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Sep 18 - 24, 2000

French oil giant in joint venture with PARCO

Pak-Arab Refinery Ltd (PARCO) and TotalFinaElf, (France) on Thursday signed an accord involving an investment of $20m to be increased up to $100m in future.

Managing Director PARCO Dr Shahid K Hak and president TOTAL, Patrick De La Cheuardice signed the accord on behalf of their organizations.

TOTAL Raffinage, part of the largest French Oil Conglomerate TotalFinaElf has decided to enter into a joint venture with PARCO in the petroleum sector. It's entry will open a new chapter offering consumers an option to obtain cost effective products of international quality to be produced by PARCO's Mid Country Refinery.

The venture has chalked out a plan requiring an initial investment of $20m and increasing it up to $100m in future with TOTAL's share 60 % and PARCO's 40 %. The venture will be called TOTAL-PARCO (Pakistan) Ltd.

Petroleum Minister Usman Aminuddin speaking on occasion said Pakistan will provide attractive incentives to the prospective investors to be announced in October/ December this year.

The French oil giant TotalFinaElf has signed an agreement with the Pakistani company PARCO to develop jointly a distribution network for petroleum products in Pakistan, the French firm said in a press statement on Thursday.

The project calls for an initial investment of $20 million, the statement said. TotalFinaElf will hold 60 per cent of the new firm, to be called Total Parco Pakistan Limited.

PARCO (Pakistan-Arab Refinery Ltd) is owned jointly by the governments of Pakistan and Abu Dhabi. It holds Pakistan's largest and newest oil refinery, at Multan, which has a capacity of 100,000 barrels a day.

Pakistan, Iran sign 5-point agreement

Pakistan and Iran signed a five-point agreement on Wednesday, where, among others, the two countries agreed to combat drug trafficking and illegal crossing of the common border, setting up of border markets, and work further towards the Iranian gas pipeline to India.

The agreement was signed by Deputy Interior Minister for Political and Social Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Syed Mustafa Tajzadeh, and Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Hassan Raza Pasha.

Among the points which were discussed and agreed upon were:

(a) measures on common borders to combat drug trafficking, regular border meetings and simultaneous patrolling, strict measures against illegal cross-border movement, Pakistan-Iran common border markets. (b) stolen crown jewels, vehicles, fishing boats, violation of border regulations and travelling of vehicles, (c) arrest/extradition of wanted persons, Iranian gas pipeline and fisheries, progress of court cases, (d) Human smuggling and (e) smuggling of POL to Pakistan.

Leather policy next month

The government will announce 'leather policy' next month to give an impetus to leather exports, on decline for the last five years.

The policy will provide a broader framework to bring about improvement in its chain of processing and remove irritants at the export stages, official sources said on Thursday.

The study currently being undertaken is also assessing the "financial back-up" that is needed to achieve desired goals in this important sector of the economy.

The exports of leather and leather manufactures have witnessed a drop in the last five years, causing considerable loss to this industry that employ over 250,000 workers.

Its share in total exports has declined from 8.0 % in 1994- 95 to 6.9% in 1998-99.

UN to give $4.7m for poll process

United Nations Development Programme, the Election Commission and Economic Affairs Division have signed on Wednesday a $4.7 million project for "supporting democratic electoral process in Pakistan," said a UN press release.

Secretary EC Tawfiq Fehmi, secretary economic affairs division Nawid Ahsan and United Nations resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative Onder Yucer singed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations at a ceremony held at the office of election commission, it said.

Through another agreement, the government of Norway to provide Norwegian Kroner 10.945 million as cost-sharing contribution from the Norwegian Agency for Development Corporation.

SBP starts audit of fresh FCAs

The State Bank has started a random audit of fresh foreign currency accounts of local and multinational companies. The purpose is simple. The State Bank wants to see how many of them are still holding in the accounts the huge amounts of dollars they had purchased from the open market in the recent past.

On August 21 SBP had warned local and multinational companies to refrain from buying dollars from the open market and ordered them to sell back into the domestic within 15 days the amounts of dollars so purchased.

SBP to fix capital

President Rafiq Tarar on Tuesday further amended the Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962 which empowers the State Bank of Pakistan to determine the requirement of a minimum paid-up capital for banking companies.

According to the new amendment, no banking company shall commence business unless the aggregate of its capital and unencumbered general reserves is of such minimum value within sub period as may be determined and notified by the central bank from time to time for banking companies in general or for a banking company in particular.

Musharraf met 15 World Leaders

The chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, had met 15 world leaders on the sidelines of the recently-concluded UN Millennium Summit in New York.

The CE had met the presidents of Italy, Turkey, Algeria, Russia, Senegal, Iran, Sudan, China, and Comoros; King of Jordan, Amir of Qatar, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, prime ministers of Nepal and Bhutan, and the UN secretary-general, according to the foreign ministry sources.