Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday reiterated the present government’s resolve to provide business friendly environment to investors to attract the much-needed foreign direct investment (FDI). The prime minister was talking to a delegation of leading Russian businessmen that called on him here and showed keen interest to invest in different projects in Pakistan. Led by Dmitry Pumpyanskiy, Chairman of Board of Directors TMK, a leading global manufacturer and supplier of steel pipes for the oil and gas industry, and President of Sinara group, the delegation included Mikhail Popov, Alexander Pumpyanskiy, Andrey Parkhomchuk, Vladimir Shcherbatykh, Anton Zubikhin, Evgenii Poplavskii, Maxim Pavlov and Miss Anisat Bairkhanova. Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Fayyaz Tarin, Advisor to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant to the PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Abbass Bukhari, Special Assistant to the PM on Power Tabish Gauhar, Board of Investment Chairman Atif Bokhari and other senior officials also attended the meeting. Increased cooperation between Russia and Pakistan in Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM), Railways and Energy sectors was discussed in detail during the meeting. Both sides agreed upon expediting the projects that were already in the pipeline. Dairy sector: President Dr Arif Alvi Monday emphasized that strengthening and developing the country’s dairy sector on modern was essential as it played an important role in national economic growth and development. Talking to a delegation of dairy industry, led by Syed Hasan Raza, which called on him here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, he urged for promoting dairy sector to generate employment opportunities and earn foreign exchange by exporting dairy products. The delegation briefed the president about the issues and challenges being faced by the dairy industry. He assured the delegation of government’s support to address the issues of dairy producers and processors by providing them level playing field and enabling environment to enhance milk production. He said the government had focused on this sector to enhance economic growth, ensure food security and alleviate poverty in the country. The president also underscored the need for skill development of people associated with the dairy sector. He stressed the need for creating awareness among the people about the advanced dairy techniques to enhance yield and quality of produce. President Alvi urged all stakeholders to devise a national strategy and forward-looking policy for the development of dairy sector. He also appreciated the role of private sector in promoting dairy industry in the country. Data collection: The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin on Monday had an introductory meeting with Secretary Planning, Development and Special Initiatives/ Chief Statistician, to evaluate the current techniques of data collection and analysis used by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). According to press statement issued by the Finance Minister, the minister assigned the PBS to adopt a practice of regularly comparing the difference in wholesale and retail prices of essential food items in different districts across the country. PBS would highlight the difference in prices in different provincesas well, the minister said adding that the data, if available on real time basis on the PBS dash-board, would help maintain strategic reserves of the essential commodities across the country. The meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) is expected to take place within a week’s time and PBS shares its data analysis report in the upcoming meeting of NPMC. The Minister appreciated the technology based data gathering techniques followed by the Bureau after doing away with the paper based approach and directed them to follow such methods that could further assist in making the data more objective, targeted and authentic for the purpose of comparison and analysis. He said addressing the root cause of inflation with devising a new hierarchy of administrative control would provide the most needed relief to the masses. Earlier, the Chief Statistician gave a detailed briefing to the new Minister on evidence based data collection techniques followed by the Bureau in compiling figures particularly for Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI). The Chief Statistician also apprised the Minister of the changes they were about to introduce in the system to make it more comprehensive. The meeting was attended by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Member PBS Muhammad Sarwar Gondal, Economic Adviser Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad and senior officials of Finance Division.