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Jul 24 - 30, 2000

Kalabagh dam only after consensus: Cabinet okays

The cabinet on Wednesday discussed the construction of proposed Kalabagh dam and decided to develop a consensus, specially by taking Sindh into confidence, on the issue.

It approved the Haj Policy for 2001, amendment to the Federal Public Service Commission Ordinance, 1977, and amendments to the Securities and Exchange Ordinance, 1969.

Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf told the cabinet that his government did not plan to take any "unilateral decision" to build the Kalabagh dam and that a broad consensus would be achieved before opting for the project, according to official sources.

He stated that all apprehensions of Sindh would be removed and added that some people in the NWFP were also opposing the project who, too, were being told that the proposed dam was the only option to end the acute water shortage.

The cabinet endorsed the CE's initiative to create awareness for the construction of Kalabagh and other dams.

He warned of a serious water crisis if people continued to oppose the construction of new water reservoirs. Recently, he said, he had met a number of people in Karachi and told them that they should support the plan to have more dams, including the Kalabagh dam.

The CE, sources said, regretted that during the last 53 years, only a couple of dams could be constructed. He cited the example of Turkey which had built 44 dams in 40 years.

He specifically said that the future of Sindh was linked to the construction of Kalabagh dam and that it should be started without any wastage of time to save huge farmlands.

He stressed the need for enhancement of water resources and their equitable distribution among the provinces. He said that for a productive and prosperous future and to cater to the irrigation requirements there was a need to increase the water storage capacity.

Revival of 16 sick units under study

The Committee for revival of sick units in its 5th meeting Saturday discussed revival of 16 sick mills, officials said.

Tariq Hameed of Packages Limited chaired the meeting which was also attended by heads and representatives of FPCCI, Wazir Ali Industry, PICIC, HBL, UBL, NDFC, NBP, NIT, ICP. Five of the units are from agro-based and dairy products sector, two oil mills, textile mills and factories of home appliances and beverage, etc.

HBL has financed five of them, while ADBP and IDBP funded three each and remaining were funded by MCB, NDF, RDFC, and UBL. The committee has so far revived 15 sick units during its last four meetings.

The committee which is primarily focusing on 114 sick units, has so far taken up 41 units.

Majority of the sick units are from textile sector (50 per cent), followed by engineering, food processing including dairy units, sugars and others.

Pakistan needs 6% growth rate: Dr Ishrat

Central bank governor Dr Ishrat Hussain has said the poor, developing countries need to achieve a certain "threshold annual growth rate of six to eight per cent to reduce incidence of poverty".

He was speaking at a two-day seminar on "Globalization: Impact on South Asia" which began at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) on Monday.

The workshop is sponsored jointly by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the LUMS and the Emerging Markets Partnership-Financial Advisers (EMP-FA).

The workshop was opened by Canadian High Commissioner Ferry de Kerchhove who emphasized that "Pakistan was strategically located with big emerging markets of the world — China and India".

Dr Hussain said Pakistan could alleviate poverty by growing at an annual rate of six per cent. He said 33 per cent population of the country lived below poverty line. "We will have to be patient as far as poverty reduction is concerned," he said.

MoU on Qatari gas pipeline project

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed on Tuesday between the ministry of petroleum & natural resources and Crescent Petroleum Company International Limited of Sharjah to finance, construct and operate a natural gas pipeline from Qatar to Pakistan.

The pipeline will deliver about 1.6 billion cubic feet of Qatari gas per day to Pakistan.

Under the terms of the MoU, the parties are required to negotiate and sign a detailed agreement setting out the relationship between the parties and to sign a gas sale/purchase agreement. The MoU would be valid for 12 months and its extension would depend on whether significant progress is made on the project itself and on the negotiations of further agreements.

New strategy for SMEs development

The federal government will discuss its new strategy for development of Small and Medium Enterprises during the first meeting of Board of Directors of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority on July 22.

Federal Minister for Commerce and Industries Abdul Razzak Dawood, who is chairman of SMEDA will preside. The 12-member SMEDA board of directors includes six representatives from the private sector while federal secretaries of finance, commerce, industries and planning are ex-officio members of the board.

SMEDA has so far been not able to focus on SMEs development mainly due to assignments given to it by the federal government to develop macro-level plans for urban transport system, fish exports and textile sector. The textile sector plan which was assigned to it by the present government has been completed but facing snags in its implementation.

The first two plans were tailored by the authority during the previous administration of Nawaz Sharif.