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Dec 13, 1999

  1. International
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Electric, cement cos to be merged

D.G. Khan Electric Company Limited — the captive power plant of the Nishat group — is proposed to be merged with its sister concern, the D.G. Khan Cement Company Lirnited.

Market sources said that the directors intend to move resolutions seeking shareholders' approval at the separate AGMs of the two companies scheduled to be held on Dec 31.

CE okays plan for de-silting water channels

Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf on Monday approved, in principle, a plan prepared by the Army's Corps of Engineers for desilting of water channels in the country.

The chief executive, who was given a presentation on the plan during a corps commanders' meeting held at the General Headquarters here, directed that concerted efforts should be made incorporating concerned civil departments as well as civil administration, to achieve maximum desilting.

The presentation was made by the Director-General, Army Engineers Corps, Major-General Tariq Javed. During the discussion the chief executive emphasized that he would like to see maximum benefit for the farmer by improving the quality of water, which would be the result of this de-silting.

The Director-General, Military Operations, Major-General Shahid Aziz, apprised the participants of the progress on the functioning of Army's Monitoring System, which was set up to provide regular and organized feedback on issues of public concern.

Cotton crop estimated at 10.6-11m bales

The official cotton crop assessment committee has put the current cotton crop output between 10.6 to 11 million bales and it believes that in Punjab 8.5 to 8.7 and in Sindh 2.1 to 2.3 million bales would be produced.

The committee members who met at the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee on Monday noted that the current crop was sown on 2.988 million hectares (2.351 million hectares in Punjab and 0.634 million hectares in Sindh) as against 2.885 million hectares of last year, showing a rise of 3.46% (3% in Punjab and 5% in Sindh).

It was observed that the insect pest situation including that of CLCV remained under control which coupled with favourable weather conditions, helped growers in getting higher average yield per hectare this year in both the provinces.

The committee was informed the the cotton arrivals as on Dec 1 were equivalent to 5.98 million bales visa-vis last year's corresponding arrivals of 4.43 million bales, showing an increase of 35%.

Sale of govt holdings thru stock markets

Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz has said the government will carry out privatization, involving capital markets to allow participation of the people.

He was speaking to the board of directors of Islamabad Stock Exchange which he visited on Saturday.

Besides acting ISE chairman Chaudhry Mohammed Rashid Randhawa, the meeting was attended by the chiefs of Karachi and Lahore Stock exchanges and senior executives of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr Aziz's visit to ISE was a part of his programme to acquaint himself with of various economic issues and listen to businessmen.

Responding to the points raised by Mr Randhawa in his welcome address, Mr Aziz said the government attached high priority to the restoration of investors' confidence, both domestic and foreign, through well-thought policies.

' The government, he pointed out, was faced with enormous task of reprofiling the debt accumulated by the past governments, especially under circumstances where a large portion of the loans had not been utilized in productive investments.

He also told the members the issues relating to IPPs, particularly Hubco, would be resolved soon.

He also underlined the importance of development of human capital as the key for optimal utilization of the national resources.

Earlier, the acting ISE chairman recommended that the Economic Advisory Board committee on the capital markets should comprise elected members of the three stock exchanges with a view to ensuring a practical implementation of the government's economic policy to be announced by mid-December.

Talking about other issues pertaining to stock market, he said the institutions like NIT and ICP should primarily work for mobilization of national savings and provide depth and stability to the secondary markets.

Economic programme to be home-grown

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz on Saturday said, the government held talks with the visiting IMF delegation on the broad economic policies and the macro-level issues.

"They have just come to understand thinking of the new team vis-a-vis the economic policies of the government," he said while talking to newsmen here. "We did not discuss with them any new programme," he responded to a question.

"We told them the (economic) programme will be home-grown and they have supported it," the Minister said.

On the IPPs' issue, the Minister said, the government wants to resolve the issue in the best national interests. "Discussions and negotiations with them are underway," he added.

Aziz informed that a team of HUBCO is coming next week and hoped that there will be progress on the issue.

Responding to a question, the Finance Minister said, the major thrust of the new economic policy will be on agriculture, poverty reduction and boosting investors' confidence.

Cotton arrivals at ginneries up

The cotton arrival at ginning factories has registered an increase of 35 percent to 5.986 million bales till December 1 compared to the same period last year.

A fortnightly report of Pakistan Cotton Ginners' Association (PCGA) said here Saturday that the arrival of cotton was estimated at 4.428 million bales during the same period last year.

Of the total, more than 4.538 million bales came from Punjab while 1.447 million bales from Sindh during the period under review, showing a rise of 34.99 and 35.62 percent respectively over the last year. The 925 operative ginning mills have sold more than 4.162 million bales leaving a unsold stock of more than 1.822 million bales.