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Sep 20, 1999

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

ADBP asked to ensure credit for tractor sale

The ministry of industries and production has asked the Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan (ADBP) to ensure availability of funds for payment to supply of tractors on credit.

The ministry pointed out in its letter that the ADBP had stopped payments against supply of tractors as reported by tractor and part makers.

"The hindrance in granting financing through ADBP would not only affect the momentum to manufacture parts manufacturers but would also reduce tractor supply eventually damaging the agriculture output," the ministry said in its letter.

It urged the bank to allocate sufficient funds for early payment of tractors supplied under Green Tractor Scheme (GTS) of the prime minister as the assemblers have geared-up their efforts to meet the govermnent's production target of 40,000 units for 1999-2000, whereas in July-August 1999 they produced 6,000 units.

White oil pipeline

Pak Arab Refinery Ltd. (Parco) is in dialogue with the government to get 45 million dollars adjusted, which it paid as duties and taxes, against guarantees the company has to submit with regard to another project of White Oil Pipeline, it is learnt.

"Whereas Parco's mid-country refinery project is a tax free project (under the agreement), the sponsors have so far paid 45 million dollars in duties and taxes to the exchequer", a senior official of the company said.

Dar's visited to focus on suspended loans

As finance minister Ishaq Dar prepares to go Washington to attend the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in the coming week, at the top of his agenda will be the request to restore the suspended loan programme for Pakistan, under which a tranche of $280 million has been withheld by IMF.

Ishaq Dar, however, contends that he is going to Washington to attend the meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. Dar is hopeful that the talks for the release of the tranche will be finalized before he steps on to the plane for Washington. Senior finance ministry officials believe otherwise.

For Pakistan, which currently has over $1.5 billion in foreign exchange reserves, it is more the IMF endorsement and less the actual funds that the government is hoping will be given to it at this stage.

"If the IMF resumes its programme by releasing the tranche to Pakistan, it will be an endorsement that Pakistan desperately needs", says economist Akbar Zaidi. The signal that IMF has accepted the deviations that Pakistan has made in its initial agreement in January, that paved way for the restoration of the $1.6 billion funding programme.

For its part, the IMF is in an unforgiving mood. Despite pronouncements to the contrary, it has not taken kindly to the Prime Minister's Housing Programme and the inability of Pakistan to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, a promise that prime minister Nawaz Sharif had given in December 1998. While foreign minister Sartaj Aziz insists that Pakistan had given the precondition that US sanctions against Pakistan be lifted before Pakistan signs on the dotted line, IMF officials say that this is not the case.

Cotton price

The Standing Committee of the National Assembly on Food, Agriculture and Livestock recommended to the Government to take immediate steps to introduce "Fair Cotton Price Policy" to help growers get better return.

Gas pipeline talks with foreign firms under way

Foreign oil and gas exploration companies are looking at building a 600-km pipeline to carry natural gas from the rich Kirthar fields in Sindh to Multan in Punjab, Industry sources said.

The companies involved in the discussions are Pakistan units of Lasmo Plc, Premier Oil Plc, Shell Exploration B.V. and Australia's Broken Hill Pty Co Ltd. Austrian OMV AG and British Borneo.

He said three fields in the area— Zamzama, Bhadra and Dumbar— were the key to the plan. Industry analysts estimate the three have reserves of around 3 trillion cubic feet.

Govt not to allow raise in urea prices: Laleka

The federal government will not allow urea fertilizer factories to increase prices of the commodity on the pretext of recent hike in the natural gas tariffs.

"We will never allow them to hike the price of this important agro-chemical, and will ensure its smooth availability during the upcoming wheat sowing", Federal Food and Agriculture Minister, Mian Abdul Sattar Laleka said.

The urea offtake during the coming rabi season is estimated to be around 2 million tonnes which will be met through domestic production.

Car prices increased

The prices of various versions of Toyota Corolla have been increased by two to three per cent from Sept 15, 1999, ranging from Rs 20,000-30,000.

According to an official in Indus Motors, the XE and XEG are now available at Rs 709,000 and Rs 749,000 compared to Rs 689,000 and Rs 729,000 respectively.

Corolla GL, GLI and GLI auto are now tagged at Rs 859,000, Rs 969,000 and Rs 1,050,000 as against Rs 829,000, Rs 939,000 and Rs 1,020,000 respectively.

In diesel categories, the 2.0D, 2.0DG and Limited are now priced Rs 859,000, 899,000 and Rs 969,000 compared to Rs 829,000, Rs 869,000 and Rs 939,000 respectively.