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INDUSTRY

Apr 24 - 30, 2000

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

Wheat yield estimated at 20m tons

The country is expecting an estimated 20 million tons of wheat production this year.

If the target was met there would be no need of importing wheat thus saving Rs700 million foreign exchange, official sources said.

The country needs an estimated 19 million tons wheat for its domestic requirements.

Last year, 18 million tons wheat was produced whereas 1.6 million was imported to meet the shortfall.

More incentives were offered to farmers aimed at increasing wheat production.

The increase in the procuring price of the crop was the most significant motivation for the farmers to grow more wheat. The government had enhanced wheat price from Rs240 a kilogram to Rs300.

Chinese offer joint ventures

A Shanghai-based firm wants to have joint venture with the provincial government in four projects sponsored by the Sarhad Development Authority (SDA), official sources said.

The Chinese group has offered to transfer technology and provide machinery as their investment in the projects, whereas, SDA will provide plots for setting up the units and the infrastructure facilities.

The units in which interest has been shown include fibre glass, oxalic acid, ferro silicon and food colours/fruit concentration/vegetable hydration.

30pc of fruits, vegetables perish

As much as 30 per cent of the country's total of fruit and vegetables perish every year due to lack of preservation and modern packing facilities.

This was disclosed by an agriculture expert, Ejaz Gill, of Ayub Research Centre Faisalabad, while speaking at a seminar on dates which was organized by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

Gill told the seminar participants that Pakistan produce some 537.5m tons of dates every year valued at Rs 7401.4m, of which dates worth Rs 2590.1m perish every year as there were no packaging and preservation facilities worth the name.

Pakistan Energy Conference

"Pakistan Energy Conference" arranged by Millennium Media last week. It was presented by Pakistan & Gulf Economist and sponsored by Pakistan Kuwait Investment Co. and co-sponsored by Hubco, Karachi Sheraton, Allied Engineering & Services Ltd and Mobil, at the Karachi Sheraton Hotel.

The Chairman of Wapda, Gen. Zulfiqar Ali Khan inaugurating the conference, said flat negotiated settlement with 13 IPPs for an average levelised tariff of 4.75 cents would result in about 1.5 billion dollars savings over the life of the projects for the benefit of our next generation. He also mentioned Wapda's latest breakthrough in tariff reduction by Uch Power project.

Mohammed Amjad, Executive Director, PEPCO, said that steps should be taken to deregulate power generation sector on competitive basis through uniform licensing and tariff rules under NEPRA. He further said that investment in power sector be considered at par with other industries and investment incentives might be regulated through fiscal measures.

The secretary ministry of petroleum and natural resources, Abdullah Yusuf told the conference audience that new gas discoveries will provide an additional one billion cubic feet of gas daily and development plans envisage all these new fields to go into production between December 2,001 to July 2,004.

Dr Anjum Siddiqui, economic advisor to HUBCO, reading a paper on behalf of chief executive, Khurshid Hussain, said the proposal HUBCO presented to the finance minister is very significant and forgives $200 million in receivables up front, reduces future dividends by $100 million, cuts O&M contract by $1.4 million per annum and reduces the IRR from 18 to 15 per cent.

Shaukat Mirza, CEO of Pakistan State Oil (PSO), said that Pakistan's international image for foreign investment at this time was probably at the lowest ever. The expectations of return were much higher than in other countries and we therefore risk creating another 'IPP' like situation, he commented.

The Federal Secretary Ministry of Water and Power, Zafarullah Khan said Pakistan attracted foreign direct investment of $4 billion in private power projects but these projects have created enormous problems for WAPDA and KESC due to high tariff and surplus power.

Govt to launch economic census

The Government will launch the Economic Census from July-August, 2000 to develop an upto-date data for gauging the volume of economic activities across the country.

The first ever of its kind in Pakistan, an "anticipatory approval" has been accorded to the project and it will now be presented before the ECNEC, scheduled to meet next week.

The Director General, Federal Bureau of Statistics, Noor M. Larik, said that the project is fully funded by the government and is estimated to cost Rs. 150 million.

Oka car project held in abeyance

The fate of Russian car Oka 750cc, originally planned to be produced in January this year at a local plant, now hangs in balance.

The car was to roll out from the assembly plant of Sindh Engineering Ltd (SEL) but the project has not been initiated so far.

"We have no concrete information whether the project has been shelved or the government wants to go ahead with it," said a SEL senior official.

Software technology' parks

Under a new Information Technology policy, being framed by the government, initially three Information Technology Parks will be established in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi to provide facilities to the people.

Dr. Ejaz Hussain Khawaja, director general Pakistan Computer Bureau said here on Monday that all facilities relating to Computer and Information Technology (IT) will be provided under one roof for use by the people.

Even space will be allocated on payment in the said parks for use by private parties which will promote it in Pakistan, he said.

Dr. Ejaz said ten groups have been formed to firm up recommendations on Information Technology to be submitted to the government soon.

To promote IT, a sectoral allocation of an estimated Rupees five billion will be required, he said and added that Pakistan has great potential to export software to earn foreign exchange for the country.