Banking law to be amended
Fund to help stabilize cotton prices
The government is finalising a proposal to create a Price Stabilization
Fund for helping the cotton growers in time of crisis.
"Our growers have suffered last year due to fluctuations in the
cotton prices for which we need to create this Price Stabilization Fund", said the
Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production Abdul Razak Dawood. "We require some
kind of institutional network to look after the interests of our cotton growers".
He told a group of reporters here on Thursday that the businessmen
related to the textile sector also believed that cotton growers had faced lot of losses
last year and that they should be compensated on a permanent basis by having certain Price
The commerce minister pointed out that the details of the proposed fund
were being discussed and finalized to be incorporated in the new textile policy, being
announced in March next.
Simultaneously, he pointed out that the military government would be
coming out with a new industrial policy to cover the important sectors like engineering,
agro based industry, chemicals, sugar, cement, construction and software industry.
"These areas have been identified to increase our exports by creating a real export
Dawood said that a committee headed by Tariq Sehgol has been entrusted
the job of formulating recommendations for making a new textile policy by having input
from all the concerned sub sectors like ginning, spinning, weaving, processing, growers,
and the exporters of bedware, knitwear and towels, and other garments.
He said one of the major worries of the government was how to meet the
World Trade Organization's (WTO) deadline of Ist January 2005, when all quotas will finish
and the goods could be exported only on the basis of quality control as well as better
IBRD team briefed on capital market
Risk management initiatives taken by Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE)
helped prevent cases of default by members during the period of uncertainty said Chairman
of the Exchange, Arif Habib.
Briefing the visiting delegation of World Bank Financial Sector
Assessment Mission, he cited various reasons responsible for the deteriorating market
conditions during last few years.
Foreign cos oppose gas price formula
The military government's efforts to attract foreign imvestment through
Pakistan's lucrative oil and gas sector may not yield positive results as foreign oil and
gas exploratory companies have not accepted the gas price formula proposed under the New
Pricing Policy (NPP), saying that it severely erodes the value of any investment and it is
not economically sustainable.
Under the '94 and '97 petroleum policy statements, the Pakistan
government had set up four zones, depending on their risk profile and set their gas prices
accordingly. The policies guaranteed payment in foreign exchange for the full amount
payable to foreign petroleum companies. These incentives stimulated increased exploration
activity in Pakistan, which resulted in the discovery of over 6 trillion cubic feet (TCF)
of gas reserves in the past three years. This response was much better than what the
government had expected.
Shaukat Mirza appointed PSO chief
The military government Tuesday appointed managing directors of
Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and Sui Southern Limited on contract besides transferring some
Shaukat Mirza has been made managing director of PSO and Mukhtar Ahmad
has been appointed as MD Sui Southern Limited.
Plan for boosting gas output to trim oil imports
Pakistan could pump an extra 1.2bn cubic feet of natural gas per day in
the next seven years to trim a rising oil import bill, a plan presented to the
military-led government said.
The plan, obtained on Wednesday, also proposes that the government
encourage more exploration because the gas supply and demand gap will start widening from
2007 onwards because of the depletion of existing fields.
The plan on 'Optimal Utilisation of New Gas Discoveries' was presented
to the government jointly by the two state-run gas distribution companiesSui
Southern Gas Co and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines.
'The gap will still be 400 mmcfd (million cubic feet per day) in the
year 2006/2007, increasing to 500 mmcfd in 2007-2008 and ultimately 800 mmcdf in
2009-2010,' the plan said.
It says both companies need investment of over $230 million to carry
the new gas to the market and producers should be encouraged to invest in the
Progressive textile policy under study
A high-level meeting was held on Tuesday which discussed formulation of
a long-term progressive textile policy.
Minister for Commerce Industries and Production, Abdul Razak Dawood
chaired the meeting which was attended by stakeholders of textile sector.
It was participated also by the Minister for Food and Agriculture,
Shafqat Ali Shah Jamot, Sec. Industries and Production, representatives of growers,
ginners, spinners, weavers, garment manufacturers and exporters.
The commerce minister said that 'textile is our main industry and it is
going to get our full attention in future as well. No doubt, we are trying to diversify
our export base but textile will retain its predominant position'.
30pc shares to be offloaded
Minister for Finance Shaukat Aziz chaired a high-level meeting, which
discussed in detail the early privatization of stateowned enterprises specially offloading
30 per cent government's shareholding in the oil and gas sector.
Official sources said that the finance minister was given a briefing on
the disinvestment process by Chairman Privatization Commission Salim Altaf. Aziz was told
that arrangements were being finalized to undertake the privatization of major state
entities from February next.
Negotiations under way
The ADB mission on finance and industry on Saturday held a meeting with
Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to review progress regarding capital
market development programme (CMDP).
The mission which arrived on January 20, will hold further meetings
with SECP to review the policy performance compliance for the release of $125 million
second tranche under capital market development programme loan, informed sources said.