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Jul 10 - 16, 2000

Shaukat, IMF discuss fiscal reforms

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz met the Deputy Managing Director of International Monetary Fund, Eduarado Anianat on Wednesday and discussed with him a number of financial matters including Pakistan's new reform package.

The two met at the sidelines of the United Nations Economic and Social Council's annual meeting. On Tuesday Mr Aziz said Pakistan has been servicing its loans to IMF and the World Bank without getting any money from these institutions.

Referring to petroleum prices he said these have been de-linked from Pakistan's budget and are now linked to the prices set up by the consortium of oil producing nations, OPEC.

In an interview, he said that there will be a quarterly review of the petroleum prices and the trend operating in the market would be reflected on the petrol pumps. The next review is to take place on September 15.

The Finance Minister said that public sector corporations like Pakistan Airlines, Wapda, KESC etc., would have to be restructured and made more efficient and economically viable.

He said these corporations are a major challenge to the government as the total fully loaded costs of these corporation is 1.7 per cent of the GDP.

"If we can make these corporations more self-sufficient or even make them break even, we can save a lot of money," he added.

He said the "chief executive wants to restructure these corporations and make them viable and in this connection we are reviewing various corporations including the Steel Mills, Wapda, the highway administration, PIA and KESC to see how their performance can be improved.

Mr Aziz suggested that a criteria for running a corporation should be set up.

Pakistan to buy Chinese Mig jets, says Musharraf

The chief executive, General Pervez Musharraf, said on Saturday that Pakistan would buy Mig F-7 fighter jets from China to strengthen its air force for upcoming challenges.

He was talking to newsmen after performing the ground-breaking ceremony of the first section of the 640-km-long Makran coastal highway which would eventually link all the coastal towns between Gwadar and Karachi.

Recalling the deep-rooted relationship with China, he said: "We are going to have a deal with China because the government wants to make the air force strong to meet the upcoming challenges.

"We purchase a lot of things from China with whom we have a very old relationship," said Gen Musharraf, who had last week described the completion of the Chinese-aided Chashma nuclear power plant as an important milestone in Pakistan's peaceful pursuit of nuclear technology.

Amended leasing rules

The Securities & Exchange Policy Board (SECPB) at its meeting on Thursday accorded approval to the Leasing Companies (Establishment & Regulation) Rules, 2000 which include provisions for further development of leasing business in Pakistan.

Khalid A. Mirza, Chairman of Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan, newly appointed Chairman of the Board, presided over the meeting which was attended by all the members of the board.

Zahur Mills puts 20,520 spindles on sale

Zahur Textile Mills Limited plans to sell out 20,520 spindles, together with the building, plant & machinery, so as to raise money for paying off debts. The fixed assets that are planned to be put on the block form spinning unit-III of this composite textile company that deals in yarn to cloth.

Surcharge on salary tax removed

The federal government has notified removal of 10% surcharge on the tax payable by the salaried class, and a further 50 per cent relief from tax liability to full time teachers and researchers serving in non-profit institutions.

Two notifications were issued on Wednesday, which explain the method of calculation of tax by the salaried persons under the revised rates for the financial year 2000-20001. SRO 457(I)/2000, dated July 1, 2000.

Single chief for SECP, SECPB

The federal government has decided to unite offices of chairmen Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and Securities & Exchange Policy Board (SECPB) in a single person for speedy decisions and has appointed Khalid Mirza of SECP as the chairman of both, SECP and SECPB.

Khalid Mirza replaces Khalil Mian, who was the first chairman of the board appointed as a private sector member, stated a senior SECP official.

Accord with IPPs vital for US support

The United States has urged Pakistan to resolve complaints of the IPPs and the problem between Sabre company and the PIA, to win Washington's support for the package to be considered at the IMF's board meeting in September.

This was stated by the US Consul General, John E. Bennett, in meet-the-press programme of the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday when asked what Washington was expecting Pakistan to do for his country's support in the next IMF board's meeting.

Stagnation feared in trade ties

Mr Shun Imaizumal, leader of the visiting Japanese economic mission, said on Monday that unresolved issues like the IPPs or deferred payments/non-payment of public credit may lead to stagnation in Pakistan-Japan economic relations.

Speaking at a meeting of Pak-Japan Business Cooperation Committee at the Federation House, he said honouring of commitments and consistencies in economic policies are vital for seeking Japanese investment