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
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
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
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
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