Oct 23 -
Shaukat seeks help to meet IMF terms
Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz informed the corps commanders'
conference at Rawalpindi on Thursday that though the country's economic
indicators were showing improvement, talks with the IMF might face difficulties
over non-economic issues.
Invited to brief the conference on the economic and financial
situation after one year of the military rule, the minister is reported to have
explained that his ministry had no answer to questions being asked by the IMF
for a bailout package to Pakistan.
Mr Aziz is said to have asked the government high-ups to
"devise" an answer to this situation. Giving details on the spending
and receipt situation, and the expansion in tax net through tax survey, the
minister said none of the indicators reflected an alarming situation.
However, he explained, the country was in dire need of
finances to meet the "liabilities" which, in the present situation of
cash inflow, were proving harder and harder.
The list of the liabilities, he said, topped debt-servicing
which, if carried out according to the schedule, left no room for meeting other
public finance requirements.
In such a situation, the minister said, the country either
needed to enter an agreement with the IMF on conditions being attached to the
bailout package, or go all out for a contingency plan. Efforts to raise cash
under a contingency plan could only result in Pakistan accepting harsh
commercial mark-up rates.
Such rates, he is said to have explained, would have to be
accepted in case Pakistan did not opt for accepting the IMF conditions attached
to its soft-mark-up, long-term loan.
None of the finance ministry failures were contributing to
the situation emerging from the low cash inflow, he is said to have explained.
The federal revenue receipts of Rs80 billion in the first
quarter of fiscal 2000-2001 registered a 10 per cent increase over the period
last year. The remittances from abroad in July-August at $250 million were
almost twice the amount received last year.
Germany requires 75,000 IT experts
Germany has started recruiting IT experts in web-designing,
e-commerce, networking, programming, software and hardware.
"Germany needs 75,000 IT experts in next two to three
years," Rudolf W. Fritz, managing director of the Central Placement Office,
International Department of the Federal Employment Services, said at a press
conference on Thursday.
He said the Central Placement Office had entered into an
agreement with the Karachi-based Manpower Export Placement Corporation for the
recruitment of IT experts.
He said a pre-requisite for such recruitment was that an
applicant should either be a Bachelor degree holder in computer sciences or a
highly experienced professional having experience of six to ten years even if he
held any degree or a diploma certificate or no degree at all.
He said that the working contract for recruited applicants
would be a minimum of DM 100,000 per annum which would be subject to 35 per cent
Offshore oil exploration policy okayed
The cabinet on Wednesday approved an "offshore petroleum
exploration and production policy package and model production sharing
agreement" to attract foreign investors.
Under the new package the previously designated deep-water
zone has been redefined and divided into deep and ultra deep- water zones.
The meeting decided to rename the Micro Finance Bank as
Reviewing a CBR report on measures for controlling smuggling,
the cabinet decided to retain dry ports in the country. Dry ports, it was
observed, had not only facilitated importers and exporters but also helped
generate economic activities. It, however, directed the CBR to ensure a clean
and transparent functioning of these ports.
20% duty on smuggled goods
The interior ministry has rejected a proposal of the Central
Board of Revenue to levy 20 per cent tax on smuggled goods and asked for
imposing only a 10 per cent duty for one-time clearance of these goods.
The CBR proposal was initially sought by the ministry for
curbing the sale of smuggled goods throughout the country. The failure of
shutter tax to stamp out the Bara markets has prompted another scheme for
The CBR has been insisting that the duty rate should be 20
per cent and the interior ministry deemed it "too harsh". The CBR
proposed that a follow-up action should be taken in the post- clearance period
which was also unacceptable to the ministry, they said.
The ministry insists that the CBR should extract at least
Rs25 billion from this levy whereas the CBR says that there would be no more
than Rs4 billion deposits from the scheme even by levying 20 per cent duty.
Utility Stores Corporation
Utility Stores Corporation had submitted to the federal
government, a 5-year action plan for the recovery of its losses of around Rs360
million and also for overcoming its running deficit of Rs6 million per month.
Sixty per cent of losses, said USC Managing Director,
Brigadier (Retd) Zahoor Ahmed on Wednesday, had been incurred on account of
operations undertaken by the corporation under government orders, including
payment of subsidy on sugar.
Dr Shafqat Ali Jamote quits
Federal Agriculture Minister Dr Shafqat Ali Shah Jamote
relinquished the charge of his office on Tuesday. Mr Jamote is the second
minister from Sindh to resign from the military government in the last few days.
The first was former Information Minister Javed Jabbar.
Policy for pulses okayed
The federal government has approved a new policy for the
import substitution of pulses, under which the official land lying unused in the
country will be allotted to the private sector companies and farmers on lease.
Officials sources told on Wednesday that the new policy was
approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), which met on Tuesday with
Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz in the chair.