Sep 04 -
Ordinance to be amended
The Micro-Finance Ordinance 2000, promulgated on
August 5, is to be amended to facilitate investment by foreign banks
in the newly created bank of the poor and to make poverty alleviation
programme eligible for 100-150 million dollars from the Asian
Sources said the charter of the Khushhal Bank (KB)
created though the ordinance is expected to be reshaped to safeguard
against political influence in the sanction and disbursement of loans,
ensure transparency in its operations, and take care of the legitimate
interests of the shareholders.
Under diplomatic pressure, the State Bank of
Pakistan (SBP) has refunded to the foreign banks the compulsory
subscription towards KB's Rs two billion paid up capital. The
investment ratio was fixed at 0.2 per cent of each bank's deposits.
Foreign banks hold 17 per cent of the overall bank deposits. According
to one estimate the foreign banks' subscription was in the
neighbourhood of Rs 350 million, with contribution of bigger banks
ranging between Rs 50 to 60 million.
In a meeting held with foreign bankers, SBP
governor Dr Ishrat Hussain also advised foreign banks to seek
approvals from their head offices for taking equity stakes in the
Khushhal Bank. If approvals were delayed, it was pointed out, the
potential sponsor would not get the directorship of the bank.
Sources said that the meeting was called, following
representations made by US and European banks to their diplomatic
missions that forced subscription for the KB was not justified and was
sending wrong signals to foreign investors. The western diplomats took
up the issue with Islamabad. The State Bank responded in a positive
manner, says a banker.
RBOD water to be drained into sea
A major dispute between Wapda and the Sindh
government over the Right Bank Outfall Drainage (RBOD), project was
resolved on Thursday when the Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf
upheld Sindh's point of view, that the drain should be taken to the
sea instead of putting it in river Indus.
The long outstanding controversy over the RBOD
project was resolved after a "heated discussion" between
representatives from Sindh, WAPDA and the Planning Commission at a
high-level meeting chaired by Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf,
official sources said.
"Today's decision by the chief executive has
saved 3.1 million acres of irrigated land and 20 million population of
Karachi and Sindh who are drawing drinking water from the Kotri
barrage," the Sindh Irrigation Minister, Syed Mir Ali, said after
"It was a more sensitive issue than the
Kalabagh dam project," said another official of Sindh.
IB may come under SECP
The federal government plans to transfer the task
of regulating investment banks from the State Bank of Pakistan to the
Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), bringing all
non-banking financial institutions under its ambit, said a reliable
SECP had been regulating the non-banking financial
institutions for the past several years. But the State Bank, while
passing the regulatory functions in respect of all other NBFIs had
retained its control over investment banks (IB).
This was presumably because of their nomenclature,
although the Finance Division's Notification of July 13, 1987, whereby
investment finance companies (IFCs) were established, had clearly
stated, an "investment finance company means a company registered
and granted licence under this notification to undertake and carry on
the business of an investment finance (and shall include such a
company which has been authorized to use the word 'bank' in its
Govt to fix onion MEP
The government is set to fix minimum export price (MEP)
of onion at Rs20 per kg to avoid domestic shortfall and stabilize
local market prices.
Tobacco to be put on export list
Federal Commerce Minister Abdur Razzaq Dawood has
said that tobacco would soon be placed on the list of export items.
He said that after studying and examining the
existing trading system of tobacco, improvements would be made for
ensuring balance, so that growers should not remain at the mercy of
Minimum capital balance raised
The minimum net capital balance required to be
maintained by members of stock exchanges will be increased from
Rs0.25m to Rs2.5m for the bourses with trading volume of up to 7.5bn
shares in a calendar year and to Rs0.75m for those having less trading
volume with effect from Dec 1, 2000.
This is one of the major decisions taken at a
three-day meeting of the Stock Exchanges' Coordination Committee held
at Bhurban and which concluded on Sunday. The presidents of the three
stock exchanges and representatives of the SECP attended the meeting
which was presided over by the SECP Chairman, Khalid A. Mirza. The
Commissioner (Securities), Tariq Iqbal Khan was present.
WB to assist in Portal Project
Federal Minister for Science and Information
Technology Prof Dr Ata-ur-Rahman has said that World Bank will assist
Pakistan in setting up its National Portal Project for the growth of
Information Technology and e-commerce in the country.
He stated this while addressing a meeting of
Pakistan Economics Forum. Prof Atta-ur-Rahman said that under the IT
Policy and Action Plan, a working group of 20 people headed by Dr
Irfan Haider of Institute of Business Administration (IBA) has
prepared legislation pertaining to various aspects of e-commerce and
currently these laws are being vet by the Ministry of Law.
The wholesale price of sugar has come down by at
least Rs 100-150 per 100 kg bag or Re 1.00-1.15 per kg but consumers
still await its full benefits at the retail level. According to
importers, the price of sugar from Thailand has dropped to Rs 2,500
per 100 kg bag in the market compared to Rs 2,650 per 100 kg bag two