Government to announce
cotton policy by March
The federal government will announce Cotton Policy by March next, two
months ahead of the sowing of year 2000 cotton crop.
"Federal Agriculture Minister Shafqat Ali Jamote acceded to our
demand for the formulation of a cotton policy," Chief Executive of Farmers Associates
Pakistan (FAP), Malik Afaq Tiwana told pressmen after 72nd Extra-Ordinary General Meeting
of the organization at Lahore Press Club (LPC) here Thursday.
Tiwana said that the policy would provide for the exports of the
surplus cotton to avert 1999 like price crisis. He said that government had also agreed to
consider the issue of enhancing credit for the agriculture sector.
He said that there was need of at least Rs 100 billion loans for the
agriculture sector against the existing level of Rs 40 billion.
State Bank governor briefed on ADPB
The Governor, State Bank Dr Ishrat Hussain was briefed on operational
aspects and working of the bank during his visit to Agricultural Development Bank of
Pakistan on Wednesday.
A press release of the ADBP said that the governor was also apprised
about the future plans and various proposals to be adopted by the bank's management aiming
at improving the efficiency of the bank, recovery of over dues, strategy for revival of
sick units etc by the acting chairman Feroze Bashir Ansari.
Move to stabilize sunflower prices
Federal Food and Agriculture Secretary, Dr. Zafar Altaf has said that
the government would take every possible step to ensure that the Sunflower growers get
reasonable price for the produce.
Ministry of Agriculture has sent a summary to the Government of
Pakistan regarding steps to help stop the prices of the imported edible oil from falling
below a particular level and ensure due return to the sunflower growers, he told. The
sowing of the Sunflower crop which began on January 1, is likely to be completed by
February 15. The area-wise target is 0.5 million hectares.
Natural gas regulatory authority established
The government on Monday promulgated an ordinance seeking establishment
of Natural Gas Regulatory Authority (NGRA), in a major legislative step towards the
privatization of two major gas distribution companies of the country.
The NGRA bill, which has finally been promulgated through an ordinance
under the provision of proclamation of October 14,1999, and provisional constitutional
order, had been pending before the suspended parliament for the last several years.
The delay in creation of NGRA had stalled the whole privatization
programme of Sui Northern and Sui Southern gas pipeline companies, which has been on cards
for the last a decade.
The privatization commission of Pakistan despite its best efforts could
not get the law passed in the previous Muslim League government as certain vested
interests were not in favour of privatization of the two major gas distribution companies.
The authority, comprising a chairman and two members designated
as member, technical, and member, financewill have the exclusive powers to issue
licenses and regulate gas distribution activity in the country. The authority, keeping
consumers interests supreme, will also prescribe, review, approve and regulate tariffs,
the ordinance said.
IMF team delays visit
A five-member IMF review mission has delayed its schedule for a couple
of days, which was expected to arrive here on Tuesday.
Sources in the multilateral agencies said that the mission, to be
headed by Ms Sena Eken, was likely to arrive here this week.
Microsoft offers discounts
Microsoft has announced drastic discounts for students and teachers, to
contribute to the growth and development of nascent IT market in Pakistan. "Microsoft
has a commitment to the academic community, which are producing IT (Information
Technology) leaders for the future," said Microsoft Business Development Manager in
Pakistan, Kamran Iqbal. The copies of Microsoft Office 2000 Professional are now available
to Pakistani students and institutions at a price of Rs. 4,900 compared to the worldwide
price of over Rs 25,000, under the company's Student Licensing Scheme.
Shaukat urges expansion of manufacturing
Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz has urged the Industrial sector to expand
its manufacture base and pay tax due without reservations.
He met three delegations of the pottery, textile and cigarette sectors
and assured their members of the solution to problems faced by these industries.
An official press release issued Thursday says: A delegation of All
Pakistan Pottery Manufacturing Association, led by its president Haji Nasir Mehmood, met
with the finance minister and discussed problems faced by the industry. The minister urged
the members to expand the industrial base as 'the cottage industry always plays a vital
role in the development of economy.'
The delegation was assured of the solution to their problems and all
possible assistance in this connection.
Punjab may cut expenses by Rs8-10bn next fiscal
Financial wizards in the Punjab are striving to formulate a plan which
they hope will cut the province's annual non-development expenditure between Rs8bn to
Rs10bn in the next fiscal year.
Planning pundits of the province are believed to have reached the
conclusion to merge various government departments and organs in a bid to reduce the
overall size of the public sector.
"The merger holds the key to success of our strategy. If number of
government departments is reduced, the province will definitely see a substantial
reduction in its annual recurring expenditure" senior government officials closely
attached to the new plan told.