Pakistan's industrial and commercial growth and export competitiveness
are severely handicapped by weak and over-staffed public sector institutions.
According to a latest World Bank study, this commercial and industrial
growth has also been hampered by poorly targeted investments, neglect of essential highway
maintenance, high transport costs, and poor safety standards.
The government plans to implement a 10 year National Highway
Improvement Programme to improve public spending, increase maintenance components,
introduce more private and road-user sources of financing, improve and commercialise road
sector agencies, and to promote private sector provision and operation of highway-related
In the urban sector, the burgeoning urban population is growing at
almost 5% annually and is outstripping the expansion of delivery of urban services.
Improving water supply, sewerage systems, and solid waste management are important
priorities for improving the situation. The government plans to undertake major reforms to
development the capacity of local governments to deliver better service, while encouraging
private sector participation in urban service delivery.
China to explore mineral resources
China and Japan have shown keen interest in making the best use of the
minerals available in Balochistan, official sources said.
Chinese have evinced interest in setting up a mini steel mill at Macch.
According to sources, the proposed mill would be based on 273 million tons of iron ore
reserves in Dilband, Chigendik, Pachinkoh and Chilghazi.
Moreover, China needs two million tons of chromite annually, which is
available in Chagai district. This aspect will be fruitfully negotiated with the Chinese
Similarly, Japan has shown interest in the import of building stones
abundantly available in Balochistan.
Privatization process at a standstill
Pakistan's slow moving privatization process, which includes its
flagship telecommunications utility, has ground to a complete stop since the military
coup, privatization sources said.
They said the state's Privatization Commission had been clueless about
its future without a chief and a board.
Gen. Musharraf, due to announce an economic revival package on December
15, is expected to unveil a plan for privatization, which had slowed down under Sharif's
stopgo management and is a key demand of the International Monetary Fund.
'We are headless without a board, and no decision can be taken unless
we know what is expected from us or what this government wants,' said a Privatization
Commission official who asked not be identified.
Officials said Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, supervising a team of
experts working on an economic revival plan, was expected to be briefed by commission
officials about the status and prospects of privatization.
The privatization list covers most government-run enterprises including
banks, railways, airline, oil refineries, gas distribution and power companies.
The process is supposed to bring in $5bn to $8bn when all the firms are
sold, a process which could take several years. Pakistan's foreign debt is $32bn and all
proceeds are supposed to be used for debt retirement.
On top of the list is Pakistan Telecommunications Co. Over the past
three years its sell-off has run into several snags, including abrupt changes of
The ousted government had planned road shows to market PTCL in April
this year but then delayed them to the end of the year due to disagreements on some core
issues that needed to be resolved before the company was offered to buyers.
Pakistani expertise in Iraq's oil, gas sector sought
Iraq is keen to utilize Pakistani technical expertise for the
development and rehabilitation of its oil and gas industries.
This was stated by Hisam Al-Din, leader of a seven-member delegation of
Iraqi State Company for Oil Projects during a meeting on Tuesday with vice chairman Export
Promotion Bureau (EPB), Syed Masood Alam Rizvi.
Hisam said that Iraq was currently producing nearly three million
barrels of oil per day which, he said, is likely to be enhanced progressively to six
million barrels a day with the lifting of the US sanctions, hopefully, in the near future.
Textile made-ups deprived of low yarn price benefit
The benefit of cheap cotton is not making its way to textiles made-ups,
as yarn prices in local market continue to stay near last year's high levels, when lint
prices had sky-rocketed owing to crop failure.
The present soaring rates of cotton yarn have no relation to the fallen
cotton prices which otherwise should have been shared by the spinners with the textile
made-up sector to keep them competitive in the world market.
Offer for shipbreaking project in limbo
Pakistan has not been able to avail itself of the British firm's offer
for the development of shipbreaking industry and international tourism at Gadani along the
Knowledgeable quarters told a group of newsmen on Saturday the firm,
Infrastructure Development Co. under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the
Balochistan Development Authority (BDA) had committed to complete a 4-point plan at Gadani
to meet the requirements of rerolling mills and allied industries during the tenure of the
The firm, sources added, could not fulfil its commitment because there were no positive
signals from the previous government. The firm, despite its readiness to go ahead with the
preliminaries has not been able make any progress in this regard.