Economic Advisory Board
The federal government has set up an Economic Advisory Board under
finance minister Shaukat Aziz with 14 financial and economic experts to help chalk out
policies for financial and economic turnaround.
The members of the board are: Syed Babar Ali, Dr Hafeez Pasha, Zafar A
Khan, Manawwar Hameed, Shoaib Sultan Khan, Shahid Kardar, Jehangir Siddiqui, Arshad Zaman,
Altaf Saleem, Bashir A. Mohammad, Shahid Haq, Abdullah J. Memon, Azam Farooqui and Aziz
Apart from these members, the federal ministers for petroleum,
commerce, industries and production, food, agriculture, Governor State Bank of Pakistan,
Deputy Chairman Planning Commission and federal secretary finance would be on the board as
informal members. Additional secretary finance would officiate as secretary of the board.
An official handout issued here Saturday says: The board shall identify
issues afflicting the economy as well as factors responsible for the state of the economy.
It shall offer practical solutions and recommend measures for important economic issues to
be incorporated in the economic policy of the government.
The first meeting of the board will be held on November 15,1999. The
federal government has been authorised to appoint more members of the board or change any
of the members. The EAB's secretariat would be set up at the finance ministry.
The board has been assigned to point out shortcomings and
contradictions in the present financial and economic system and policies and suggest
remedial measures. The board has been authorised to create its auxiliary groups for
different tasks it chooses to take on.
Tractor deliveries resumed
Manufacturers have decided to resume deliveries of tractors to the
farmers within a week following clearance of outstanding amount by the Agriculture
Development Bank of Pakistan (ADBP).
The bank has assured the tractor makers to release the outstanding
amounts so that farmers can effectively produce better results, particularly in the wheat
crop whose sowing is already underway.
Chief Executive, Millat Tractors, Sikandar M. Khan told that the ADBP
chief, Fazle Mabood has informed me that the bank is releasing Rs250 million immediately
out of total outstanding amount of Rs500 million.
New wheat varieties approved
The federal government has approved five new high yielding and disease
resistance wheat varieties for general cultivation and marketing purpose.
Names of these approved wheat variety are Mangla-99, Eagle-99,
Iqbal-99, Margala-99 and Shaheen.
These varieties have been developed by farm breeders of Pakistan
Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Wheat Research Institute, Faisalabad and Regional
Agricultural Research Institute, Bhawalpur.
While, the approval of two new wheat varieties namely Wanhar-99 and
Takbeer has been deferred till next meeting.
Earlier, the approval was given in a meeting of the Wheat Variety
Evaluation Committee (VEC) meeting held here the other day.
'Growers to lose Rs30bn on current cotton, rice prices'
Pakistan Peoples Party has warned that growers would suffer
"enormous loss of Rs 30 billion, if cotton and rice prices are not improved through
Cotton prices during PPP government were over Rs 1000 per maund while
presently although price had been fixed at Rs 825, but the commodity finds only Rs 500 per
maund in the market.
Likewise, rice support price was fixed at Rs 220 per maund, but the
same is not fetching more than Rs 150 in the market which indicates to what extent
agriculture sector has been "destroyed by the ousted Nawaz Sharif regime",
maintained member PPP Central Executive Committee and former Federal Minister Nawab Yousuf
Drought, canal closure may hit wheat crop
The target of wheat acreage of 8.5 million hectares has become elusive
as the current wheat sowing is faced with the grim prospects of persistent drought in
barani areas and closure of canals due to shortfall of 2.5 MAF of water in the Mangla and
Water scarcity has threatened not only the wheat crop, but other crops
including fodder and vegetables seem also to be in serious jeopardy.
The barani area constitutes around 17 per cent of the total wheat
acreage and accounts for 12 per cent of the production which is close to 1.9 million tons.
The cultivation of wheat in the barani areas has gained no momentum so far largely because
of water scarciity.
Two oil exploration licences granted
Government on Saturday granted two petroleum exploration licences to
joint venture, Paige Ltd (Paige, 80%), RDC International Ltd (RDC ,15%) and Government
Holdings (5% carried) for exploration over Murgha Faqir Block No.3167-1 covering 7382 sq
kms, in Loralai, Quetta and Pishin districts of Balochistan.
The other licence was granted to a joint venture of Pakistan Oilfields
Ltd (POL, 95%) and Government Holdings (5% carried) over Khushalgarh Block No.3372-10
covering 703 sq. kms, in Attock and Chakwal districts of Punjab.
Simultaneously, Petroleum Concession Agreements were signed between the
parties. These two blocks have been awarded through competitive bidding. Paige is the
Operator of Murgha Faqir Zai Block whereas POL is the Operator of Khushalgarh Block.
Basmati procurement by PASSCO
PASSCO management under the direction of MINFAL has decided to
intervene for ensuring support price fixed by the Government for Paddy growers of Punjab.
According to PASSCO sources such operation about IRRI-6 procurement in
Sindh has already been launched.
Purchase centres have been established in Paddy producing areas of
Punjab for achieving the fixed target i.e. 10 thousand tons Basmati SUPER and equal
quantity of Basmati-385 at the rate pf Rs 425 per 40 kg and Rs 350 per 40 kg respectively.
As directed by MINFAL, PASSCO will not undertake the purchase of
cotton/lint from the ginners / growers, as previously decided.