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Clamouring for a rate cut in the discount rate is a much engrained custom that plays out in every run-up to the monetary policy announcement by the State Bank of Pakistan. As the central bank prepares to set its stance towards inflation and economic growth, calls for a sharp reduction in the benchmark for cost of funds are being raised on cue.
Cellular firms will hate us for saying this, but the impending Sims re-verification process may unlock some opportunities for them. As per government directive, between January 12 and April 14, within next three months, roughly 100 million cellular subscriptions (about 60-70 million individuals, according to informal estimates) would have to be biometrically verified. (For more on that, read this informative report, "Cellular phone companies could be tried in military courts, published in Business Recorder on January 12).
There is nothing wrong with a country trying to promote latest communication technologies. But promotion of one set of technology inevitably comes at the expense of another. In developing countries, wire line (or fixed) technologies are being replaced by wireless - after all, wireless offers a solution of fast urban scalability. Pakistan is on a similar path, where its total teledensity is over 77 percent, thanks to the 74 percent cellular teledensity.
Crude oils high speed crash is not too old; only six months ago, the price of international crude oil was comfortably hovering above $100 a barrel. Then came crude oils free fall, and prices have more than halved since then. Demand and supply gap and political turmoil have been the key features of this price scenario.
Atlases, surveys, indices and heat maps for education and other development issues have lately been in vogue. Year after year researchers from the government and non-governmental sector have been trying to produce reliable estimates of the status of childrens schooling and basic learning outcomes at the district level.
Interestingly, the recent World Bank study on smart grid modernization presents a unique opportunity for developing countries to progress towards automation. While a gradual transition by implementing the best available technologies is one way of progression to a higher grid modernization level, utilities in developing countries that have not completely set their power systems may choose circumvent some of the traditional modernization steps by leapfrogging directly to latest technology and modern devices.
As per the latest Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) annual report, cellular sector’s average revenue per user – or ARPU – fell by nearly 6 percent year-on-year in FY14 to Rs199 per month. That figure suggests annual revenues of Rs323 billion and year-end subscriptions of 135 million.


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ICT 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.664 bln
Exports $1.966 bln
Imports $3.630 bln
WeeklyJanuary 25, 2015
Reserves $15.019 bln