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Oct 02 - 08, 2000

IMF voices optimism on accord with Pakistan

The International Monetary Fund on Thursday voiced optimism on chances of reaching an accord by the end of the year to resume financial assistance to Pakistan.

Speaking at a joint press conference at the World Bank and IMF press centre, the IMF deputy managing director, Eduardo Aninat, said that he was encouraged by the recent contacts between the Fund and Pakistan authorities.

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz and the IMF executive director, Abbas Mirokhor, were also present on the occasion.

"We are going to analyze the results of the last mission and if it concludes successfully we will have a working programme by the end of the year," Mr Aninat said.

He said that the IMF had been working with the Pakistan government since April 1999 for restoring the interrupted GoP-Fund relationship.

Several IMF missions had visited Pakistan for discussion on macroeconomic framework and for provision of technical assistance with regard to statistical reporting, fiscal and monetary policies, he added.

Mr Aninat said that after the return of the last mission a week back and discussion in Prague during this week the Fund certainly encouraged by the structural and macro-framework agreed on and he could state that after a review by the Fund "we will go to the board for approval of a standby facility."

The facility, he added, could move to a medium-term arrangement subject to satisfactory performance by Pakistan. The proposal will be put to the board of the fund towards mid-November if prior actions agreed on mutually are met with.

The programme would be in place before the end of this year.

Shaukat Aziz briefed the reporters about his discussion with the IMF managing director, World Bank president and other officials, who had assured him that they all wanted Pakistan to grow and became economically self-reliant.

Russia optimistic about future ties

Russian President's special envoy Sergey Yastrzhembsky has expressed optimism about better bilateral ties with Pakistan. He said he had grounds to feel "cautiously optimistic" about better future relations between Moscow and Islamabad.

Mr Yastrzhembsky said this at the conclusion of his two-day stay on Wednesday while briefing the newsmen in the Russian embassy about the outcome of his discussions with Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf and other Pakistani officials.

The envoy said he also delivered a message from President Putin to Gen Musharraf. The envoy without revealing its contents said it contained Russia's "concerns" about terrorism and narcotics and "hopes" for development of bilateral relations with Pakistan.

Gen Musharraf invited Russian president to visit Pakistan, which, the envoy said, had been accepted. Mr Putin, he added, would visit Pakistan at an appropriate time for which date would be worked out later.

Initiative taken to improve ties with US, says CE

The chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, told the cabinet on Wednesday that during his recent visit to New York an initiative had been taken to improve relations between the United States and Pakistan.

The CE said that he had held a number of meetings with important people and received an encouraging response to expand political and economic ties between the two countries, official sources told.

The cabinet decided that ministries and departments should discourage the practice of engaging foreign consultants on hefty salaries. Efforts should be made to engage experts based in Pakistan or Pakistanis residing overseas.

US investors satisfied over law and order situation

The US investors have expressed their satisfaction on law and order situation in Sindh and showed interest in investment.

In this regard, a delegation of American Business Council, led by US Ambassador in Pakistan William Milam, met the Governor of Sindh, Muhammedmian Soomro on Tuesday evening at Governor House.

The US Consul General at Karachi, John Bennet and President of ABC, Irshad Ali Qasim besides Sindh Finance Minister, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Principal Secretary to Governor, Brig (Rtd) Akhtar Zamin were also present on the occasion.

ADB economist appointed

Chairman Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has appointed Ms Sadia Khan, Financial Economist of the Asian Development Bank in Manila, as Executive Director for Specialized Companies.

RFP for PPL sell-off invited

The Privatization Commission has invited requests for proposals (RFP) for Financial Advisory Services from interested parties for privatization of Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL).

The government of Pakistan requires the services of a Financial Advisory Consortium, comprising first class investment banking, law, accounting and specialized technical consulting expertize with extensive experience in upstream oil and gas sector to undertake the assignment.

Ties with Pakistan cordial, says EU envoy

The Ambassador of the European Union (EU), Kurt Juul, has asked both India and Pakistan to exercise restraint to make further progress on the issue of Kashmir.

He was replying to questions during his address to the members of the English Speaking Union of Pakistan (ESUP) at a hotel on Monday. Kurt Juul said that the EU common foreign policy is in the initial stage and has to be constructed.

ABL privatization

The proposed offer of 49% shares of Allied Bank Limited (ABL) for public subscription is unlikely to get the needed response from ordinary investors, but is expected to provide a good opportunity to strategic investors to take over the bank's management.

With the shareholdings of the ABL Employees Group, now running the bank, fractured, with one business group, according to market reports, holding as much as 30% of equity stakes, and some banks eyeing privatization with interest, financial analysts and top bankers say Privatization Commission is apparently looking for stability in bank management.