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Jan 24 - 30, 2000

  1. International
  2. Finance
  3. Industry
  4. Policy
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  6. Gulf

20m tonnes wheat output likely this Rabi

The country is likely to achieve the wheat production target of 20 million tonnes this Rabi season, sources told.

They said that the target would be met due to the increase in wheat acreage especially in the irrigated areas of the country. However, they said the estimated 10 percent decrease in wheat production in rain-fed areas due to delayed rainfall would not affect the over-all target of 20 million tonnes.

Sources said that out of the total cultivated area of 56.7 million acres for rabi, 73 percent is under wheat cultivation. The crop cultivated in irrigated area is 83 percent while 17 percent in rainfed areas.

19 IPPs roll-back projects

Nineteen IPPs, which were initially contracted to build power stations in electricity-deficient Pakistan had simply 'rolled-back' their projects.

Mushtaq Ali Khan, managing director of the state's Private Power and Infrastructure Development Board, said the overall investment climate — clouded by political and economic instability — and the IPP row, had dampened the response of foreign companies to the Boards' invitation to build hydro electric power projects in Pakistan.

Steep decline in cotton arrivals

Pakistan may not harvest a bumper cotton crop of 10 million bales as earlier predicted as steep decline of arrivals of phuti into the ginneries sent shock waves in the textile industry.

"We were expecting an arrival figure of 9.2 million bales for the fortnight ending Jan 15, 2000 but it was much lower, said a leading spinner.

Latest arrival figures released by Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), apex body of cotton processors and exporters put the total production upto Jan 15 at 8.717m bales up 32.35 percent as compared to last year comparable figure of 6.586m bales but well below the earlier projections of 10m bales.

New rice variety developed

Scientists have produced a new "golden rice" strain that could save millions of lives and improve maternal and child health in developing countries by increasing the iron and Vitamin A content of the rice grain.

The new rice, developed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology's Institute for Plant Sciences could significantly improve vitamin uptake in poverty stricken areas where supplemental pills are costly and difficult to distribute, Science magazine has reported.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) — part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) — is working with the Swiss scientists to adapt the new golden rice to developing country conditions.

Sindh to ban polythene bags

A decision has been taken in principle to ban the use of polythene bags of all kinds and colours, and in the first phase, it would be enforced in Karachi and Hyderabad.

In this regard Sindh Governor Air Marshal Azim Daudpota (Retd) has asked the local government secretary to chalk out an action plan and timeframe after consultation with the concerned authorities.

Pact signed on economic & technical cooperation

Pakistan and China on Monday signed an agreement on economic and technical cooperation aimed at further developing friendly relations and economic cooperation between the two countries.

The signing of the agreement followed formal talks between the Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf and Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji. The two leaders and members of Chief Executive's brief entourage also attended the signing ceremony.

Pakistan's Ambassador to China Riaz A. Khokhar and Chinese Vice Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Chen Xin Hu initialled the agreement on behalf of their respective governments.

Commerce Minister Abdul Razzak Dawood earlier held talks with China's Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Shi Guangsheng.

The talks focused on exploring ways to increase bilateral trade and Chinese investment in Pakistan particularly in the fields of pesticides, toy manufacturing and medium technology.

The Chinese side expressed keen interest in the holding of Joint Ministerial Meeting which is expected to be held next month in Beijing.

Govt seeks $400m for revival of sick units

The military government is seeking $400 minion (Rs20 billion) foreign assistance to revive 900 major sick industrial units.

Official sources told that a decision has been taken to seek foreign Official Development Assistance (ODA), and bilateral funding for reviving 900 units, out of total of 4000 sick units, some of which were offered some funds by the previous government but without any result.

According to details, the government would undertake Balancing, Modernization and Replacement (BMR) of genuine sick industrial units for which it planned to contact the authorities of the ODA to start the work within next few weeks time. Also the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will be contacted for this purpose.

"We plan to maintain government-to-government contact to have considerable assistance for reviving our 900 major sick industrial units", said a high official of the ministry of finance. He told that some of the industrialized countries including Italy was being approached to also offer their industrial machinery for reviving these units.

The sources said that initial contact with the government of Italy was encouraging as it has decided to look into the request of providing machinery to address the issue. The government, sources said, believed that Pakistan could not increase its exports unless it has surplus exports and that this job could not be done without reviving at least 900 major sick units. "Without boosting the industrial sector, nothing could be achieved to put the economy back on the track", said another official.