurance company to get the Window Takaful Operator license from SECP.

Speaking at the occasion, Aamir Irshad, Head Branch banking, said, “Identifying and catering to the needs of the masses should always be the primary objective of all institutions. In our quest to develop a customer centric product bouquet and simultaneously play a key role in expanding the insurance footprint Pan Pakistan, HBL and EFU Life Assurance Ltd. have joined hands to launch Sahara Small Ticket Takaful plans for the masses.”

These plans provide coverage for Hospital Cash, including ICU, Spouse Cover and Income Benefit, in addition to the regular death coverage. HBL, being the leader in Bancassurance with a market share of 46% in 2017, will continue to work towards innovative and segment sensitive products in future.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Taher G. Sachak, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer EFU Life, said, “It gives me immense pleasure to have HBL on board as a strategic partner to launch our Sahara Plans. This new strategic partnership will give both of us an opportunity to contribute towards the goal of financial inclusion by providing focused insurance solutions to the various segments through the entire HBL network. The penetration of life insurance is still too low i.e. 0.56% of total GDP. By launching such inclusive products, both organizations can work towards bringing a large population of the informal and rural sector in the financial safety net.”

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Omar to discuss Nangarhar situation with Ghani

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Ambassador to Pakistan Dr. Omar Zakhilwal has expressed concern over insecurity in eastern Nangarhar province, saying he will discuss the issue with President Ashraf Ghani.

After the killing of a tribal elder and Wolesi Jirga candidate and four other people in a suicide car bombing in Nangarhar on Monday, Zakhilwal voiced his concern at the situation there.

The ambassador wrote on his Facebook account the security situation was deteriorating in the province, with each passing day.

Around 32 suicide attacks and explosions had happened in Nangarhar over the past three months, killing and wounding more than 600 people, he added. The current situation in the war-hit province negatively impacted minds of people, he noted.

“I urge provincial authorities to stop giving baseless reports about progress and improvement and give a realistic picture of the situation in the important province,” the ambassador said.

He would share the issue with President Ghani after thoroughly assessing the situation in the province. He would underline the need for serious steps to ensure the stability of Nangarhar.

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Ghani praises Afghan robotics team’s gains

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani has directed the construction of a school with focus on science and robot-making, a statement from the Presidential Palace said on Tuesday.

The president issued the directives during a meeting with two members of the Afghanistan robotics team at his office.

Roya Mahboob and Fatema Qadera — members of the Afghanistan robotics team, during their meeting with the president explained their strategy for construction of a separate science school to the president.

They urged the president to provide support in construction of the special science school.

They also shared information with the president regarding their recent international competitions held in the US, Mexico and other countries and said that the team of Afghanistan earned fair positions in these competitions.

The president welcomed their plan for creation of a separate school and tasked Abdul Wahid Qatali, head of the Presidential Administrative Affairs, Nadema Sahar, head of the technical and professional studies and Javed Rasouli, head of the Central Statistic Organization, to cooperate in provision of required technology for the school.

The president hailed the robotics team’s performance and added more science schools needed would be built in provinces.

The Afghan girls robotics team took home a top prize at Robotex, Europe’s largest robotics festival and placed 114th overall (higher than the teams from the US and UK) in competitions in the US and received a medal for “courageous achievement.”



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IECC refuses to register complaint against candidate

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) has been refusing to register complaint against a Wolesi Jirga candidate accused of killing 10 people and spearheading an illegal militia in northern Baghlan province.

However, the IECC argued it could not register complaints now because the time to register complaints registration expired on June 30. Two men and a woman, residents of Jalga district of Baghlan province traveled to Kabul to register a complaint against Delawar Imaq, a Wolesi Jirga candidate in the upcoming elections.

They asked the IECC to remove Imaq from the list of Wolesi Jirga candidates. Carrying photographs of their relatives allegedly killed by Jabbar, an illegal commander linked to Imaq, the three persons said their 10 relatives had been killed by Jabbar who had the backing of Imaq.

Haji Habib, one of the protestors, said his seven other relatives had also been killed by Imaq but they could not come to Kabul and register a complaint because they could not afford their travel costs.

He said they wanted to register a complaint on behalf of their other relatives in the IECC.

“We came to Kabul because no government offices in Baghlan take our complaints,” Habib said. He claimed two of his sons, with one of them named Ibrahim who worked in police in Jalga district, were killed by Jabbar, a bodyguard and supporter of Imaq.

The female protestor, who carried her son’s (Islamuddin) photograph, said, “We came here from a very remote area in order our voice is heard, no one in Baghlan hears our voice, I raised Islamuddin in backbreaking poverty but he was killed by Jabbar.”

The three people asked officials concerned to hear their complaints regarding those killed by Jabbar.

They tried to register their complaint with the IECC, but the commission refused to do so and said the time for complaints registration had expired. Pajhwok tried to seek comment from Imaq and Jabbar about the complaints, but a contact could not be established with them.

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Atmar shocked at tribal elder Hayat’s killing

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: National Security Advisor (NSA) Hanif Atmar has expressed shock over the killing of prominent elder and Wolesi Jirga candidate Hayatullah Khan and ordered security forces to avenge his death.

Haji Hayatullah Khan was among four people killed in a car suicide bomb attack on the Jalalabad-Torkham highway on Monday when his vehicle came under attack in Kabul camp area. A statement from his office received said Atmar strongly condemned Khan’s death and shared the grief of his family and friends.

Hayat was a patriot who led an uprising group against militants, the statement said. The enemies of Afghanistan were killing such prominent elders to mute their voices, it added.

Atmar said: “People are supportive of national security and defence forces that defend their motherland.” He promised the security forces would avenge Hayatullah’s killing.


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‘Removing troops from unnecessary areas a part of national defence strategy’

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Withdrawing troops from the remote areas of the country was a strategy of the Afghan government, the defence ministry announced on Tuesday.

Following reports about the meeting of a US deputy secretary of state with Taliban representatives in Qatar, it is believed that both the sides have agreed to hand over some areas to Taliban in Afghanistan.

According to some media reports released by foreign media, US President Donuld Trump has directed the Afghan government to remove troops from the remote areas in Afghanistan and concentrate attention on the security of major cities.

The Afghan defence ministry has not said anything clearly about these reports so far. However, in a press release the ministry said that the withdrawal of troops from the remote areas of the country was a strategy of the Afghan government. The US had also supported the step, the press release stated.

According to a press release issued by the defence ministry, the deployment of troops in the Afghan National Army (ANA) structure was based on the national military strategy of the ministry.

Unnecessary checkpoints in the unimportant areas with low population of people would be merged into garrisons and military bases in the nearby areas, the press release said. The US has supported the strategy of the defence ministry of Afghanistan, the press release added.

The ANA was responsible to maintain security in all parts of the country, the press release said.

The press release said that retired troops would be recruited in the local force of Afghan National Army. They would be deployed in those areas from where they are recruited in the ANA local force. The Taliban have not said anything about these reports so far. However, they have always opposed the idea of handing over some areas to them or naming an area after name. They termed such ideas as a plan to disintegrate the country.

The plan to form local force in ANA was started implementing in the country some time ago. It would be formed under the umbrella of defence ministry.

The new force would be similar to the local police, which is currently active under the framework of interior ministry in the country. However, it is believed that retired army personnel would be recruited in the ANA local force. The force has already been deployed in some parts of the country.