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Sep 25 - Oct 01, 2000

Cotton arrival picks up

The arrival of cotton picked momentum this fortnight as more than 441,399 bales of cotton reached ginning factories till Sept 15.

According to the fortnightly report of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) here Tuesday, the arrival between Sept 1 and 15, stood at 252,638 bales.

PCGA report said that the association did not have data for the corresponding period last year.

About 202 ginning factories were operational in the country of which 103 operated in Punjab and 99 in Sindh.

The arrival of cotton at ginning factories in Sindh was estimated at 296,947 bales mainly from lower parts including Tharparkar, Sanghar and Hyderabad.

In Punjab, the arrival was estimated at 144,452 bales during the same period under review.

In Punjab, cotton has arrived from major cotton growing areas like Faisalabad, D G Khan, Sahiwal and Vehari.

Of the total arrival this season, the ginning mills have sold 332,949 bales to textile mills and exporters.

A high-level meeting has identified a list of 100 ginning factories which had agreed to supply contamination-free cotton to Trading Corporation of Pakistan.

A senior TCP official said here on Tuesday that 75 mills are located in Punjab while 25 are in Sindh which will produce cotton lint in accordance with PCSI standards.

He said the meeting which was chaired by Secretary Ministry of Food and Agriculture at Multan, decided that it was necessary to produce contamination free cotton for export purposes.

These mills will ensure that the grading of lint cotton is done by the classers of Pakistan Cotton Standard Institute (PCSI).

Instead of mixing good quality cotton with lower quality, ginners will separately gin good quality cotton for TCP and ensure lesser contamination.

He said so far TCP has finalized the contracts of 4,400 bales of cotton from ginners in the country.

Relief package for six industries

The government will next week announce relief package for six industries hit by readjustments made in the current budget.

Government sources said that a re-adjustment in their duty and tax structure is under process by a Tax-Anomaly committee set up last month.

The committee has finalized recommendations due to be announced next week.

It studied complaints of industrialists saying the protection from cheap imports previously enjoyed by them has been eliminated or reduced due to the changes made in the budget 2000-001.

The industries, which will be provided relief, produce phthalic anhydride, line-pipe; steel billets; viscose filament yarn; self-adhesive tape and skin cream. These industries had filed applications for review in duty structure and the committee assigned the study of each item to sub-committees who have submitted their reports. These sub-committees were manned by CBR, National Tariff Commission (NTC), Engineering Development Board and Ministry of Finance.

Support price system defended

Representatives of provincial governments on Tuesday, emphasized on the centre to continue with the existing support price system for agricultural commodities, thus ensuring a fair return to the farmers on their produce.

They pointed out that it was also necessary to save the unorganized farmers from the clutches of free-market forces, which do not give fair return to the growers.

Official sources said, this consensus was developed during the first meeting of the Inter-Provincial Support Price Committee which met on Tuesday with M. Shafi Niaz Advisor to the Chief Executive on Agriculture in the chair.

US to provide soyabeans

The United States will donate 165,000 tons of soyabeans and 75,000 tons of soyabean oil to Pakistan for poverty alleviation, the Agriculture Department said on Friday.

It also announced the signing of a PL-480 "Food for Peace" agreement with Pakistan to facilitate the sale of $8 million worth of US corn, or about 90,000 tons.

Both agreements call for delivery during fiscal 2001, which opens October 1.

The soyabeans and soyoil will be sold and the proceeds used in programmes that aid the poor, including a social action programme that encompasses health, education, rural water supply and sanitation, and agricultural revitalisation.

US officials said the corn also would be used in poverty alleviation.

200 acres of land to EPZA pledged

Governor of Sindh Mohammedmian Soomro has agreed to hand over 200 acres of land adjacent to Karachi Export Process Zone (KEPZ) to Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) for expansion plan of KEPZ.

This decision was taken by the governor of Sindh during his visit to KEPZ on Saturday, where he was briefed by the chairman EPZA, Maqsood Ismail about the working of the free zone.

The EPZA chairman informed the governor that on allocation of 200 acres of land adjacent to KEPZ another 100 industrial units could be established and this would help generate employment opportunities in the province.

Stock clearance

The retailers paying sales tax under Tax Enrolment Scheme have been allowed by the government to get their undeclared stocks-in-trade cleared at 1 per cent under the Sales Tax Stock Amnesty Scheme.

The retailers and wholesalers paying 2 per cent sales tax under the Enrolment Scheme have already been allowed to get their undeclared stocks cleared after paying 2 per cent.

IMF for realistic revenue target

The visiting IMF review mission is seeking realistic revenue collection target with considerable reduction in GDP-budget deficit to improve the country's fragile economy.

According to informed sources, the mission is not sure that the government will achieve an all-time high Rs436.5bn target set for the current financial year.

The mission has called for revising the target downward.

The sources said that the mission had also inquired from the senior officials of the finance ministry whether they had already lowered the target from Rs436.5bn to Rs430bn.