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Mar 27 - Apr 02, 2000

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

0.3m tons shortfall in sugar needs

Pakistan will be required to import sugar to meet its production shortfall this year as at the end of crushing season, the federal government has estimated that country is short of 300,000 tons against its actual annual consumption.

Sources told that according to fresh sugar production estimates, available stock of sugar is sufficient only for next five months (upto August 2000).

Sources said, the crushing season is scheduled to end this week as all the sugar mill owners of the Punjab in particular have informed the federal government that they will close their mills before the end of March.

Sources said short cane supply to the mills has been reported as the main cause of early closure of these mills.

No wheat import this year: Jamote

Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Shafqat Shah Jamote said that the government will not import wheat this year as the country was expecting a surplus crop.

He was addressing a press conference at Pakistan Central Cotton Committee office.

The Minister said Pakistan is expecting a 20 million tonnes of wheat production this year. The expected requirement of the country is about 18 to 19 million tonnes of wheat.

He said wheat crop in Punjab was bumper and would be able to meet the shortage of other three provinces. The harvesting in the Sindh province has also been started but the system and techniques requires more improvement in the province to get optimum yield of wheat.

85pc of industrial units in NWFP shut, sick

There are about 1,900 sick/closed industrial units in the NWFP which account for 85% of the total industries of the province.

Most of these industrial units have been affected by inconsistent policies of the successive governments, though the major cause of setback has been the locational disadvantage, Afghan conflict and smuggling.

Haji Mohammad Adeel, deputy speaker of suspended Frontier assembly and chairman sick and closed units of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has proposed to the government inter alia to provide a "general rehabilitation incentive package" to the province while leaving the overall problem for the proposed 'Rehabilitation Corporation' for detailed study.

All liabilities of DFIs and commercial banks at the time of closure should be treated as principal amount from the date of revival or cut-off-date and this principal should include short-term loan, long-term loan and simple interest/markup charges only upto date of closure.

Saindak to be given on lease

Federal Minister for Petroleum & Natural Resources Usman Aminuddin has said that arrangements are being made to restart Saindak Project by leasing it out to a competent private firm.

This information was given by him to Governor Balochistan Justice (R) Amirul Mulk Mengal at a meeting held here at Governor house, says a press release issued here on Tuesday.

The Federal Minister said the leasing process would be transparent and as such was being monitored by a committee appointed by the Federal cabinet, over which Government of Balochistan was represented by its Additional Chief Secretary.

Managing Director Saindak Metals (SML) informed the meeting that one major criteria prescribed for selection of an acceptable lessee is the commitment to recruit majority of its employees from Balochistan .

July-Dec lending to growers 10.40pc down

Lending to growers by Agriculture Development Bank (ADBP) and other banks has declined by Rs 2.240 billion during the JulyDecember period this fiscal, it is reliably learnt.

Official sources said that the total agriculture credit disbursed during this period is Rs 19.285 billion as compared to Rs 21.525 disbursed during the corresponding period last fiscal registering 10.40 per cent decrease.

Total production loans disbursed during this period amounted to Rs 15.235 billion as compared to Rs 18.448 billion of the same period last fiscal, declining by 17.42 per cent. The amount distributed in development loans is Rs 4.050 billion as compared to Rs 3.076 billion given during the same period last fiscal, registering an increase of 31.66 per cent.

Investment picks up in textile industry

Reaping rich profits from a bumper cotton crop this season, big textile groups are investing about Rs 20 billion in setting up new spinning, weaving and finishing units and also taking up balancing, modernization and replacement programmes in the existing units.

Over a dozen new spinning, weaving and finishing units are being set up by 10 big business groups. The projects for four spinning units equipped with about 75,000 spindles have already been finalized by three leading textile groups.

Also in finalization stages are the projects of seven new weaving units by half a dozen business groups. These units will have more than 600 looms.

Three other business groups are setting up three new finishing units with a capacity to dye about 400,000 square meters of cloth a day.

A random textile survey revealed that 42 textile units had already placed orders for machinery, equipment and spares worth about Rs 11 billion in spinning and weaving while a dozen business groups are setting up 14 new units of spinning, weaving and finishing.

"This amount is being invested only in purchase of machinery and equipment" a leader of textile business remarked who pointed out that more investment would follow in construction of buildings, installation of this equipment and the supplementary mechanical parts of the projects.

Textile sources are confident that all this machinery and equipment will be installed by September next year and during all this period many more orders for purchase of new machinery and equipment will follow.

Textile sources say that spares and machinery worth more than rupees two billion have already been ordered for the expansion and modernisation of spinning units while equipment and machines worth over Rs 2.70 billion have been ordered for weaving units.