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May 29 - June 04, 2000

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

Govt to clear refund claims

The federal government has decided to release most of the refund money claimed by the export sector.

The decision has been taken after examination of a number of reports by survey teams during the past three weeks at CBR.

A major chunk of the withheld refund/rebate amounts claimed by the export sector would be released within a fortnight, say CBR officials.

"The CBR has taken this decision to honour the finance minister's announcement last Tuesday that the export sector would continue to be assisted fiscally, in boosting the exports", said a senior official.

Its learnt from officials that the CBR had withheld these refunds for two main reasons: to verify most of the claims filed for refunds and rebate repayment during the past 4-5 months; and to boost its net collection which would have been Rs 245-50 billion, and not Rs 269 billion (in the first 10 months) if these payments had been made.

It was further learnt that the CBR set up a committee to examine the reports based on verification in Lahore, Karachi and Gujranwala, which concluded that most of the "minor" observations in the refund claims to be settled in the post-release audit. The CBR officials say that an amount of Rs5-6 billion is under observation.

The rest of about Rsl6 billion, say CBR officials, has been withheld. "only to keep the net collection figures up", said a senior CBR official. He added that the CBR has also instructed the collectorates in major industrial estates to strike a deal with major refunds/ rebate claimants for an adjustment of the refund/ rebate amount in their future (July/ August) tax assessment. This way, the CBR officials say, the CBR keeps its net collection figures maintained at a higher figure than the actual amount collected.

TCP scrap bids for 40,000 bales

Trading Corporation of Pakistan on Friday scraped all bids for 40,000 cotton bales of Afzal, 1467-type and Elaka respectively without assigning any reason, trading sources said.

However, inside sources said that the members of Price Evaluation Committee were of the view that the cotton market was very bullish and the rates will further go up in future.

They said another reason for scraping the bids was the slow shipment by international cotton merchants.

The international prices for Pakistani cotton were about 52 cents while New York Future was 60 cents.

10 cos prequalify for LPG sell-off

Privatization Commission has prequalified ten companies for the privatization of LPG business, on the basis of the statement of qualification, submitted by them, an official announcement said.

Privatization got overwhelming response as 25 companies had submitted statement of qualification for the privatization of LPG business, the press release said.

Those declared prequalified included Caltex Oils, Gas Power, Lilleys Skyways Joint Venture, Pakistan Oilfields Limited, Pakistan Papersack, Petrosin Products, Shell Gas LPG Pakistan, SHV Energy, Total and Winston fuels.

Waiver on LPG import proposed

The ministry of Petroleum has recommended waiver of custom duty on the import of liquid petroleum gas and extension of duty exemptions on the CNG kits for another five years for introducing the gases as alternative fuel.

In an effort to cut its import bills on the POL products, the government introduced CNG as vehicular fuel few years ago and it was instant success. At present there are more than 80,000 vehicles using CNG fuel.

Mobilink stakes sold

An Egyptian Mobile Telephone Company has purchased shares worth $60 million of Mobilink Pakistan from International Wireless Company here on Tuesday.

Chief Executive of Mobi-neil-mobile telephone company of Egypt, Najeeb signed sale agreement with the International Wireless Company.

Najeeb later met Chief Executive General Pervez Musharaf and Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, Chairman Privatization Commission, Altaf M. Saleem and showed interest in privatization of Pakistan Telecommunication Company.

Snags in rice export to Iran removed

Snags inhibiting export of 15,000 tonnes of Irri-9 rice to Iran have been removed and exporters are preparing consignments as per new understanding reached between both the sides, TCP sources said Monday.

"The consignment of Irri-9 rice for Iran is likely to be ready for physical shipment by the end of this month when a scheduled vessel will be reaching the Karachi Port for its haulage," sources added.

The contract for the export of Irri-9 rice (whole grain 60%) at $229 per tonne was finalised early this year when TCP chairman Muhammad Javed Ashraf Hussain lead a delegation to Iran.

However, the contract ran into snags when Iranian inspection team raised objection over the quality of rice, which according to them, was not as per specifications agreed upon. Under a contract signed earlier this year, exporters were to ensure 60 per cent whole grain on one per cent under milled.

Market for Pakistani medicines

Pakistani pharma companies can easily capture Kazakstan's market for medicines, herbal medicines and veterinary medicines, says a report.

Kazakstan, the largest country in Central Asia with a population of 15 million, has no pharmaceutical industry and depends mostly on import for its domestic requirements.

Accord for making vehicles

Millat Tractors Ltd and Samsung have reached a Rs. 200 million agreement for progressive manufacturing of 1.2 ton light commercial vehicle in Pakistan.

The agreement spread over five years will enable Millat Tractors Ltd to acquire technology for manufacturing of light commercial vehicles. After this period the company will become independent and may continue building the vehicles on its own.