Aug 21 -
49 units to be sold for $4 billion
Privatization Commission chairman Altaf Saleem on
Thursday announced a $4 billion plan for the sale/disinvestment of 49
public sector enterprises and shares.
The chairman told a press conference that the
process would be completed in two years and added that a regulatory
framework, to be announced shortly, would govern this process.
The sale/disinvestment of utilities organizations
would be covered by a regulator for price control, shares would be
handed over to bidders with the debt burden, and benchmarks would be
set for evaluation of the organizations and their shares, he said.
The financial and utilities organizations which are
to be unloaded wholly or in part by December are: Allied Bank (disinvestment
of 49 per cent shares); NBP, HBL, MCB and Sui Southern Gas Company
(public offer); nine oil/gas fields (working interest); LPG and meter
manufacturing units of the SSGC, SNGPL and PSO, POL, ARL (minority
share-holding); PSO shares in PRL; and Pak-Saudi Fertilizers.
Industrial units are: Pak Steel Fabricating, Suzuki
Motorcycles Pak Ltd, Sindh Engineering, Kohinoor Oil Mills, Morafco
Industries, A.C Rohri Cement, Javedan Cement, Lyallpur Chemicals,
Hazara Phosphate, Ravi Rayon, Larkana Sugar Mills, Shahdadkot Textile
Mills, Talpur Textile Mills, Dir Forest Complex, PECO (Badami Bagh),
and TDC Vehicle Engineering.
Besides, transactions envisaged to be undertaken
during the medium-term privatization plan (ending on June 30, 2002)
include telecommunication, financial/banking, oil/gas,
power/electricity, insurance, industrial, etc.
Constitution being amended
The government said on Friday that two amendments
would be made to the Constitution to provide safeguard to the
It would also be ensured that the future
governments should not bulldoze the amendments, the National
Reconstruction Bureau (NRB) chairman Lt-Gen (retd) Tanveer Naqvi told
a news conference. He said the two amendments were necessary at this
One of the proposed amendments, he said, would
provide constitutional protection to the local government system and
the other would ensure that the Constitution should not be amended by
the future governments in 10 minutes as had happened in the past.
"We will take all possible measures to ensure
that the local government system could not be reversed by the
succeeding governments," the NRB chief said in response to a
Mr Naqvi also said that the NRB would now start
work on the second phase of the plan under which the powers would be
shifted from the federation to the provinces. In the same phase, to be
completed by August 2001, the question of provincial autonomy would
also be addressed.
District govts to levy various taxes
The proposed district governments will impose a
number of new taxes like on births, deaths, marriages, etc., and the
National Reconstruction Bureau will prepare a schedule of those taxes,
it is learnt.
The schedule, to be ready by early next year, will
be provided to every district government so that they could levy the
The existing local government laws provided cover
for taxes on births, deaths and marriages but these taxes were never
collected, sources said.
Japan shows interest in small enterprises
The resumption of talks between Pakistan and India,
Afghanistan, signing of CTBT, terrorism, and exploring new avenues of
economic collaboration, particularly in the field of information
technology, are some of the issues that the Japanese Prime Minister
Yoshira Mori seeks to discuss with the leaders of Pakistan and India
during his visit beginning from Sunday.
Japan is evincing keen interest in the efforts
being made in Pakistan for upgradation of the small and medium-size
enterprizes and focus on value-added items in the new textile vision.
The members of the Japanese prime minister's team are expected to get
an update brief on these exercises in Islamabad.
Govt, traders agree
The government has reportedly agreed to reduce the
turnover tax from two to one per cent. An agreement to this effect is
likely to be signed between the traders and the government in next
couple of days, says a government official involved in the
negotiations with the traders.
The government's chief negotiator, Altaf Saleem
told on Thursday that a final round would be held on Monday. When
contacted, the trade leaders told that the talks would start on Friday
and "most probably an agreement will be arrived at on
HUBCO to seek compensation
Chief executive Hub Co said on Wednesday that the
company will seek compensation from the government after the Supreme
Court judgment barring the Company's move to seek international
Speaking at an annual briefing, the chief executive
Syed Khursheed Husain while lauding the comments about the Hub Co by
Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, said these observations should be
converted into action to solve the long standing dispute between the
company and the Wapda.
Rules for Modaraba companies relaxed
Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan on
Saturday allowed various incentives for Modaraba companies to improve
According to SECP statement here, the condition for
issuing bonus certificates by modaraba companies has been relaxed and
now they can issue them if the break-up value of their certificates
stands higher by 25 per cent to the face value.
Previously modarabas could issue bonus certificates
only if their certificates were marketed at 50 % above the face value
on the stock exchange for a period of three months prior to the
announcement of bonus.