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May 29 - June 04, 2000

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

Rs565bn outlay projected

The budget planners in Islamabad expect fixed investment to go up to Rs565.1 billion in the coming fiscal year from Rs525.6 billion, initially projected in the current fiscal year.

While the investment ratio to GDP is expected to remain between 16.6 to 16.9 per cent, the planners are projecting an almost 44 per cent increase in the private sector contribution at over Rs367 billion. Public sector investment is being targeted at about Rsl98 billion.

In the tentative presentation made in the Annual Plan Coordination Committee meeting on May 11 at Islamabad, the planners appeared more than confident towards the proposed tax reforms for generating resources from Rs425 to Rs450 billion. The sales tax recovery in the first nine months has already shown an improvement of more than 70 per cent and planners are hopeful that this trend would be maintained in the coming fiscal.

Simultaneously, the measures proposed for trimming the bulging establishment at both federal and provincial levels are expected to keep the expenditure budget within the prescribed limits.

Well placed sources in Karachi indicated, plans have almost been finalized to axe a number of administrative wings, cells and even departments in Islamabad after their functions are shifted to the provinces. A committee headed by the Punjab finance minister is reported to be working out a strategy in this direction.

Confident of a recovery in the manufacturing sector, both large and small scale, the planners are projecting industrial sector to grow by 6.2 per cent in the year 2000-2001. In the first nine months the industrial growth is hardly 1.5 per cent.

In sharp contrast the growth in agriculture is being projected cautiously at about 4 per cent in next fiscal. The major crops are expected to contribute 3.2 per cent but the minor crops are expected to grow by almost 7 per cent.

Five more cotton varieties for growers

Five new high-yielding and disease resistant cotton varieties have been recommended for sowing this year, thus taking the total number of prescribed varieties to 15.

According to Punjab Agriculture Department spokesman here Wednesday, the newly introduced varieties are- BH118, FH-900, FH-901, CIM-482 and MNH-554.

He said that BH-118 was the drought-tolerant variety, suitable for the Southern Punjab areas usually considered prone to the irrigation water scarcity.

He said that FH-900 and FH901 had been recommended for non-cotton core zone of Faisalabad and Sargodha divisions while CIM482 with a high Ginning Out-Turn (GOT) ratio i.e. 40 per cent is considered fit for the cotton belt.

The varieties presently under cultivation are- MNH-93, FH634, NIAB-78, NIAB Krishma, NIAB-78, FvH-53, CIM-446, CIM-443, CIM1100 and BH-36.

MoU on cheaper iron ore for PS

Iran Central Iron Ore Company will provide iron ore to Pakistan Steel at a price, 12 per cent lower than of the price of iron ore being purchased by the mill from MMTC (India).

A memorandum of understanding to provide 80,000 MT iron ore (40,000 MT fine ore and 40,000 MT lumps) to Pakistan Steel as trial shipment was signed between ICIOC and PS at Bin Qasim on Tuesday.

Pakistan, Libya to set up company

Pakistan and Libya, through a joint venture, are likely to form a Specialized Trading Co to promote trade between the two countries on sustainable basis.

Pakistan is expected to supply cement plants, road building and electrical equipments to Libya at competitive prices and conforming the international quality. Both the countries have completed initial work and formal announcement will be made very soon. A joint ministerial commission (JMC) is scheduled to meet here very soon to decide the formalities in this regard.

Both the sides have also agreed to undertake various other projects of different nature in both the countries. In this connection, a paper has been prepared by the ministry of finance and economic affairs division to be discussed between the two sides in the JMC.

Pakistan Steel to avail of Chinese offer

Federal government has decided to avail a Chinese offer of 1.5 billion dollar investment for expansion of Pakistan Steel (PS) after stabilizing precarious financial health of the mills, it is reliably learnt.

Chairman Pakistan Steel, Lt Col (retd) M. Afzal Khan on Saturday gave a detailed briefing to Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf about the strategy evolved by the new management to restructure the finances of the PS.

He also explained the new financial formula worked out by the management in consultation with the banks for repayment of Rs. 19 billion outstanding loans of the PS.

An official present at the briefing said that the Pakistan Steel would start repayments to the banks from the next financial year. The liabilities of the PS would be cleared in 12 instalments, he claimed.

PCSI may be set up thru ord

The federal government is likely to promulgate an ordinance for the establishment of the Pakistan Cotton Standard Institute (PCSI).

The ordinance, which has been submitted to the federal cabinet for approval-promulgation envisages a fine of Rs50,000 on a ginner found involved in mixing/substandard cotton in addition to confiscation of the material.

The Head office of the PSCI will be located in Karachi and the Institute's Board may with the approval of the federal government set up offices at other places as and when required.