Nov 20 -
Saudi Arabia, Malaysia interested in Agosta
Saudi Arabia and Malaysia have expressed interest
in Pakistan's expertise for building the French-designed Agosta 90-B
submarines and explored the possibilities for striking a deal in this
This was stated by the naval chief, Admiral Abdul
Aziz Mirza while briefing newsmen on navy's efforts for self-reliance
at the media centre of IDEAS 2000 defence exhibition on Thursday.
"We have been successful in the sale of
midgets and we are also exploring the possibility of selling Agosta
90-B submarines to a regional country," he said.
Admiral Mirza added that Saudi Arabia and Malaysia
were interested in the product. Qatar was also a buyer of
Pakistan-built midgets, he said.
He said that any tri-lateral deal with regard to
Agosta 90-B would not only boost Pakistan's image and credibility in
international market, but also help in earning sizable foreign
exchange, required for future development programmes of the services.
Admiral Mirza said the navy was looking for
regional and other markets for its products.
He said that the second Agosta, now being built at
the dockyard, would be delivered in 2002 and the third would be
commissioned in 2004. Over 750 people were working on the project. Of
them 500 had been trained in France, he added.
As the production gathers momentum, "we will
certainly go for deletions for producing spare parts, which will
enable us to reduce dependence on others", the admiral said.
Business to get IT draft law next month
The draft of new income tax law will be handed over
to the business community sometimes next month, for incorporation of
their views as government wants to include their views also, before
announcing the new law, informed the Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz.
In a meeting with the members of Karachi Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Wednesday, he said a committee, headed
by Saeed Qureishi, has started holding meetings with various chambers
who have also submitted proposals for incorporation of their views in
the new law.
He rejected the impression created by the
businessmen that all taxation measures were being carried out on the
dictation of IMF and other donor agencies. The decisions regarding LC
margins and re-introduction of IT law are part of government plan.
"You will know very soon what we have negotiated with these
agencies," he said.
Banks lift LC margin
Banks on Monday lifted cash margin on import
letters of credit. The decision will take effect from Tuesday.
President of National Bank S. Ali Raza and his
counterpart in Habib Bank Zakir Mahmood announced the decision on
behalf of all banks at a joint press conference held at the NBP head
They said banks decided to lift the cash margin
because it had served the purpose of easing off the volatility in the
inter-bank foreign exchange market.
Banks had imposed 30 per cent cash margin on all
imports minus crude oil and petroleum products on October 5 after the
rupee had hit a lifetime low of 59.95 to a dollar in the inter-bank
The imposition of margin was well-aligned with some
monetary measures taken by the State Bank contributed its bit in
averting a free fall of the rupee.
Bosnia seeks cooperation
Bosnia has invited Pakistani entrepreneurs to
actively participate in privatization of its defence industry, which
once held fourth position in terms of capacity and size in Europe.
Bosnian Ambassador Faik Uzunovic told Pakistani
businessmen late Wednesday that the defence industry was a sensitive
issue. Therefore, Bosnia would prefer friends from Pakistan to enter
into joint ventures in this sector, he said.
Musharraf meets Khatami
The chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, called
on Iranian President Sayed Muhammad Khatami on Tuesday and discussed
with him matters of mutual interest. The discussion centred on
regional matters, including the situation in Afghanistan and in
occupied Kashmir. The matters relating to furthering the economic
developments were also discussed, according to an FO official.
The CE appreciated the Iranian president for his
role as chairman of the eighth Islamic summit and said that under his
guidance the OIC had gained a lot.
In their meeting, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir
Muhammad and Gen Musharraf stressed the need for unity in the Muslim
world. They agreed that it was important for the developing countries
to invest in education to raise the level of literacy.
Free cotton trade policy to continue
The Federal Textile Board, in its first meeting on
Monday, decided to follow a free cotton trade policy with no
government intervention in the market at this moment.
Commerce and Industries Minister Abdul Razak Dawood,
who presided over the meeting, assured the participants that the
difficulties regarding SROs 818, 369 and 417 would be attended on
priority basis to facilitate the industry in improving the production
and export performance.
Gwadar port project delayed
Paucity of funds and prevailing financial crisis
have forced the federal government to delay the construction of
deep-sea port at Gwadar at least for a year, it is reliably learnt.
Construction work was expected to begin in the
current fiscal. However, financial problems forced the government to
change its plan.
According to reliable sources, the ministry of
communication was supposed to spend around three billion rupees during
the current fiscal year and an announcement in this regard was also
made by the Chief Executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, during his visit to
Mekran coast earlier this year. However, no allocation could be made
as no funds were available with the ministry.