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Feb 14 - 20, 2000

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

Cabinet body okays shipping policy

The Cabinet Committee on Ports and Shipping approved in principle, the Shipping Policy 2000.

The Committee, which met here with Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf in the chair, also approved in principle the Merchant Shipping Ordinance - 2000.

The Committee directed that the Shipping Policy and Merchant Shipping Ordinance be presented to the Federal Cabinet for approval and promulgation.

The meeting of the Cabinet Committee was held in light of the decision taken at the joint session of the National Security Council (NSC) and the Federal Cabinet on Jan 5.

The meeting reviewed the prioritization of existing developmental and operational plans in the sectors of Ports and Shipping.

Secretary Communication, Dr Akram Shaikh apprised the participants about the plans, priorities, implementation strategies and recommendations in Ports and Shipping with the aim of maximizing output, facilitating trade and minimizing wastage.

With regard to the Shipping Sector, it was decided that in addition to the Public Sector, the Private Sector would also be encouraged to play its role in a competitive atmosphere.

Prudential regulations for Modaraba cos finalized

Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) finalized new Prudential Regulations for the operation of Modaraba companies which obligate them to hold an Annual Review Meeting (ARM) with their certificate holders.

Missing in the original Modaraba law, the provision 'injects an element of accountability' of the management of these companies to their investors, remarked Mr Shamim Ahmed Khan, chairman SECP, after the meeting which approved the Prudential Regulations.

It, however, stops short of giving holders the right of vote to approve decisions of the management. The certificate holders would, however, have the opportunity in ARM to discuss the investment policies and other operational matters of respective companies.

PBIT may be wound up

The Punjab government proposes to shortly wind up operations of the 18-month old Punjab Board of Investment amd Trade (PBIT).

The proposal for winding up the PBIT operations, an autonomous body, was mooted by its directors during their meeting held here on Jan 31. However, the PBIT will not be disbanded as a 'company or organization' so that the government does not have to start the whole legal process afresh if it decides to revive (a remote possibility) the board at any point in the future.

Privatisation of big assets after 15th: PC chief

Privatisation of major state-owned assets will begin after February 15, soon after the privatization law is finalised, Privatisation Commission (PC) Chairman Aftab M. Saleem said.

The PC chairman in his maiden press conference said that the policy would be ready by the middle of this month after its final approval from the highest authority and the privatization law will be ready for its vetting by the Law Ministry within this time.

He said privatization was the top most agenda of his government's economic policy, as financial haemorrhage through insolvent state corporations was well over Rs 100 billion annually, which is tax-payers' money going down the drain.

Credit line

A visiting Islamic Development Bank mission has assured Pak-Libya Holding company that IDB may consider their request for export finance credit line.

The two-member mission comprising Salih A.Bin Jamiaan and Moinuddin lent the assurance to MD of Pak-Libya Holding Co. Zaigham Rizvi at a meeting with him on Monday, says a press release.

Number of taxes to be cut to three: Shaukat

Finance Minister, Shaukat Aziz, has said that government has positive signs of improvement in the economy with an 11pc increase in exports.

"Our ultimate desire is to reduce federal taxes only to three during this budget, if not than in the next and rationalize the remaining taxes", he said while addressing the CBR officers, Collectors and Senior officials of Customs at the Custom House on Tuesday.

Noting that exports are rising and inflation still quite low, Shaukat Aziz said that our exchange rate policy is stable and the initial signs are very encouraging.

He said the agriculture crop was very good and rather superb. He said with fixation of wheat price at Rs 300 per maund by the government, has yielded good results and the country expects a bumper crop.

22 per cent mark-up on funds off limits

Habib Bank has decided to charge 22 per cent mark-up on working capital finances drawn beyond the sanctioned limit without any prearrangement. The maximum markup on normal financing of all types minus concessional schemes remains intact at 18.25 per cent.

Sources at HBL said the new tariff of bank charges effective from January 1, 2000 envisages a punitive clause to tackle cases of irregular working capital financing.

Under this clause HBL branches are bound to charge a high mark-up of 60 paisa per one thousand rupees per day or 21.90 per cent if working capital is drawn beyond the limit. The same mark-up is applicable on all unauthorized drawings.

HBL president

New President of Habib Bank Zakir Mahmood took over the charge of his office from outgoing president Shaukat Tarin.

PSO's new MD

The newly appointed Managing Director of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) Shaukat Mirza, has taken over the charge of the post on Monday.

No wealth tax from July 1

Federal Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Moin Uddin Haider (Retd) said that wealth tax is being withdrawn by the next financial year.

Haider was addressing a seminar on 'good governance' held here under the auspices of the Centre for Development and Democracy at a hotel.

He said there would be an important announcement next month on 'district government' by Chief Executive Gen. Pervez Musharraf. It would set the tone for devolution of powers from the federal government to the provincial government and then to the grassroots levels in districts.