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Jan 31 - Feb 06, 2000

  1. International
  2. Finance
  3. Industry
  4. Policy
  5. Trade
  6. Gulf

10 IPPs to start working by April

At least ten Independent Power Producers (IPPs) will start generation of 2000MW power from April 2000.

The following IPPS will start operation: Uch Power, Roucsh, Fauji Kabirwala, Northern Electric, Eashatech, Davis Energen, Japan Power, Saba Coastal, Saba Shipyard Pakistan and Power generation Systems.

These power projects were issued permission letters in 1994 that mainly focused on thermal power projects.

Water and Power Ministry sources said these projects were at the stage of commissioning and expected to be operational shortly.

The government has issued Letters of Support (LoS) to some 34 private power companies with a net capacity of 8,340MW power. Some 19 projects with an installed capacity of 3,158MW achieved Financial Close and were further processed.

Joint venture to provide health insurance cover

ALLIANZ-EFU Health Insurance Co with a paid up capital of $6m, will provide insurance cover including hospitalization facilities for individuals as well as the groups and companies.

Initially, official sources said Thursday the company will restrict its operations to Karachi and Lahore. The permission in this regard was given by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Wednesday.

Japan to provide Rs 57.7m for bio-tech plant

Japan government will provide Rs 57.7 million as a grant to the federal agriculture ministry to undertake a project regarding application of biotechnology in plant genetics resources in Pakistan.

Sources said the project also proposes to engage 6 Japanese experts for training of 120 Pakistani farm experts in the fields of preservation, biochemical evaluation, data management, etc. It will provide 60 month training to 10 Pakistani scientists in Japan, purchase laboratory equipment, chemicals, books, journals, one vehicle and provide operation expenses.

41 state units to be privatized in first phase

The ministry of industries and production has identified 41 state-owned units to be privatized in the first phase shortly.

"I met the officials of the Privatization Commission on Wednesday and handed over to them a list of 41 units of the ministry of industries and production to be disinvested on priority", said the minister for commerce Abdul Razak Dawood.

He told reporters here on Wednesday that investment climate has improved in Pakistan to attract foreign and local buyers for the privatization of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs). "Both short and long-term plans are being finalized to have an effective and speedy privatization of the state sector".

However, he pointed out that a decision has been taken "not" to privatize Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) because of its various problems. He disclosed that Mills' Balancing, Modernization and Replacement (BMR) was currently under study to make it financially viable. The commerce minister, who is also the incharge of the ministry of industries and production, said that there was a big problem of overstaffing in the Pakistan Steel Mills. "Then of course the element of corruption is also a cause of worry for everybody", he said adding that a comprehensive policy was being worked out to make the Mills financially and administratively viable prior to its privatization.

He said that rightsizing and downsizing were being considered in the Pakistan Steel Mills. "We are also looking into the issue of so many undue inductions in the Mills", he said adding that he would soon be meeting the chairman of the Mills to have all the details for bringing improvements in the organization.

To a question, Abdul Razak Dawood said that smaller units under the ministry of industries and production were expected to be sold without any problem. He said that many of the units will be privatized through stock market. He said mainly ghee units, cement plants, chemical and fertilizer factories will be put up for sale.

Chinese firm to set up pesticides plant

The representatives of a Chinese company arrive here in the city on Tuesday to explore the possibility of setting up a basic pesticides manufacturing plant in the Punjab, provincial Board of Investment and Trade (BoIT) officials told on Monday.

The officials said China's Red Sun Group corporation has shown keen interest in setting up a joint venture to produce basic (raw materials) for pesticides.

BoIT executive director Arshad A Khan said the Chinese company is very much interested in bringing the technology to Pakistan to manufacture raw materials for pesticides.

The size as well as the cost of putting up the plant will be worked out after the Chinese investors decide to go ahead with the project, he said.

Sindh to harvest 3m tons of wheat

Wheat sowing in Sindh province has surpassed the target of 1,133,200 hectares, according to the field reports compiled by the agriculture extension department.

The figures collected from various districts upto January 15, indicate that wheat has been cultivated on 1,144,495 hectares and the germination of the crop is reported to be by and large satisfactory.

Oil, gas reserves discovered (Box)

Sizeable reserves of oil and gas have been found at Shakardara block in the NWFP, said Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Usman Aminuddin here on Monday.

In an interview, he said "it is very important that oil and gas reserves have been explored in the NWFP, because for the first time it has opened up avenues for economic integration of tribal areas in the settled areas of Pakistan."

Currently, this well — Chando-I—is producing about 1,200 barrels of oil and around 5 million cubic feet of gas while the second well— Chando-II — is being spud in.