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Sep 12, 1999

  1. International
  2. Finance
  3. Industry
  4. Policy
  5. Trade
  6. Gulf

Pakistan-Iran refinery project runs into snag

Pak-Iran refinery project which is lingering on from last one decade has run into another snag as the Iran has sought open-ended subsidy under '94 Petroleum Policy, it is learnt from official sources.

Last year Pakistan had allowed setting up of $1.2bn refinery as 'special case' under '94 Petroleum Policy and the Ministry of Petroleum had opposed the bypassing of the '97 Policy but Pakistan decided to honour its commitment with Iran.

It is learnt that the snag has surfaced when Iran objected to the decision about capping the level of subsidy at Rs lbn on the project. Now Iran demands that subsidy be 'open-ended' as allowed in '94 Petroleum Policy.

Balochistan seeks tax incentives for industry

Balochistan's industry minister Jam Mir Mohammad Akbar has demanded special incentives and tax holiday for Balochistan-based industrialists for speedy industrialization in the province. "After withdrawal of tax holiday and other facilities, earlier extended by the federal government, most of the industries established at Hub and Winder were closed," Jam Akbar disclosed with a hint of regret.

In an interview, the provincial minister for industry and minerals expressed concern over the abrupt closure of various industries at Hub and said if immediate measures were not taken all industries would be closed at Hub. He said that when the federal government extended various facilities and incentives including tax holiday for the Hub in the late 70s industrial estates numbering over two hundred and 50 industries were set up by the industrialists from all over the country.

Jam Akbar said that with the industrialization in the province thousands of people from Balochistan and other parts of the country got jobs.

He said that at present only 40 to 50 industrial units were operational at Hub while around two hundred had been closed. He said that if appropriate steps were not taken for the promotion of industry in the province, the remaining industries at Hub would also be closed down very soon.

Balochistan's industry minister said that in view of the backwardness of the province Islamabad should announce special incentive package for the Balochistan's industrialists. Tax holiday and other incentives should be announced for Hub and other industrial estates of the province, he proposed. "Hub and other industrial estates should be exempted from various taxes of the federal government at least for eight years," Jam Akbar suggested.

Bids for six hydel power projects being invited

The governments of NWFP and Azad Kashmir are calling competitive bids for six hydro power projects on Build Operate Own and Transfer (BOOT) basis immediately.

The feasibilities of these projects have been completed with the assistance of Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and GTZ, a German technical agency.

According to initial estimates, about two billion dollar investment will be required to install a total 1355 mw hydro power capacity plant. The projects include: Khan Khwar (72mw); Golen Gol (106mw); Daral Khwar (35mw); Summar Gah (928mw); Neelam-Jhelum (963mw) and Allai Khwar (130-150mw).

Phutti arrivals show 44pc rise over last year

The arrival of phutti into the ginneries showed an increase of 44 per cent over the last year's comparable figure, signalling that the prediction of a bumper crop might prove correct.

"It is a big increase despite reports of pest attack in some districts of the lower Sindh cotton belt and if all goes well with the new crop during the next couple of weeks, large exportable surplus will be available", said the market sources.

Incidentally, after having fallen below the Rs2,000.00 per maund mark, lint prices did not react bearishly to higher crop figures but rather recovered from the seasonal lows of Rsl,775.00 per maund to Rsl.870.00.

The higher unsold stocks of the new crop of 55,000 bales reflect that mill buying is not that aggressive and if it did not pick up in the coming weeks, prices could fall to new lows, sources at Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) said.

Stocks of sugar

With new sugarcane crushing season only 60 days away, the sugar mills are still holding huge stocks of around 0.768 million tons of white sugar having a market value of over Rs 800 million.

The country produced 3.541 million tons of white sugar last season (1998-99) and out of this around 2.773 million tons had been sold by the mills up to Aug 15,1999.

Looking at the expected exportable surplus, the government early this year allowed the mills to export up to 0.5 million tons of white sugar on an incentive of Rs 4500 duty drawback on the export of each ton of sugar.

According to figures available on Sept 3, out of 2.773 million tons of sugar sold by the mills, little over 0.5 million tons had been exported and the balance of around 2.2 million tons had been consumed in the domestic market.

178 sick units revived

Federal Finance Minister, Ishaq Daron Friday apprised the Prime Minister that out of 489 sick industrial units, 178 have been revived and restructured under the supervision of Task Force and Bankers Committee constituted for this purpose three months ago.

This announcement was made during a meeting of the Task Force and the Bankers Committee held here under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

A detailed presentation was given to the Prime Minister on the subject.

He was informed that the Task Force and the Bankers Committee considered and took decision on a total of 489 units. These units, out of which 178 have been revived, mainly related to textile, sugar and cement sectors.

8 cos seek OGDCL advisory mandate

Eight leading investment banks and finance companies have submitted technical and financial proposals to the Privatization Commission for appointment as financial advisers for Oil and Gas Development Corporation Limited, (OGDCL), official sources said.

The commission has already begun technical evaluation of the proposals submitted by these companies.

The financial proposals will be scrutinized in the presence of the representatives of these banks and companies by the end of September, an official at the Privatization Commission told.