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Aug 07 - 13, 2000

Sindh notifies 500% rise in properties value

The Sindh government has increased valuation table (rates) in respect of various categories of urban properties located in major cities of the province.

The impact of revised valuation rates used for taxation purposes on immovable properties is expected to have an impact of up to 500 per cent augmentation in taxes over the previous collector's rates, last fixed in the year 1995.

The revised valuation rates had been enforced from new fiscal (July 1) without holding public hearing and as such they stand against the code of conduct, legal experts said.

The biggest impact has been on properties situated in all the districts of Karachi division, wherein addition to existing six categories, a new category for the valuation of immovable properties has been introduced.

Another legal expert said that new tax amnesty scheme being announced by the government in a few days will be of no benefit to those who have yet to declare their hidden immovable assets because 'cleaning' of such undisclosed properties will become five times costlier.

Legal experts rejecting the notification on valuation tables of Sindh government strongly feel that it has no legal value as they say it does not constitute the budget document.

"Investment in real estate has almost come to a standstill and presently there are sellers in the market but it is difficult to find any buyer," a leading real estate consultant Syed A. Mateen told.

There is an urgent need of rationalization in these rates if government wants to see investment in this sector which is the biggest source of employment to skill and unskilled workforce, he added.

According to the notification issued by the Collector/Chief Inspector of Stamps, minimum per square yard increase in the value of urban properties in Sindh is expected to be in the range of 36 per cent to 500 per cent.

Textile policy on 12th, says Dawood

Commerce and industries minister Abdul Razzak Dawood said on Thursday that a comprehensive 'Textile Policy' has been formulated by the experts and would be presented to Gen Pervez Musharraf on Aug 8 for final approval, prior to its announcement on Aug 12.

The minister said the TCP has already been asked to play its due role in protecting the interest of cotton growers. He said the minimum support price of 'Phutti' has already been announced as Rs725 per maund and the TCP would see to it that the procurement price does not fall below the price fixed by the government.

Meanwhile, Dawood asked the cotton growers to maintain "quality" adding that due to "contaminated quality", Pakistan had to bear a loss of 5 cents per pound internationally.

Pakistan sustained a loss of $350m in export market due to "contaminated cotton crop", Dawood said.

The minister said due to "contamination", Pakistan's cotton at Liverpool is treated as "Grade-Two" and not "Grade-One".

PNT Dalair launched

Defence Secretary Lt. Gen. Nasim Rana (Retd) on Tuesday exhorted the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) management to try to get sizeable business from the friendly navies by dint of its enormous experience of constructing warships, submarines and support craft.

Addressing the launching ceremony of the 32 tonnes Ballard pull capacity tug built for Pakistan Navy, he said: "The management of Karachi Shipyard has put in front of them a challenging task of its revival so that it can enter the export market. Shipbuilding and ship repairing can perhaps be the largest source of earning foreign exchange through export of non-traditional items."

Government extends EoI date

Nine international companies have shown interest in obtaining Saindak Copper-Gold Project on lease, and the government has extended the date for the submission of expression of interest till Aug 31, its learnt from ministry of petroleum sources.

The government on the insistence of few more companies have extended the deadline for the submission of the expression of interest.

The project was developed by a Chinese firm at the cost of Rs13.6 billion in 1995. During the trial run of the project in 1995-96 by Metallurgical Construction Corporation of China (MCC), 1541 tons of blister copper and 9000 tons of copper concentrated were produced, both of which were exported.

Govt to help boost industries: Soomro

Sindh Governor Mohammadmian Soomro, said the provincial government is committed to improve the existing facilities and improve infrastructure to accelerate industrialization in the province.

Speaking at a function at Karachi Stock Exchange, he said "the government of Sindh has taken a number of steps to facilitate the investors and provide all necessary infrastructure for setting up industries in the province".

In the context of stock exchange and the industrialization, he said the investment friendly environment is very important and the government is making its level best to secure an environment conducive for investment, he said.

PARCO enters into joint venture

Pak-Arab Refinery Ltd has signed an agreement with a leading French petroleum group Total Raffinage Distribution S.A. to set up a joint venture for marketing petroleum products in Pakistan.

According to PARCO announcement here on Tuesday, the new joint venture company TOTAL-PARCO (Pakistan) Ltd will have an initial capital of $20 million which is expected to increase to $100 million in the future. TOTAL share in the joint venture will be 60% and PARCO's will be 40%.

Gas transmission not to be privatized

The government has decided "not" to privatize the main transmission system of the gas companies because of their strategic importance.

"We are planing to create 10 to 15 distribution companies which will be put up for sale instead of the main transmission system which is strategically very important for Pakistan", he further stated.