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Nov 08, 1999

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

25 projects stalled for want of funds

The fate of 25 major foreign aided projects in Balochistan hangs in balance as the previous government did not pay its share of the amount it committed for these projects.

The projects involving development outlay of Rs 19,757.738 million and aided by IDA, UNDP, ADB, JICA, OECF, World Bank and Kuwait Funds, are reportedly under suspension mainly for want of federal funds. At places where work is in progress, the pace is deplorably slow and it seems that at this speed these projects will take twice the time stipulated for their completion.

It is learnt here on Thursday that these projects once completed on schedule could bring about significant changes in such important sectors as water, power, irrigation, drainage, agriculture, education, livestock, farms to market roads, health, sanitation and environment.

Chinese envoy sees big scope for joint ventures

More joint ventures between the two brotherly countries of China and Pakistan can be launched and the cordial relations that exist between these countries are sufficient guarantee for launching and sustenance of such projects.

These views were expressed by Chinese ambassador in Pakistan Mr. Lui Shon, while addressing the members of Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Wednesday where he was earlier welcomed as guest of honour amidst unprecedented warmth.

The envoy pointed out that during the previous year trade volume between China and Pakistan was worth 913 million dollars, while during the first few months of the current fiscal year, the trade between the two countries was worth 464 million dollars.

Shaukat briefs CE on economic agenda

The finance minister designate, Shaukat Aziz called on Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday and briefed him about his economic agenda.

Informed sources said that he also apprised the Chief Executive about his meetings with the officials of IMF and foreign commercial banks in New York before arriving Islamabad on Monday morning.

Aziz was told by Gen Musharraf to resolve major economic and financial issues including that of the IPP as early as possible to help attract foreign investment in the country.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the finance minister had held detailed meeting with the officials of the ministry of finance on Monday and discussed with them his economic strategy. He said he wanted to adopt result oriented policies so that the major economic issues could be resolved in a record period of time.

Stage being set to auction 500 sick units

The Bankers Committee is setting a stage before Nov 16 for the public auction of over 500 sick industrial units showing stuck-up loan amount of more than Rs 100 billion and government liabilities (taxes and utilities) running into billions of rupees.

Bankers are setting their eyes on the overseas Pakistanis for taking over a large number of these units and injecting the much needed liquidity and hard cash in the national economy.

However absence of a proper legal framework is said to be the main impediment in carrying out this objective.

Bankers are proposing the government to allow the overseas Pakistanis to buy the revivable sick industrial unit at the original principal loan amount. They want complete write off of the accumulated mark-up on the loan and total exemption from payment of government liabilities by way of taxes and utilities.

Shaukat Tareen, who heads the Bankers Committee, had prepared a detailed report with recommendations on revival of sick industries in 1998. He wants the State Bank to authorize the punitive steps against the wilful defaulters. These measures can be by way of recommending arrests and putting the names of defaulters on exit control list.

Bankers explain that the SBP intervention for punitive measires have been sought to spare the investors, industrialists and the bankers from the harassment at the hands of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and other law enforcement agencies.

In 1998, Shaukat Tarin with the help of bankers and legal experts had proposed a set of measures to eradicate what he called the "default culture" in the country.

While proposing "draconian laws" to deal with the wilful defaulters it was also suggested to take "product based solutions" in cases where loan default was because of recession, inconsistent government policies and factors beyond the control of the sponsors.

PASSCO unable to procure rice crop

The expected bumper rice crop in the country may bring little cheers to growers if PASSCO does not procure rice crop for 1999-2000 season owing to its serious differences with federal agriculture ministry over non- payment of its operational losses.

Earlier, in a high level meeting on rice production and export held in the ministry of agriculture at Islamabad on Monday, it was decided that the PASSCO be inducted in the market for the rice procurement.

Changes in pricing of agri products sought

Pakistan Federation of Agriculture (PFA) has urged government to bring about changes in pricing policy of agricultural inputs and outputs as it is mainly responsible for low yield of crops in the country.

'Farmers do not demand high prices of their produce. All that they demand is that prices of farm inputs and outputs should be such which will give farmers a fair return' PFA said.

In a representation to government, the PFA president Mohammad Azam Cheema said farmers are complaining that procurement prices of wheat, rice and support price of other essential commodities are unrealistic as they do not provide any benefit to growers.