Govt wants cut in
Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz on Wednesday said the government wants to
slash bank interest rates for making low-cost credit available (to the industry to
accelerate economic recovery.)
Speaking to reporters, he said interest rates could not be brought down
by making laws or issuing orders. "The rates are determined by the market forces. The
government is nevertheless making effort to create an enabling environment (for banks) to
cut down the rates. The central bank will also play its due role. The availability of
credit at low cost is high priority for the government."
Aziz, a Citibanker, said the government will itself be biggest
beneficiary of low interest rates "because it is largest borrower of credit from
banks". "The government will be able to reduce its deficit and also avoid
resorting to new taxation by saving money it is forced to pay in interest on its
(domestic) borrowings," he said.
He agreed that the previous government had tried to bring down interest
rates and succeeded in doing so to some extent. However, he believed, there is still some
room to slash the rates further.
The minister, who was on his first visit to the Punjab capital since
taking over charge of the economy, addressed businessmen as well as big farmers in
separate meetings earlier in the day.
He told businessmen at the LSE and the LCCI that he also wants to do
away with wealth tax because it is a "regressive" levy. But the government will
have to find some alternate resources to make up for the loss of revenue in case of
abolition of wealth tax. In addition to this, the government would not like to create am
impression (in the masses) that "prosperous sections of society are being given
Aziz said the governunent is considering to effect wide-ranging tax
reforms in the country as well as broaden tax base and remove anomalies in the existing
Disclose names of exporters
The State Bank has asked the banks to disclose the names of the
exporters who are not bringing in their export earnings on time so that it can initiate
action against them.
The SBP on Tuesday issued a letter to all banks instructing them to
provide details of the cases of delay in receipt of export earnings. The SBP also sought
details about the exporters who fail to sell on time their foreign exchange earnings in
the interbank market. Exporters are supposed to bring in export earnings on due
timethe time stipulated in their export documentsor within four months at
best. Once their export earnings come in, they are supposed to convert the same into
rupees in the inter-bank market at a floating exchange rate.
Arif Habib elected KSE chief
Arif Habib stood elected unopposed as the chairman of the Karachi Stock
Exchange for the year 2000, as no other member filed nomination papers by the closing
time. Arif Habib (46) would head the Karachi bourse for the fifth time; his previous
tenures as the President of the Exchange being 1992; 1993; 1996 and 1997.
Brokerage on raw cotton export raised
The State Bank on Saturday allowed exporters of raw cotton to pay a
maximum commission or brokerage of 2 per cent to foreign buyers instead of 1 per cent.
An SBP circular (F. E. 28) issued to all the banks dealing in foreign
exchange said the increase would remain effective "till further orders." The
circular sharpened the division between raw cotton exporters and textile millers.
Intel holds seminar
Intel Pakistan held a seminar on "Power for the future direction
in enterprise computing".
Keith Holthman, Architecture Marketing Manager Intel Asia highlighted
the role of Intel technologies in the changing business environment especially the Intel
Architecture based servers, which tightly integrate key business systems, seamlessly link
all business partners at cost-effective prices and steer customers businessmen to take
advantage of what's ahead.
National Power gets ISO-9002 certification
The Country Manager, Lloyd Register Quality Assurance, Q.M. Rizki
awarded ISO-9002 certificate to the Station Manager National Power Ian
The certificate covers operation and maintenance of power generation
plant and auxiliary equipment. It includes the provision for fire brigade and occupational
health at Hub Power Station.
merged into ministry
The Pakistan Railway Board is learnt to have been abolished as a
policy-making body and merged into the Ministry of Railways. It has been replaced by an
organization with the same nomenclature which, railway officers believe, will merely be
consultative in nature.
The decision is understood to have been taken in an overall review of
the railways privatization plan which has sufficiently been rolled back and which
envisages restoring unity of command at all levels of the organization's operational
The new 15-member board will be constituted after the federal cabinet
approves it along with the new policy on the Pakistan Railways.
The board was set up in 1959 under an ordinance to take policy
decisions and execute them. But it became functional when the federal government
transferred its executive powers to this body through a presidential order in 1962. The
abolition of the railway board means that the federal government has, through the
ministry, reassumed powers to take policy decisions.
Wapda's financial restructuring plan
Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz appreciated Wapda's efforts for
strengthening this national institution which he said was, 'moving in the right
He was presiding at a high-level meeting here at Wapda House on
Thursday. It was his first visit to Wapda House after taking over charge of Finance
The federal finance minister, who spent more than six hours in Wapda
House, discussed the financial restructuring plan of Wapda, financing for various
development programmes including Ghazi Barotha Hydropower Project, Chashma Hydropower
Project, National Drainage Programme and Power Sector Development.