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
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
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.