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Mar 27 - Apr 02, 2000

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

Bids for NBP, HBL shares thru bourses

The government has decided to off load 49 per cent shares of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Habib Bank Limited (HBL) for which bids will be invited through the stock exchanges.

"We will have a jump-start next May for our privatization programme when we will be calling bids for off-loading 49 per cent shares of both the NBP and the UBL through stock markets," disclosed chairman Privatization Commission, Altaf M. Saleem.

He said a decision had been taken that preference would be given to local investors to bid for both NBP and HBL. "We should trust our people and offer them to buy the banks like National Bank and the Habib Bank," he added.

Responding to a question, the PC chairman pointed out that the National Bank would continue to perform treasury functions even after disinvestment." Primarily, we will be offering 49 per cent shares of the NBP to our local people, therefore, I do not see any problem or risk for its privatization," he added.

Mr Saleem foresaw a big response to the privatization of these banks because of their being profitable and having sound banking experience. "We will have a good beginning through these two privatization deals."

Answering a question he said under the new privatization strategy, Pak Saudi Firtilizer Company was being put up for sale within the next two weeks.

Similarly, he pointed out a number of other transactions were being finalized for their early disinvestment. He did not believe there was any unnecessary delay in announcing and carrying out the new privatization programme.

PC chairman also said 25 local and foreign companies had expressed their willingness to participate in the bidding of three LPG plants, working under the ministry of petroleum and natural resources. "We have received a very good response for these LPG plants to get a good price for them," he claimed.

Decision likely to be revised

The government may revise its decision regarding DAP import to meet country's requirements during kharif season (April-September 2000) to avoid '98 crises like situation when its (fertilizer) shortage had led to reduced crops production.

Last month, the government had decided that it will not import fertilizer through FID during the season and will encourage the private sector to meet the requirements of the growers.

If the decision to import DAP is taken, 200,000 metric tons of fertilizer will be imported worth $44 million.

Rashid Mahmood Ansari, MINFAL spokesman told no decision has been taken on this issue. However, the government was closely watching the fertilizer availability situation.

He said the government would continue to watch the situation. If any shortage was reported, the government will make it sure that growers get the commodity at their door step at cheap rates.

'Value-added exports necessary'

Value-added exports is the only way for Pakistan to come out of economic morass and to pursue this objective, brand specialization with optimum cost reduction is the best course.

This was stated by President, United Bank Ltd (UBL), Amer Zafar Khan in a meeting with members of All Pakistan Cloth Exporters Association (APCEA) Thursday.

Emphasizing the importance of exports, he said, it was worthwhile to prefer exports over imports even. In this connection, UBL is prepared to provide facilities.

He said there was enough capital available with the Bank for exporters and it was up to them to utilize the same. The hurdles were not in obtaining the credit for exports, but there were other obstacles like overhead cost and quality standards. The way out for achieving the desired results was to work collectively and find the right solution, he added.

Dhan Fibres stakes to change hands

Dewan Mushtaq group and Chakwal group have come to an understanding whereby Dewan Mushtaq group will acquire majority ownership and management control in Dhan Fibres Ltd. a company of Chakwal group and manufacturer of polyester staple fibre.

According to a press release, the purchase of Dhan Fibres will further strengthen the Dewan Mushtaq group's position in the polyester staple fibre industry. Its company, Dewan Salman Fibre Ltd is the local manufacturer of polyester fibre.

Expo 2000

Pakistan is to participate in Expo 2000 Hanover, Germany, to be held from June 1 to Oct 31, under the theme "Living and Working".

The Expo 2000 under the theme of Humankind, Nature, Technology, a trade and cultural event, is expected to be participated by more than 100 nations, FPPCI said.

FPCCI is preparing to organize Pakistan's participation in the Expo 2000 on a very large scale with close cooperation of its member bodies and under the government patronage.

Rs414m raised from vehicles

Central Board of Revenue raised a total of Rs414m from NWFP under its one time smuggled vehicles' legitimization scheme lapsed on March 15, official sources of the Peshawar customs and Central Excise Collectorate told.

"Some 1717 smuggled vehicles were volunteered for legitimization thus raising a total of Rs 414.77m taxes from across the Frontier province (under the CBR scheme)," a well placed official of the collectorate told.

TCP to export 25,000 tonnes of Irri-9 rice to Iran

Pakistan will export 25,000 tonnes of Irri-9 rice variety to Iran at the rate of 230 dollars per tonne.

The Government Trading Corporation (GTC) of Iran has been asked to open letter of credit for the supply, Chairman Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) told.

Pakistan has already received an order of 15,000 tonnes of Irri-9 from Iran at 229 dollars per tonne for which LC has been opened.

Molasses export earnings to double

Export earning from molasses will double this year, compared with last year, due to tremendous increase in the prices of the commodity in the international market. EU is the main buyer of Pakistani molasses.

According to molasses traders, export will be 25 per cent less this year in quantity than last year, but due to a considerable rise in prices in the world market, the export earning will be doubled.