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Sep 06, 1999

  1. International
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Rains destroy cotton crop

Heavy rains have destroyed about 39 per cent of cotton crop in Ghotki and Sukkur districts (surveyed areas) and as a result of this water has remained stagnant in the crop.

This was revealed in a fortnightly weather and cotton report ending August 31,1999 of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC), presented to federal minister food and agriculture, Abdul Sattar Lalika on August 31.

ADB power restructuring loan facing problems  

The ADB assistance for KESC (Karachi Electricity Supply Corporation) for power sector restructuring is facing several problems which might delay the release of $ 250 million loan and put it off to the next financial year. Originally, its approval was due in calendar year 1999.

Sources told that movement on the approved plan of action between the government and ADB has been slow.

Several measures were to be adopted before an appraisal mission could come to Pakistan, but it appears no such mission is in sight till the set of conditions is met.

It is learnt that the government had to take at least eight steps for the project to move forward. Of these, only two have been taken so far while others await action.

The first step was the approval of a financial package, which was done some months ago. The next was to appoint the financial advisers, which was to have some consultancy sub-contracts, which, too, has made some headway.

Besides work relating to corporate, technical, commercial and legal due diligence is being processed.

The power sector restructuring loan envisaged completion of formalities some time in 1998. Apart from economic sanctions, which came in May 98, the implementation on other steps was stalled because of the row with IPPs.

But a number of other issues are also to be completed yet. These include: •Completion of Nepra regulations for issuing licences and tariff orders is behind schedule; •Completion of financial model; •Resolution of labour issues; and •Completion of deregulatory due diligence.

Once these steps are completed, the work on documentation by the government, ADB and the concerned agencies would start, which may not take long, sources stated.

PM directs MoP to augment oil, gas exploration  

Expressing dissatisfaction over the slow progress of petroleum exploration, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday directed the Petroleum Ministry to work on emergency basis to explore more oil and gas wells.

Chairing cabinet meeting here, the Prime Minister also refused to approve Petroleum Exploration policy draft proposals and said that the policy has no concrete framework to achieve the energy targets in future.

The Prime Minister expressed that natural gas should be supplied throughout the country to facilitate the general public without any discrimination, the sources said.

The Cabinet was given a briefing by Petroleum and Natural Resources Secretary Dr Gulfaraz Ahmad on the recent gas discoveries.

Two more units declared sick

The Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has declared Farooq Habib Textile Mills and Khawaja Spinning Mills Ltd as sick and asked the Task Force on sick units to draw up plan for their rehabilitation.

The "Task Force for Revival of Sick Industrial Units" constituted by the government has been provided with the legal cover to make rehabilitation plan for the sick units to revive them.

With these two units, the total number of industrial outfits declared sick by the SECP has come to 17.

Development of sugar by-products stressed

Pakistan sugar industry will remain uncompetetive in the world market as long as it does not develop by-products to reduce the cost of production.

This was a unanimous view of sugar experts at the concluding session of 34th Convention of the Pakistan Society of Sugar Technologists (PSST) held here on Tuesday at a local hotel.

The experts also emphasized on the need for having government-industry collaboration in developing by-products of sugar and PSST assured its cooperation in achieving this goal.

It was pointed out that in countries like Colombia where 10 to 12 sugar units are operating, as many as 34 by-products are being manufactured by the industry. Against this they said in Pakistan a huge production base of 77 medium and large size units have yet to introduce any by-product.

SMEDA's marble, granite development sector plan

Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority's (SMEDA) marble and granite sector development plan setting an ambitious target of lifting the marble and granite exports from $4 million m the 1998-99 financial year to $40 million in a three-year time would soon be launched sources told.

"SMEDA's marble and granite sector development plan is almost final and would be launched shortly after approval by the Authority's chairman Khawaja Bilal and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif," Sultan Tiwana, regional chief, SMEDA, NWFP said.

Presentations [on the development plan] to the SMEDA chairman and later to the prime minister are likely to take place in the near future.

Shortage of irrigation water

Sindh Chamber of Agriculture at a meeting held here under the chairmanship of Mir Murad Ali Shah Talpur expressed surprise over shortage of irrigation water in Jacobabad, Larkana, Dadu, Naushero Feroz, Nawabshah and Hyderabad districts.

The participants of the meeting were not convinced that there was any genuine cause for the shortage of canal water since the drawing for the day at the Sukkur Barrage stood at 56,720 cusecs.