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Dec 20, 1999

  1. International
  2. Finance
  3. Industry
  4. Policy
  5. Trade
  6. Gulf

Decision on sugar exports

Pakistan's Agriculture Minister Shafqat Jamote said the government would decide next week whether or not to allow sugar exports. Pakistan Sugar Mills Association has asked the government to allow export of 200,000 tons of surplus sugar in two phases after assessing domestic production and demand.

We have to sit down next week to take a decision (on sugar exports), Jamote told reporters.

Duty, tax formula on cars amended

The Central Board of Revenue has offered car importers a liberal duty and tax assessment formula which allows up to 50cc beyond the notified slab of assessment to be ignored by the tax authorities.

Through a Customs General Order (CGO) No 52 of 1999, dated December 16, 1999, spells out the policy in this connection as follows: It has been observed that in some cases the cars being imported in the country by overseas Pakistanis under personal baggage and gift schemes are placed under higher slab of import duties because of their engine capacities which are slightly more than the ceiling of the lower slab e.g. 1834cc, 1602cc or 1335cc etc.

Pakistan to achieve $9bn export target

Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood expressed the confidence that country will achieve the export target of $9 billion during the current fiscal year.

At a press conference here, the Minister said, exports are moving in the right direction and in November, 1999, it registered a growth of 14% over the exports of same period of last year.

The exports of last five months (July-November) in accumulative terms, have also recorded growth of 7% as compared to the corresponding period of the last year, the Minister added.

The press conference was jointly addressed by the Ministers of Finance, Petroleum, Commerce, Food, Governor State Bank, Secretary General Finance and Chairman CBR to explain the features of the new Economic Plan.

Dawood said, he met the officials of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) and was fairly confident that target of $ 9 billion of exports will be achieved

Musharraf announces tax amnesty scheme

The Chief Executive Gen Musharraf has announced a tax amnesty scheme allowing tax evaders to whiten their black money through payment of 10% tax.

This amnesty will be operative by March 31, 2000. A detailed package in this respect would be annouced by Finance Minister Shoukat Aziz on Thursday, Dec 16.

Announcing his government's tax reforms package as part of the economic revival plan here Wednesday, the CE said that "on truthful disclosure of all tax-evaded assets, a payment of only 10% as tax will allow people to bring these assets onto their books."

He added that the government has decided that no black money whitener schemes will be allowed in the future.

LPG bids extended

Pak Arab Refinery Ltd (PARCO) a joint venture between governments of Pakistan and Abu Dhabi has extended last date for submission of bids for sale of 337 tonnes per day Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to Dec 29, from Dec 14, '99, sources said.

The refinery having capacity of producing 100,000 barrels per day of refined products is scheduled to start commercial production from Sept 2000.

Oil import bill gets doubled

The international price of petroleum crude almost doubled, thus increasing the share of the expenditure on oil imports in total import bill from 4.93 per cent to 9.96 per cent during the last five months compared to the corresponding period of last year.

According to an analysis of the detailed provisional monthly statement of imports and exports released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics here Friday, the average price of petroleum crude in November last year was $91.25 per ton. The country had to pay $181.60 for the same quantity this year.

For this reason, the import bill of pet. crude at the end of the 5-month period amounted to $282.7 million, that is, 58.29% more than last year, in spite of 7.62% decrease in the quantity of crude imported.

Petroleum prices raised by 10 per cent

The government on Saturday increased the prices of petroleum products by an average of over 10 per cent.

The increase will push up the price of one litre petrol (premier) by Rs2.96 from Rs26.04 to Rs29. The government has, however, made a comparatively lesser increase in the price of diesel (HSD). The revised price of diesel will be Rs11.26.

The highest increase has been made in the price of furnace oil at Rs7,285 a metric ton—an increase by 16pc.

The government has announced that in future the prices would be adjusted on quarterly basis and the benefits of any reduction in international prices would be passed on to the consumers.

The revised prices are: MS (Regular) Rs27; HOBC (high octane) Rs32; Super Rs29; MTBE Rs38.77; SKO (kerosene) Rs11.25; HSD (diesel) Rs11.50; LDO Rs9.35; JP-4 Rsl2.65; and Furnace Oil Rs7,285 m3tric ton with an increase of Rsl,214.50 a metric ton.

This is the third increase in the petroleum prices since May, 1998. Immediately after detonating the nuclear devices, the government had announced 25pc increase in the POL prices except for diesel.

Next, just before the presentation of this year's budget a 10.5pc across-the-board increase in the oil prices was announced.

Those increases had reportedly yielded to the government a hefty Rs20 billion in the form of fuel surcharges.

Official sources said the government came under immense pressure to take the latest "unpopular decision" as the POL prices in the international market had gone up steeply.

For the last many years fuel surcharge has become one of the major revenue incomes of the government.

In the last financial year, Rs74 billion was collected in the form of petroleum surcharges.