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Aug 28 - Sep 03, 2000

Textile Vision-2005 okayed

The Economic Advisory Board (EAB) has approved 'Textile Vision-2005' which envisages an investment of $6 billion over the next five years in textile sector by shifting from 'performance to value-added exports' and by lifting export to $13.815 billion annually, by the year 2004 against existing level of $4.879 billion.

The EAB which met on Aug 15, under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, approved the policy after reviewing the 550 pages.

The commerce ministry has sent its copies to the concerned ministries for their information. Officials said, the commerce minister is likely to launch the policy formally in a press conference.

The policy document recommends the government to ask the financial sector to provide impetus to textile sector through funding at as low interest rate as 9 per cent. The policy also asks the government to direct the SBP to design an incentive programme similarly to the export refinance (for working capital) for long term investment and BMR.

An ambitious policy which has been prepared by the Small Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) gives clear signals for rewarding value addition exports and in this connection, the government plans to introduce tariff and direct fiscal measures, as well. The policy has also stressed elimination of procedural and human level impediments to get the set objectives.

The policy which has listed farmer, ginneries, warehousing, textile mills and exporters as proposed value chain has been categorized in three portions which have named as 'low road', 'do-able' and 'high road'.

During the third phase of high-road, value-added products (garments/made-ups) will be the engine of export growth (20% annually).

$164m LCs opened for sugar imports

The sugar importers have so far opened LCs worth $164 million on C & F basis for the import of about 664,072 tons of sugar, industry sources said on Wednesday.

They said more than 175,000 tons of imported sugar has arrived in the country, but the fear of shortage coupled with greediness of traders has increased domestic prices.

They alleged that some traders were hoarding sugar to exploit current situation.

They said traders have over-booked sugar import consignment from China and Thailand, but the delay in arrival of consignment was causing panic among the retailers.

Turnover tax cut to 1%

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz on Tuesday announced reduction of turnover tax rate for the wholesale and retail traders from 2 per cent to 1 per cent for one year, and also announced the launching of stock amnesty scheme operative for one month, from Sept 1 to 30th, 2000.

Representatives of the trade bodies from all over the country, sans NWFP, met him to conclude a package for these two trade sub-sectors which have been agitating against the documentation of their turnovers and profit-sources under the existing rules.

"The traders have assured the government that now they will cooperate in the documentation process, pay tax in accordance to the agreed formula, and maintain record-keeping on their sales-purchases", said Shaukat Aziz.

Baby shrimps exempted

Baby shrimps and shrimp meals used in shrimp feeding have been exempted from import duty. An amendment has been made in the notification No 555(I)/98, dated June 12, '98, through a fresh notification No 6 (19)/2000-CB, dated Aug 22, which stipulates that zero-rated facility will be only for such importers who have in-house facilities for manufacture of goods.

Mark-up on cloth raised

The State Bank has withdrawn export finance from all types of yarn with immediate effect, says a circular issued on Saturday. It says that SBP has allowed the facility of export finance in respect of both bleached or unbleached (grey) cloth at 10 per cent instead of 8 per cent. These instructions have been issued after withdrawing earlier instructions on this subject.

41.3% rise in import of duty-free goods

CBR has recorded 41.3% increase in the import of duty-free goods in '99-2000, as the value of such goods stood at Rs128.9bn, as against Rs 91.2 billion in the financial year 98-99.

The figures on 17 major items ledgered as Major Revenue Spinners, show that largest increase in duty free import occurred in POL products. Despite the fact that the value of total volumes of such products rose from Rs45.632bn in '98-99 to Rs91.681bn (103% up) in '99-2000, duty collected dropped from Rs4.6bn in 98-99 to Rs2.3bn in 99-2000 (50%). POL products' duty-free imports in 99-2000 valued Rs39.872bn, as against Rs584m in 98-99.

Machinery was the second item where out of total imports of Rs56.451bn, the duty-free imports valued Rs24.969bn. However, the duty collected on machinery's import increased in 99-2000 (Rs5.536bn) against (Rs5.484bn) 98-99. The increase was achieved due to adjustments in duty, especially in the construction machinery, which increased after removing exemptions allowed to it in the previous year.

RAPakistan, Nigeria sign MoU

Pakistan and Nigeria have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the export of agricultural products including farm machinery.

The Nigerian envoy and the joint secretary, ministry of food, agriculture and livestock (MINFAL) signed MoU on behalf of their respective governments.

Govt asked to allow import of raw sugar

The agriculture ministry has asked the government to allow import of raw sugar for refinement in the local mills to meet the rising demand of the local market and stabilise the prices.

The agriculture ministry has pointed out that the prices of imported sugar will continue to further go up in the coming months, as international production has been reported short of target.