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POLICY

August 29, 1999

  1. International
  2. Finance
  3. Industry
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Govt stakes in MCB, ABL to be sold next month

The Privatization Commission has decided to disinvest the remaining shares of the Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB) and the Allied Bank of Pakistan Limited (ABL) in September next.

Informed sources told that the Privatization Commission in its 80th meeting held here on Wednesday had decided to offload 24 per shares of the MCB and 49 per cent shares of the ABL next month.

The committee headed by State Bank governor Dr Yaqub, sources said, would soon be conducting the pre-qualification of six bidders who had shown their interest to buy the remaining shares of the ABL.

The committee would see whether the six bidders have required banking experience in order to efficiently run the ABL.

Sources said that all the six bidders have separately purchased 11 per cent shares from the employees management group of the ABL.

The group is said to be frustrated and said that it had purchased 51 per cent shares of the ABL during the previous PML government at the rate of about Rs 70 per share but now the value of each share was floating in the region of Rs 34 to Rs 40 and that they were not very much interested to retain all the shares.

About the MCB, it was said that many people have expressed their willingness to take part in the bidding process for it. Mansha group had purchased 76 per shares of the MCB during the previous Nawaz Sharif government.

The PC meeting also discussed the privatization of HBL and some other transactions. It also reviewed the implementation status of the decisions taken in the previous meeting and expressed its satisfaction over the progress so far made.

CBR evaluating Citibank's competence

The chief of Withholding Tax Department and his officials examined the Citibank's capacity to obtain and compute tax-deposit reports on daily basis, and the bank's operational potential to keep an eye on coordination apparatus put in place recently for instant connectivity between the tax collecting staff, their commissionerates in four major IT zones, and the CBR.

The Withholding Tax Wing of the Income Tax Department caters for more than one third of the IT Department receipts.

A team of Citibank consultants met the Income Tax Department officials at Central Board of Revenue and discussed in detail on how the bank, when and if given the contract for the job, proposed to carry out the exercise of daily reporting and reconciliation of the federal taxes.

On award of the contract, which is still in the discussion stage, the Citibank would be replacing National Bank of Pakistan as far as tax depositing, reporting, reconciliation and assistance in book adjustment is concerned.

Pakistan, IMF to reset non-tax revenue targets

Pakistan and IMF have agreed to reset the targets for non-tax revenue of the federal government and recoveries of bad loans.

An improvement of 5 per cent in non-tax revenue receipts has been agreed in aggregated non-tax receipts from Wapda, PTCL, gas companies, petroleum surcharge, and service charges from financial sector.

This improvement has been stipulated as additional inflows over and above the targets set in the federal budget for these sectors, said informed sources.

Wheat movement

Sindh Food Department has allowed the importers the free movement of 50 per cent of imported wheat outside the province.

However the importers can avail this facility only after the approval from Chief Executive of the Province to be granted in relation of ban imposed on Inter-Provincial movement of wheat.

ST exemption up to 60 powerlooms sought

Powerloom workers, owners and sizing unit owners and other trade bodies have welcomed the agreement arrived at between the representatives of powerloom owners and the federal government regarding the exemption of 40-powerloom unit from compulsory sales tax registration.

A joint meeting of all these associations was held here on Wednesday with Malik Abdul Latif in the chair. A number of resolutions were passed. One resolution appreciated the constructive role of Faisalabad MNA Mian Abdul Mannan during the whole critical period and the efforts he made by initiating dialogue with the federal authorities on a sensitive subject and finding an acceptable way out of a stalemate.

Expats allowed to set up airline and bank

Overseas Pakistanis can start a new airline and a private bank. This was agreed to in principle at the inaugural meeting of the second three-day convention of the overseas Pakistanis at the Convention Centre on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who okayed the demand of the overseas Pakistanis attending the convention, also invited them to participate in the privatisation process where some mega projects are on offer, including Habib Bank and UBL.

Credentials of the sponsors will be scrutinized as well as proper feasibility study would be pre conditions, the Prime Minister told the audience.

The Prime Minister also promised them representation in the national and provincial assemblies.

PMHA awards 35 contracts

Prime Minister's Housing Authority has awarded 35 contracts, worth Rs 5.5 billion for the construction of 500,000 housing units in 10 major cities of the country, an official announcement said.

The contract pertained to the construction of housing units at major urban centres like Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Islamabad, Multan, Larkana, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Okara and Sialkot, it said.