Tax relief for small
traders, GST stays
The government has rejected the traders' demand to withdraw general
sales tax or at least cut in the GST rate from 15 to 5pc but agreed to reduce the turnover
tax from 3pc to 0.75pc for small retailers.
"The GST regime is very much in place and there is no question of
withdrawing it", Finance Minister Ishaq Dar categorically stated.
He said that the 3pc turnover tax would be replaced by 0.75pc
"There are three parties involved in the new agreementthe
government, the traders and Allah and the retailers have assured us that they will
pay this new tax in the spirit of Jihad."
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday at the end of the two-day
talks with the traders, Mr Dar said that the levy of GST on importers, manufacturers and
retailers with a turnover of over Rs5 million would remain intact and it would have to be
paid at all costs.
Extensive talks were held between the traders representatives and the
government team which included the finance minister, the chief ministers of Punjab and
Balochistan, the Sindh governor, the prime minister's advisor on Sindh affairs and a
representative of the NWFP's chief minister.
The focus of the talks, according to insiders, was to stop the traders
from going on a three-day strike called for September 17-19.
"We are not violating any of the structural reform measures agreed
with the IMF, therefore, there should be no any objection by the Fund over this relief to
the small traders in the shape of new development tax", Mr Dar told.
The minister surprised everyone when he announced that the traders had
been exempted from all kinds of checks by the CBR and other tax departments. He said the
government had decided to constitute a committee which would supervise the collection of
the new tax.
Rice exporters eying fresh arrivals
Pakistan rice prices were under pressure this week due to a lack of
buying, and rising arrivals could further depress prices, dealers said.
They said exporters stayed out of the market as the early newcrop
supplies were not suitable for export because of high moisture content, while they were
also waiting for prices to fall to about 950 rupees per 100 kg from the current 1,400
ECC cuts onion MEP
The Economic Coordination of the Cabinet (ECC) decided to reduce the
minimum export price of onion from Rs 10 per kg to Rs 7 per kg.
The ECC, which was presided over by Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar took
this decision on a report that indicated a bumper onion crop and consequendy a surplus of
more than 300,000 metric tons of onion over the local consumption.
IDB offers direct access to Pakistanis
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has extended direct access facility
to Pakistani exporters to avail its Export Financing Scheme.
According to a communique to all banks circulated by IDB through the
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) here Tuesday, the users of the scheme may submit their
financing application to IDB Trade Finance & Promotion Department, Jeddah, Saudi
The board of directors of IDB had recently approved modifications in
the Export Financing Scheme making it easier and faster for the exporters and importers of
member countries to avail the scheme.
The criteria for eligible goods has been enlarged by reducing the local
content requirement from 40% to 30%. However, this relaxation on local content requirement
is a temporary measures, subject to a review every three years.
KPT cargo handling up by 6.3pc
The handling of cargo by Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has increased by 6.3%
to 24.052 million tons during '98-99, showing an increase of 6.3% over the last fiscal.
A press release said the Port handled 3,242 ships and the container
traffic had gone upto 527,473 TEUs, showing an increase of 6.3% and 4.3% respectively over
The KPT board of trustees was informed that the liquidity ratio had
gone up from 6.83% in '97-98 to 8.15% in '98-99 and expenditure heads were reduced by 50%.
$200m cotton import: exercise in futility
The spending of about 200 million dollars on the import of cotton has
turned into an exercise in futility as the prices of local cotton in the meantime have
fallen by 30 percent.
While the government is eager to get 280 million dollar tranche from
the IMF at all costs, the spinning sector has spent over 200 million dollars on the import
of nearly one million bales of cotton without the hope of fetching a single dollar through
export of its products.
ECC okays import of 0.5m tons wheat
The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) here on
Saturday approved the import of 0.5 million tons of wheat in order to have sufficient
wheat reserves level for local consumption.
The ECC, which was presided over by Minister for Finance and Commerce
Ishaq Dar, while reviewing the wheat situation expressed its satisfaction at the stock
position with more than 4.3 million tons of stock in the country as reported by ministry
of food and agriculture.
Pakistani yarn prices fall in HK market
Pakistani cotton yarn prices on the Hong Kong market are steadily
declining over the last about two weeks owing to dumping of the commodity by the major
producers after steep decline in world cotton rates.
After ruling around 206 cents per kilo cotton yarn prices for 20-single
f.o.b. Karachi, rose to 217.35 cents per kilo to fall again to 212.19 cents per kilo
during the last week, showing a decline of over five cents per kilo, official figures
released by the monitoring agencies reveal.
But prices of carded 20-single and 40-single to Japan, another major
importer of Pakistani cotton yarn remained firm around 135.55 and 172.50 yen per lb c.i.f,
industry sources said.