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Oct 09 - 15, 2000

Fresh 3-year PSDP presented

The Planning and Development Division has presented a new three-year Public Sector Development Plan for reinforcing the existing 9th Five-Year Plan with stringent conditions for project performance evaluation.

It is learnt from the official sources on Tuesday that a mid-term review of the 9th Plan had been carried out, resulting in a major decision that it should be reinforced in accordance with fresh terms and conditions concluded with the donor countries and agencies.

The 9th Five-Year Plan is to terminate in 2004. The policy on allocation, implementation, completion and utility-based performance of all projects to be launched under the plan, have been changed. Performance evaluation of projects carried out under each of the annual Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), forming part of the 9th Five-Year Plan, will be governed by certain new conditions.

These are meant and to ensure that these projects were launched to achieve maximum public welfare by allocating development expenditure and to prevent waste of public money. Under a new benchmark being introduced for performance evaluation on spending of development funds allocated by the government, it will be made mandatory on the department concerned (sponsor agency) to submit a report on benefits made available to the "end-user".

The implementation of the reinforced 9th Plan will begin after the final approval by the National Economic Council (NEC) which will examine the final recommendations for the plan by the ministry of finance. The plan is expected to be operative from mid-October 2000. The main recommendations in this connection include a benchmark for each project which stipulates that the "utility" of each project would have to be reported on project completion, which would be as important for clearance of the allocation as the feasibility report.

Bumper cotton crop expected

Phutti arrival from fields into ginneries has gained momentum, thereby raising hope that the country may reap, yet another bumper cotton crop this season (2000-2001).

"If the current pace of phutti arrival is maintained during the entire first picking period, which lasts till late November, there is a strong possibility that cotton production may cross 10 million mark," opined a leading broker on Wednesday.

According to Pakistan Cotton Ginners' Association (PCGA) figures, phutti arrival up to Oct 1, stood at 1.056 million bales or 29.49 per cent higher than 0.815 million bales produced during the corresponding period of the last year.

It is encouraging to note that despite water shortage in Sindh, the increased flow of phutti up to 7.91 per cent in comparison to previous year, indicates that little damage was caused and the province is likely to achieve its cotton production target.

Rs3.5bn plan for farm development

The Planning Commission has prepared a three-year agriculture development plan for 2000-2003 with a projected allocation of Rs3.5 billion, government sources said.

International donor agencies have committed to provide Rs748 million during the plan period for the development of farm sector in Pakistan on sustainable basis.

According to the plan, Rs248.27 million, including a foreign component of Rs116.80 million will be spent on farm sector during 2000-2001; Rs1.61 billion including foreign component of Rs264.60 million in 2001-2002; and Rs1.66 billion, including foreign component of Rs266.52 million in 2000-2003.

According to the official document, the agriculture will continue to be a dominant sector of the economy and the future agricultural development strategies will be geared towards attaining high growth rates in this sector by providing the right policies and institutional support.

Market strategy for onions

Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf has directed the agriculture ministry to hold a meeting with Sindh administration and onion farmers on Oct 7 to discuss the crop situation and evolve a marketing strategy.

The meeting has been called after governments of Sindh and Balochistan protested against onion import from India and demanded a ban on its import.

Federal Agriculture Secretary, who will chair the meeting has asked provincial governments and farmers to send their representatives.

Textile Development Board

Federal Commerce Minister Abdul Razzak Dawood, on Tuesday said that Pakistan Textile Development Board will be constituted soon to prepare the textile sector ready for globalization by the year 2001.

Addressing the seminar on Textile, organized by the Export Promotion Bureau, he said the recommendations, for the formation of the board will be discussed with the textile traders, exporters and millers next week after which the draft will be sent to the ministry.

ISO-certified cos

Local exporters and manufacturers have geared up efforts to obtain ISO-9000-ISO-14000 certificates, raising the number to 1,450 units.

According to a break-up, provided by Total Quality Management and Experts Cell (TQMEC) of FPCCI, around 1,432 units, majority of them multinationals and exporters, have got ISO-9002 certificate while 18 units have secured ISO-14000 certificates.

The official of TQMEC told that textile sector has topped in securing highest number of ISO-9002 certificate (307 units), followed by surgical (312 units), leather (126 units), sportsgoods (120 units), engineering (78 units), apparel and garments (71 units), food and beverage (63 units) and professional services (24 units).

Deep-sea fishing issue

The Board of Investment (BOI) has asked the agriculture ministry to resolve the deep-sea fishing issue. The government on Friday cancelled all the 31 deep-sea fishing licences.

Official circles told on Sunday that the government's decision would jeopardize the efforts being made for bringing foreign investment in the country.