Finance Act renders PM's
housing policy ineffective
The housing policy of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been rendered
ineffective as the Finance Act 1999-2000 limits the scope of various incentives to the
builders and developers of only 500,000 housing units proposed to be constructed under the
Prime Minister's Housing Policy for the low income population.
Industry sources told that the incentives offered to the builders of
houses for the low income population envisaged in the policy directives (Prime Minister's
Housing Policy) provide reduction of presumptive tax to the level of one percent, booking
of the House Building Finance Corporation (HBFC) loan as expenses from the tax point of
view, and no capital value tax (CVT) on immovable property.
Commercial courts to be set up soon, says Dar
Commercial courts will start functioning in Karachi and Lahore very
soon to decide business disputes and ensure quality products for exports purposes.
"On quality we are not going to compromise and those who are found
guilty of exporting inferior products will have to face these commercial courts",
said the Minister for Finance and Commerce Ishaq Dar.
Speaking at a news conference here on Thursday to elaborate various
issues contained in the new Trade Policy for 1999-2000, he said that value addition and
quality control will be given utmost importance during the current financial year to
increase the country's export earnings.
He assured that there will not be any devaluation to artificially
achieve the export target at the end of the year. He said the government would ensure that
Pakistan's currency was stable and did not warrant any depreciation as has been the case
in the past.
A retired judge of the Supreme Court is being given an important
assignment to help set up the special banking courts to recover huge outstanding loans
from the defaulters.
According to official sources, the government has contacted Justice
retired Shafi ur Rehman to frame laws for establishing special banking courts to be
Dar will visit China to negotiate $24m loan for Saindak
Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Sardar Kamil Umar informed the
National Assembly Wednesday that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is going to China to negotiate
a $24 million loan for Saindak Project.
He was responding to a calling attention notice by MNAs Sanaullah
Baloch, Shakeel Ahmad Baloch and Shabbir Ahmad Chandio regarding the non-allocation of
funds in the budget 1999-2000 for Saindak Metal Copper and Gold Project in Chagi district.
Replying to a question by Shabbir Ahmad Khan Chandio, the Parliamentary
Secretary for Finance said, "We feel strongly that if the matter is discussed with
China, they will agree to it."
Govt stakes in POL, ARL to be off-loaded
A high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif here on
Tuesday decided to quicken the pace of privatization specially by disinvesting PTCL, KESC,
banks and DFIs during 1999.
According to informed sources, the prime minister said that with the
Kargil issue subsiding, it was necessary now to undertake greater economic activities and
that maximum privatization should be done before the end of this year.
Chairman Privatization Commission Kh Asif told the meeting that KESC,
PTCL, Habib Bank and the United Bank were almost ready for privatization.
He said that since the stock market was improving, state-owned entities
were likely to get better price.
The prime minister directed the officials of the PC to get rid of the
loss making units so that their recurring expenditure could be saved.
He also said that country's most expensive debt which was about 8
billion dollars should be retired on priority by selling the state entities.
The prime minister was also informed that 30 per cent government shares
in the oil and gas sector were also being off-loaded to get 6 to 8 billion dollars.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to divest its minority
shareholding in Pakistan Oilfields Ltd (POL) and Attock Refinery Ltd (ARL), as part of its
broader policy of restructuring and reform of the oil and gas sector.
According to the PC, the current government share-holding in POL and
ARL is 34.76% and 35% respectively, and the planned divestment is not envisaged to make
any change in the existing management structure of the two companies.
NWFP to set up investment board
The NWFP government has decided to set up an investment board in the
province and the provincial finance department is working on this proposal, official
"The move has been undertaken under the instructions of the
provincial chief minister, Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, to facilitate the flow of investment,
offering one-window facilities to local and foreign investors", Saeed-ur-Rehman,
financial adviser to the government of NWFP said while talking to this correspondent at
Plans to set up stock market in Peshawar
Bank of Khyber (BoK) is contemplating a programme to assist the
province of NWFP build a financial market and set up a stock market in Peshawar.
"Serious efforts are being made to establish capital market in
NWFP," said Tahir Abbas, the newly appointed managing director of
New rules for duties, taxes under baggage scheme
Central Board of Revenue has announced new procedure of collecting
duties and taxes on import of vehicles and baggage in foreign currency.
Through a Customs General Order No 22/1999, dated July 15, 1999, the
CBR says: Consequent upon federal government's decision, vide the budgetary measures
1999-2000, that customs duties and taxes on the passengers' accompanied and unaccompanied
baggage and on the import of motor vehicles under the relevant schemes/rules, shall be
changed in foreign exchange, the following procedure is laid down for implementation in
the light of the State Bank of Pakistan's letter No 44/5/FEP/537/99 dated June 28, 1999,
addressed to the Executive Vice President, International Division, National Bank of