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Jul 03 - 09, 2000

 Product upgrade fund

Commerce Minister, Abdul Razak Dawood said that government would establish a "Product up-gradation fund" in Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) at a cost of Rs 1 billion to give support to exporters.

He expressed these views while addressing a Press conference at PID Media centre on Thursday.

Highlighting the objectives of the fund, the Minister said that this fund would be utilized to support exporters and establish a brain on international level about the Pakistani products.

He said apart from it government was also considering to initiate some incentives for the exporters in order to encourage their exports.

Abdul Razak Dawood said government would consider incentives for exporters for next year according to volume of their exports.

He said, if one exporter would increase his exports to 15%, 25% and 25% etc government would formulate incentives for him according to his level of the exports. "EPB is working on to formulate a scheme for the provision of incentives to such exporters," he added. However, he said that these incentives will not be in the form of commodities.

The Minister said that another scheme was also under consideration of the government namely "Exports Credit Guarantee Scheme" for the benefit of the exporters especially for the new one.

He said that main objective of this scheme would be to help the new exporters collateral problems in the financial institutions and banks.

The Commerce and Industries minister said that government would also establish another scheme namely "Foreign Currency Import facility scheme" to help the exporters to import the raw material for their products of exports.

He said this scheme is being launched in the collaboration of ADB which would provide US $ 250 million for this purpose.

Bids for lifting wheat next week

The Sindh government is inviting bids next Tuesday for lifting of 0.7 to one million tons of wheat that will cost the cash-strapped provincial exchequer upto Rs10 to Rs12 billion.

The tender is being floated apparently on the pressure of the federal food and agriculture ministry which went panicky on setting in of the monsoon in the Punjab. The onset of monsoon threatens both the harvested as well as the standing wheat crop in Punjab.

Experts and market watchers predict a minimum loss of over half a million tons of wheat if the rain lashes the plains of Punjab.

This situation, according to the local millers, has been created because of the continued ban on inter-provincial wheat movement. It has brought down the wheat price in Punjab's open market to as low as Rs260 to Rs270 for 40 kilogram as against Rs300 fixed by the government for the current crop.

PSO, SNGPL, SSGC sell-off

Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday presided over a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Privatization and directed the Privatization Commission (PC) to undertake biddings of SNGPL, SSGC and PSO in the next month.

The chief executive stressed that the privatization process of different transactions in the oil and gas sector including Oil and Gas Development Authority, Pakistan Petroleum Ltd, Pakistan State Oil and government's minority working interests in different fields should be put on the fast track and by maintaining maximum transparency, said a press release.

The Commission would be moving forward accordingly, the release said. The meeting decided that the rate of return in Sui Northern Gas Pipeline and Sui Southern Gas would be changed, in principle, from current return of assets to return on equity basis.

Gas prices increased

The government increased on Friday the prices of gas by 15 per cent, about two weeks after the presentation of the national budget 2000-2001.

The upward revision of gas rates for domestic, industrial, commercial and power consumers will come into effect from July 1.

Crescent Steel to buy cotton factory

Crescent Steel and Allied Products Limited — a downstream steel pipe producing project of the Pakistan Steel Mills — plans to diversify into textile spinning business.

The company told the stock exchange last week, that its Board of Directors had agreed in a meeting on June 22, to purchase a 14,400 spindles cotton spinning unit, located at Jaranwala.

Pfizer acquires Parke Davis

Parke Davis & Company Limited reported to the stock exchanges on Wednesday that Pfizer Inc. — a company incorporated in the United States of America had acquired Warner-Lambert Company, also incorporated in the US. Warner-Lambert Company, USA is the owner of Parke Davis & Company of the USA which holds 75.6 per cent of the issued shares in the capital of Parke Davis & Company Ltd, Pakistan.

MoU signed with Saudi Arabia

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Joint Business Council which is intended to help the businessmen and entrepreneurs of the two countries.

Saudi Minister of Commerce Osama bin Jaafar bin Ibrahim Faqeeh and the Charge d'Affaires of the embassy of Pakistan, M. Nawaz Chaudhary, were present on the occasion.

Engr Usamah M. Al-Kurdi, secretary general of the council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Fazal-ur-Rehman Dittu, president of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), inked the agreement.

New credit facility

The federal government has decided to launch a new scheme for providing credit facility to exports with private sector management and equity funding coming from ADB, IFC, and commercial banks.

The major objective of the "Export Credit Scheme" is to provide greater and easier availability of export finance.

The scheme would focus on value addition sectors, and small and medium, emerging and indirect exporters would be able to take advantage from it.