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Oct 30 - Nov 05, 2000

Govt hikes share of manufacturing sector in GDP

The government has decided to increase the share of manufacturing sector in GDP from 17 per cent to 17.5 per cent, and to enhance textile exports from existing $4.5 billion to $13.8 billion by 2005.

The Three-Year Development Programme 2000-2003 finalized by the Planning Commission aims at enhancing efficiency and international competitiveness of the local industry through optimal utilization of capacity, technical innovations, tariff rationalization, not only removal of impediments but active facilitation of exports and a consistent and comprehensive industrial policy.

Three-year programme will have the following objectives:(a) increasing the share of manufacturing sector in GDP from 17 per cent to 17.5 per cent; (b) diversification to export-oriented industrialization of value-added and high tech products; (c) establishing of an efficient industrial structures with competitive advantage with the WTO regime; (d) increasing textile products from existing $4.5 billion to $13.8 billion by 2005; (e) acquiring modern technology, technical and managerial know-how, and access to foreign market; (f) promotion of indigenization for self reliance; (g) adoption of environment-friendly technologies.

The programme also calls for adoption of a strategy, which will be compatible with national aspirations and national capabilities in achieving national goals.

The major elements of the strategy will be to instituting measures for higher capacity utilization and activating Industrial Facilitation Boards for provision of physical infrastructure.

The Planning Commission believes that the major issues in manufacturing include slow growth rate, high cost of utilities, lack of physical infrastructure, low investment, revival of sick industry, development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), total quality management and productivity enhancement, R&D, vocational training and the role of chambers of commerce and trade associations in achieving rapid industrial progress.

Edible oil refinery

A Malaysian business group is willing to invest $100 million in edible oil, refining and edible oil jetty at Karachi and in manufacturing of fertilizers.

A four-member delegation of Felda Groups of Companies, Malaysia led by its Chairman Tansri Raja Mohammad Ilias met the Chairman Board of Investment (BoI), Wasim Haqqie on Monday and discussed with him the possibility of investment in various sectors.

"But the Malaysian business group is interested mainly, in establishing edible oil refinery at a cost of about $25 million", said the chairman BoI.

Wasim Haqqie, however, told that the Malaysian group was seeking certain concessions from the Central Board of Revenue (CBR) to set up this refinery.

He said the group has also expressed its interest in fertilizer. But he said some of the issues relating to crude oil and fertilizer duties by the CBR have been referred by the ministry of industries and production to the Economic

Relocation of industry

The country can attract investment of billions of dollars from Europe and North America in the shape of relocation of textile industry from there before lifting of quota restrictions by 2005.

Industrialists said that many advanced countries had shown keen interest in relocating their textile industry to Pakistan for having advantage of its cotton and required labour.

But, they said, proper policies would be required to attract such investment opportunities.

They said that the much talked about "Textile Vision 2005" is completely silent on such investments.

The textile vision policy had laid down such suggestions, which would need huge foreign exchange for upgrading the local textile industry through Balancing, Modernisation and Rehabilitation (BMR) and expansion projects. A foreign exchange to a tune of $6 billion was hinted in the textile vision for this purpose but with poor reserves, the country could ill afford to meet such demands.

ICI Pakistan to hive off PTA arm into separate co

ICI Pakistan announced, on Thursday that it was to hive off the PTA arm into a separate company. "The intention of directors is to separate PTA and non-PTA businesses so that each company can follow its own imperatives for profitable growth", the company said.

The move marked one element of a "growth strategy", that the company said, had been formulated to 'revitalize' ICI and 'restore shareholder value'. The other major decision was to raise the Staple Fibre Plant capacity from current 60,000 to over 100,000 per annum. "It is intended to secure third party funding for the $20 million cost of (expansion) project through setting up of a Modaraba in order to avoid additional liabilities being added to the balance sheet", the company stated.

Poland keens on joint ventures

Poland's Deputy Minister of Economy, Henryk Ogryezak, has expressed willingness for joint ventures with Pakistani entrepreneurs in light industries.

According to information received on Wednesday from Warsaw, the Polish Deputy Minister expressed his keeness at a meeting with a visiting Pakistani trade delegation at Poland's capital.

Ogryezak said that Poland was keen to increase the level of economic and commercial cooperation with Pakistan.

Oil, gas fields

The Privatization Commission has engaged a consortium of Jardine Fleming and Gaffney Cline and Associates as financial advisor for laying off of government's direct working interests in nine oil and gas fields.

An agreement between the PC and the representatives of the consortium was signed on Tuesday.

At present the nine licences together at Minwal, Pariwali, Turkwal, Badin-I & II, Mazarani, Adhi, Ratana and Dhurnal have daily production of over 5,000 barrels of oil and 2,000 million cubic feet of gas.

The government has 10-40 per cent working interests in a number of oil and gas fields operated by private companies. The PC as part of the overall divestment of its holdings in these nine fields, has prepared a short-term plan.