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INDUSTRY

Mar 06 - 12, 2000

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

Alkaline battery

Gillette Pakistan introduced Duracell Ultra, an alkaline battery specifically designed to meet the intense power requirements of sophisticated electronics.

According to a press release, the battery in high drain devices is offered in the full range of AA,AAA,, C, D and 9 volt sizes.

The company also announced that the improved technology would increase the guaranteed shelf life of Duracell to seven years compared to five years found in most ordinary alkaline batteries.

Alliance

Hewlett Packard and Microsoft announced the expansion of their alliance partnership in Pakistan to implement a series of new customer-focused initiatives built around Microsoft Windows 2,000.

Contract signed

Pak Telecom Mobile Limited (PTML) has signed a 50.7 million dollar agreement with Canada's Nortel Networks for GSM Cellular Mobile network infrastructure equipment including intelligent network, billing and customer care, voice mail, transmission etc. The cost of duties and taxes will be borne by PTML.

Public sector corportions to be reduced

The Government of Pakistan has decided to reduce the number of public sector corporations to only three by merging all of them into National Fertiliser Corporation (NFC), Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) and Pakistan Steel (PS) to be supervized by the ministry of industries, a reliable source told.

But in the first instance, he stated, the government will merge the Federal Chemical and Ceramics Corporation (FCCCL) and Ghee Corporation of Pakistan (GCP), into NFC.

The objective, the source said, was to down-size the existing corporations over-burdened as these are with unnecessary staff, rendering the public sector entities unmanageable and financially unviable. But whether the eventual mega-corporations, emerging as a result of the mergers, would necessarily be more efficient, profitable and manageable, experienced observers were not very sure.

According to these observers, until late 1980s, most of these corporations were headed by highly qualified professionals and were a source of substantial revenues for the government. The problem started because of interference by politicians and generalist bureaucrats who forced these enterprises to recruit unneeded staff and to indulge in undesirable practices.

But before the merger of GCP and FCCCL in NFC, according to the source, the government has to decide as to which legal instrument would be the most appropriate for doing away with the various public sector corporations.

The first government of Pakistan People's Party had created the FCCL and NFC under the Companies Act 1913 (which was replaced by the Companies Ordinance in 1984) after assuming the powers under the Economic Reforms Order, 1972, to set up sectoral corporations. The GCP was also established under the same company law in 1973 but after nationalizing the vegetable oil industry under the Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil Industry (Control & Development) Ordinance.

Corporates may get state lands

The federal government is actively considering to give up its policy of distributing state land among the landless peasants and utilize such land for developing big export-oriented fruit farms. Sources said the government might instead allot the state land to the big foreign companies to encourage them to establish fruit farms on modern lines.

Such firms would also be exempted from land reform ceilings, sources claimed. Sources told that finance minister Shaukat Aziz had already sought a report from the ministry of food, agriculture and livestock (MINFAL) about this proposal.

They said if the proposal was finalized, the investors (both local & foreign) would be allotted plots of different sizes ranging between 10 to 10,000 acres for the production of export quality fruits, including strawberry, peaches, apricots, citrus fruit, grapes on the pattern of the Magrabi farms model in Cairo.

10 crops under cultivation

In Balochistan more than ten new crops have been introduced for commercial cultivation under diversified agroclimatic conditions prevailing in different ecological zones of the province.

These crops include: salicornia, oil palm, canola, olive, saffron, betel-leaf, betel-nut, mushroom tropical fruit and vegetables.

An official spokesman said here on Friday that these new crops were in addition to 70 crops already growing successfully in the province both during rabi and kharif seasons.

Govt to achieve agricultural growth target

The government is likely to achieve the agriculture growth target following bumper production of major crops in 1999-2000.

The government had projected 4.3 per cent growth in the agriculture in 1999-2000.

The estimated output of rice, cotton and expected bumper crop of wheat will give a boost to agricultural growth, official sources said here.

Rice output around 4.9 million tons and cotton at 10.5 million bales is estimated, while wheat's output was estimated at 20 million tons but its final production is expected to be close to above target fixed for the crop.

The increase in the production is due to raise in the area under wheat cultivation in the wake of increase in the support price to Rs 3000 per 40 kg and rains, the sources added.

The wheat crop is expected to be above 2 million tons over the last year when actual production was 17.80 million tons.

Industrial policy to be out in April

The government has decided to remove major regulatory distortions, technological deficiencies and to bridge the information gap in order to fully develop the industrial sector.

The second day meeting of the Economic Advisory Board (EAB), which was presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, was told that new industrial policy will be annoumced in April next to remove various impediments that were confronting the industrial sector.