Chinese technicians asked
The Saindak Metals Limited (SML) has served notice on the Chinese
technicians and experts in Balochistan to vacate the premises and take away the heavy
machinery and equipment from the metal plant.
The SML officials took the plea that since the government had agreed to
lease out the Saindak project, for which the process was initiated by shunting out all the
workers before undertaking the ground work, therefore, the Chinese technicians were asked
to vacate the premises.
When contacted, the Chinese technicians took exception to such a demand
and said that they were the employees of the Metallurgical Construction Company of China
and they would obey the orders of their bosses only.
They said they had dumped equipment and heavy machinery worth billions
of rupees at the Saindak site and it was impossible to take them back to China without an
approval from the Chinese government.
'Medium-term economic scenario beset with problems'
While short-term economic prospects of the country are comfortable, the
medium-term economic scenario is riddled with difficulties. These relate to structural
weaknesses, fiscal problems, debt management and incidence of poverty.
This was the essence of briefing by Secretary General Finance Moeen
Afzal and Governor of State Bank (SBP) Dr Ishrat Hussain who spoke about three main
aspects: misreporting of budgetary figures, the present economic performance and prospects
and discussions with the IMF mission.
Speaking about the current year's performance, especially after the
measures taken by the new government since October 12, Moeen Afzal said that the economic
situation is reasonably comfortable. "The situation is stable and continues to be
so," he said.
This is borne out by the GDP growth, inflation figures reduction in
budget deficit and likely revenue receipts during this year.
According to him, the GDP growth would be 4.4 per cent against 3.1
percent of last year, inflation would stay around 4 per cent and the budget deficit in
past two years has been reduced by 1.9 per cent.
The foreign exchange reserves have been stable despite the fact that
there was no injection of foreign funds from donors or other agencies.
The revenue target for the year was Rs 379 billion, but was revised to
Rs 362 as certain budgetary measures, like adjustment in petrol prices and GST on
electricity were not taken. He was confident, the revised target, would be met.
Privatization of PTCL deferred
The Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCOP) on Tuesday deferred the
privatization of Pakistan Telecommunication Company with a view to getting a better price
The committee observed that it would offload 26 per cent shares of the
PTCL with the transfer of its management to its strategic buyer when the internal and
external economic environment was improved, official sources told.
The privatization of the PTCL was on the agenda and one of the reasons
for its postponement was that the finance minister had left the meeting quite early to
leave for Washington.
MoU signed with UAE
United Arab Emirates and Pakistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding
for collaboration in the field of Biosaline agriculture.
The agreement was signed by Dr Mohammad Al-Attar on behalf of the UAE
Biosaline Agricultural Centre and Dr Kausar Abdulla Malik, chairman Pakistan Agricultural
According to the agreement the scientists of both the countries will
share knowledge and advance their skills for development of agricultural sector to meet
the present day challenges.
KSEW bid for a turnaround
Prospects have brightened to save Karachi Shipyard and Engineering
Works (KSEW), presently in a bad financial condition, from going "sick", with
the implementation of a renewed marketing strategy worked out for this strategic
Under the envisaged strategy KSEW will be constructing four Frigates
for Pakistan Navy at a projected cost of 500 million dollars in joint collaboration with
China, Rear Admiral Arshad Munir Ahmad, Managing Director, KSEW said here on Tuesday.
The project has been okayed by the Chief Executive and now the Ministry
of Defence and Naval Headquarters were seized with the task of arranging funding for the
same from the Ministry of Finance, the Admiral said.
Gas connections assured
Federal minister for petroleum and natural resources Mian Usman
Aminduddin has assured to provide gas connection for self generation to industries and to
accommodate pending cases with SSGS for supply of 15 MMCFD gas for power generation.
The assurance was given by the minister during a meeting with three
member delegation of FPCCI at OGDC Lodge on Tuesday.
The minister informed the delegation that SSGC has been authorized to
sanction gas connection for power generation without referring these cases to Islamabad.
Wheat output below target
Pakistan's wheat production is projected to reach 19.3 million tonnes
this year, government officials said on Monday, signalling a crop below the target of 20
million tonnes and putting in doubt plans to stop imports.
An Agriculture Ministry official said the government's federal
committee on agriculture set the new estimate in a meeting last week and added it could be
revised as fresh crop data arrives.
"These are the first estimates and could be reviewed depending on
an increase or decrease in the crop size," the official said.
He said water shortage in the crop area hit the production targets as
"it affected pollination and size of the grain." Irrigation officials say low
winter rains and late snow melting has left water levels dangerously near the minimum and
said the shortage could also hit the cotton crop, predicted to be the largest in several