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May 22 - 28, 2000

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

Purchase of 300 wagons approved

The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) on Saturday approved procurement of 300 high capacity railway wagons for transportation of oil, keeping in view the anticipated increased demand in the coming years.

The ECC which met under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz also estimated to have $8.6bn exports for the current financial year against the original target of $9bn. However, the meeting noted that exports have registered an increase of 11.7% against $7.7bn target of '98'99.

Also the ECC noted that exports for the year had gone up by almost 10% during the period July-April 2000. Exports in April showed a record increase of 18% over the same month last year.

In order to facilitate exporters, ECC decided that the Karachi Port and airport facilities as well as Port Qasim Authority would provide 18 hours a day coverage to exporters from May 15 to June 30.

On the fiscal side, ECC was informed that so far CBR has collected Rs277bn which was 17.7% higher than last year. It was informed that there was an increase, both in the collection of direct and indirect taxes. The only tax whose growth was low was Central Excise duty was due to a shift in taxes from Central Excise Duty to the Sales Tax regime.

The meeting also decided to withdraw the Minimum Export Price for tomato in order to encourage growers to produce tomatoes for exports. This decision now opens up the export market for all farm products.

Carpet exports up 31pc

In the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, hand-knotted carpet exports from Pakistan have registered an increase of 31 per cent.

According to the Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PCMEA), the carpet exports stood at $194.5 million during July-April in the fiscal 1999-2000 as compared to $148.2 million in the corresponding period in 1998-99.

The unit prices rose to $52.01 per sqm during the current financial year as against $51.3 per sqm.

'Deals struck with Iran, Turkey'

Several deals for exporting leather, textile yarn, fabric and animal casings have been struck with Iranian and Turkish businessmen, President, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Amjad Rafi said.

The KCCI chief, however, did not reveal the quantity and value of the deals.

"Actually we went there to conduct a market survey for our local products," he told a press conference after return from the visit of these two countries. And the visit revealed that there exists a lot of potential for exporting rice, mango, yarn, fabrics and surgical instruments, he added.

Explaining low trade with Iran, he attributed it to the growing menace of smuggling, causing damage to legal trade. Amjad said that the share of Pakistani rice in Iran stands at only 3.3 per cent out of its total import from the global market.

Cotton prices rise further

Cotton prices on Thursday tended further higher by Rs50.00 per maund after ginners tightened their hold on the market as reports of falling stocks did not allow spinners to stay away.

Floor brokers said ginners appear to be now in a commanding positions and are raising their asking prices at will and spinners have no option but to follow their price line.

'Increase forex through fish exports'

Provincial minister for food, livestock and fisheries, Iftikhar Soomro has emphasised fisheries department, Karachi Fish Harbor Authority (KARMA) and National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) to contribute to increasing foreign exchange by adopting modern methods in the production and export of fish.

Expressing his views during his visit to NIO on Thursday, Iftikhar Soomro advised the commercial fishing trawlers to avoid catch of little underdeveloped fish so that later fishermen could catch them and take full benefit.

Govt to curb trading

Minister for Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood on Wednesday said the government cannot allow a few to make millions of rupees through trading in textile quotas when millions remain jobless in the country.

The minister while speaking as a chief guest at an award and certificate giving ceremony of Pakistan Readymade Garments Technical Training Institute was responding to a point raised by PRGMEA chairman with regard to recent changes made in the textile quota policy.

He said that these sudden changes have been made while keeping in mind certain ground realities and emerging changes being foreseen in year 2004, when MFA will come to an end when there shall be no more quotas for textiles.

Only 2pc of mango output exported

Station manager Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Mr G.M. Rana said that in order to boost export of mango an upgraded Multan airport was an urgent priority. He was dismayed that currently only two per cent of the mango output of the country was being exported.