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Dec 18 - 24, 2000

Growers agree on cane price at Rs50

Growers have agreed to supply sugarcane at Rs50 per 40kg to sugar millers and all the mills of Sindh, which have suspended cane crushing, will resume full-fledged cane crushing from Sunday.

This settlement was reached between millers and growers during a meeting with the provincial industries minister, Dewan Muhammad Yousuf Farooqui.

Mills will also start issuing indents from Thursday and growers will immediately start harvesting of sugarcane and arrange adequate supplies, says a press release of Sindh government and Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA), Sindh Zone.

The government has assured growers and millers to take appropriate action against the middlemen in sugarcane marketing and growers will ensure direct supply of cane to mills.

All 27 mills in Sindh had ceased the crushing operation following a row between the growers and the millers over support price. Growers have been demanding cane at Rs60 per 40kg but millers were pitted to give only Rs45 per 40kg.

In the last one month, Sindh millers produced over 132,000 metric tons of sugar due to slow cane crushing following suspension of supplies from the growers. In contrast, Punjab millers produced around 90,000 metric tons of sugar.

The price of sugar, produced by Sindh millers, varies from each other as mills have bought cane at various rates during the last one month ranging between Rs45-60 per 40 kg.

The deadlock between millers and growers had pushed up the prices of locally-produced sugar to Rs27 per kg from Rs26 per kg. In the wholesale markets, sugar, which was selling at Rs23.50 to Rs24 per kg, is now being sold at Rs25.50 per kg.

IMF finds Pakistan's economic performance encouraging

International Monetary Fund has expressed general satisfaction with Pakistan's economic performance, especially the government's efforts to reform the system, control spending, broaden the tax base, rein in inflation and take steps towards the privatisation of major entities such as WAPDA. APP has obtained a pre-release copy of the report prepared by the IMF Board of Directors following its November 29 meeting which approved a standby credit of $596 million for Pakistan which says several key structural reforms had been implemented, including the introduction of the petroleum price adjustment mechanism, the withdrawal of tax immunities and the launch of intensified loan recovery and tax registration campaigns.

'Industry status' for three sectors

The Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCOI) decided on Tuesday to place tourism, housing and construction sectors in "appropriate industry category" in the new investment policy.

The committee also liberalized the investment policy to woo domestic and foreign investors and reduce bureaucratic discretion. It hoped that investor friendly policy decisions, taken by the committee to attract investors, would yield positive results.

The CCOI meeting, presided over by the Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz and attended by the ministers for commerce, communications, Privatisation Commission, deputy chairman Planning Commission, CBR chairman, and other federal secretaries, discussed and decided many long standing issues, including the issue of special industrial zones.

It determined the criteria for value addition to industries and approved a comprehensive positive list of such industries. This issue was pending resolution since 1998, thus acting as a retardant to investment.

NWFP decides to privatize state units

The NWFP government would privatize provincial public sector industrial units, to lay off burden from the provincial resources.

A decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by provincial governor, on Thursday.

"The governor directed the authorities concerned to privatize provincial public sector industrial units to reduce burden from the provincial resources," said an official handout issued after the meeting.

Sugar mills sell-off reviewed

Sindh Privatization Committee (SPC), on Thursday reviewed the privatization process of Thatta and Dadu Sugar Mills and the optimum use of coal reserves by the industrial sector in the province.

The review was made at a meeting, presided over by SPC Chairman, Nasir Ali Shah Bukhari and attended by representatives of various government departments and members of the SPC. The Committee was apprised about the presentation made to the Cabinet on privatization of various assets, use of sale proceeds as to 90 : 10 ratio.

Financing for sick industries

Fresh financing of funds for revival of sick industrial units will not form part of their outstanding default: banks will rather keep a separate record of such financing and monitor it from the date it was made available to the sick units.

The State Bank conveyed this decision to all banks through a circular issued on Wednesday.

Saindak project

The Chinese delegation has delayed its arrival to Saindak project for two months for preoccupation at home. The Chinese Metallurgical Construction Company is considered as one of the hot favourite companies, offering bids for leasing the Saindak Project for the next six years.

Chashma power plant

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Dr Ashfaq Ahmad has said that the Chashma power plant has been completed and it will produce 360 MW electricity.

He was talking to reporters after the 12th convocation of the University of Engineering and Technology on Saturday.

Japan to resume aid in farm sector

Japan has agreed to resume financial and technical assistance to Pakistan, in order to help the country in developing its agriculture sector on modern lines, despite Islamabad's refusal to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Official sources told that the Japanese ambassador to Pakistan, Saddali Numata, informed Pakistan of his government's decision to resume the assistance during his meeting with Federal Agriculture Minister, Khair Mohammad Junejo, on Thursday.