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POLICY

May 22 - 28, 2000

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

China considers Rs40bn investment

The Pakistan-China Joint Economic Commission (JEC) has constituted three working groups to explore possibilities of Chinese investment in a Rs40 billion Railways Rehabilitation project, construction of Gwadar sea port and expansion of Pakistan Steel, an official press release said.

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, who is currently in Beijing, with Chinese Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Shi Guangsheng cochaired a meeting of the JEC, which took a number of decisions to increase Pakistan-China cooperation in different fields of economic activity, including commerce, trade and industry, the press release said quoting a message received from Beijing.

The 11th session of Pakistan-China Joint Economic Commission (JEC) held on May 15 and 16, was a follow-up to the Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf's visit to China in January, it said.

The finance minister was accompanied by Mr Tariq Imam, Chairman of Export Promotion Bureau, and senior officials, including Secretaries for Railways and Petroleum and Natural Resources, and Additional Secretary In-charge Economic Affairs Division. A group of 17 leading businessmen also accompanied the finance minister.

The sub-groups, constituted by the JEC, were also mandated to review the existing and future plans concerning bilateral economic cooperation and trading relations. Mr Aziz and his Chinese counterpart Mr Shi signed the agreed minutes of the 11th JEC meeting.

The two sides agreed to explore the possibility of enlarging cooperation in such fields as telecommunications, agriculture, information and technology, urban planning and transportation, oil and gas and other infrastructure development projects.

China would encourage its corporate sector to build small and medium-size hydro power plants in Pakistan, it said.

Rohri Cement auction

The federal government has decided to auction in June 2000 the Associated Cement, Rohri presently an auxiliary of the State Cement Corporation of Pakistan.

Privatization Commission sources revealed that AC Rohri is one of the two units of Associated Cement (the other at Wah), and was bifurcated as a separate public limited company in July 1990.

The unit was formed as a company in December 1991 and its 100% shares are presently held by SCCP.

New PIA chief

Mr Sher Afgan Malik who has taken over as managing director of PIA since May 11, is a management accountant by profession.

Income tax for salaried class may be reduced

The Government plans to reduce the tax rate for the salaried class in the 2000-2001 budget.

A proposal to this effect was submitted to the Chief Executive Gen Musaharraf Thursday. A briefing was conducted by Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz and chairman Central Board of Revenue, for incorporating a package of tax relief to the low-income group and about the final plan of the GST/Income Tax survey to Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf.

Govt obtains import details

Import general manifests (IGMs) of the last 10 years have been acquired by the government to investigate under-invoicing, and under-assessment of import consignments.

The Central Board of Revenue sources told that the IGMs were demanded last week by the present government after a number of reports that underassessment and underinvoicing took place during 1991-1999, causing phenomenal losses to the national exchequer in federal revenues.

Surplus freight charges

State Bank of Pakistan has allowed banks to remit surplus freight collections of foreign shipping companies voyage-wise.

SBP's Circular No.5 dated May 13, 2000 said the banks would allow remittances of the surplus freight of the ships voyage-wise for an amount not exceeding the amount mentioned in last column of the statement of FP-Shipping (App.V-46-A) and shall ensure that whole disbursement whether paid or due but not paid and amount of freight not yet collected are duly deducted from the freight collection.

Inching up of inflation seen

A constant rise in the prices of energy products may disturb the price stability in the economy, financial analysts said.

Given the fact that overall inflation is at 3.4 per cent as of March this year, non-food inflation has steadily risen from a level of 3.1 per cent in August 1999, to 4.9 per cent in March, 2000.

The increase in the domestic price of petroleum products in March this year, ranging from 1.3-11.8 per cent on different categories and later 10 per cent increase in the furnace oil prices may threaten the price stability in the economy.

PQA cuts draft

Port Qasim Authority (PQA) will reduce the draft by 0.5 metre from the existing draught limitation from June 1 keeping in view the safety of shipping and port and also for safe navigation during the monsoon period.

According to PQA, due to reasons beyond the control of the authority, maintenance dredging for 1999-2000 could not commence until April 2,000.