NIT to pay dividend
National Investment Trust (NIT) would pay to its unit holders a sum of
Rs one billion in interim dividend, Chairman & MD declared. The interim dividend,
which would be distributed at the rate of Re 0.55 per unit for the first half of the
financial year to end-Dec '99, was exceedingly on the higher side, when compared to Re
0.47 paisa paid for all of the previous year.
TMAP seeks loans
The Towel Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (TMAP) has asked the
government to make available soft loans to manufacturers of towel, toilet linen, bathrobes
etc at the rate of 5% to increase the export of this high value-added item.
'Oil hike may spur interest rate cuts'
Pakistan's plans to further cut interest rates to boost investment and
lower domestic debt servicing costs could be threatened by rising world oil prices,
bankers and analysts said on Wednesday.
The government cut interest rates by two percentage points early in
January, spurring a nearly 30 per cent jump in the Karachi Stock Exchange this year and
fuelling hopes that further cuts would help shore up Pakistan's faltering economy.
"The inflation cycle is now back on its way up...there may not be
an immediate threat but if oil prices continue to remain high the scope for further cuts
in interest rates would be limited," Saqib Sherani an economist at ABN AMRO Bank,
Oil prices have climbed above $30 a barrel, their highest since January
1991 when Iraq invaded Kuwait.
Sherani said a decision by the governmentwhich sets domestic fuel
pricesto boost prices in December when world prices hit $24 a barrel had already
started to stoke inflation.
The Federal Bureau of Statistics said on Monday the consumer price
index rose 0.2 per cent in January from December, and was up 3.43 per cent from January
"If international oil prices continue to remain above $28,
inflation is likely to be in the range of 4.5 per cent to five per cent by the end of the
fiscal year (in June)," Sherani said.
Bankers in Karachi said higher inflation rates could put a halt to
government plans to push commercial banks' prime lending rates down to 12 per cent, from
the current 14 to 16 per cent, which are already down from close to 20 per cent a year
The treasury head at one foreign bank said signals from the central
bank suggested the plan was to push the six-month government treasury bill yield down to
around 6.5 per cent a year in the next couple of months, from a cut-off yield of 7.9869
per cent in an auction last week.
SBP eases curb on lending to Modarabas
Banks can now offer financing facilities to modarabas with credit
ratings of B-3 without prior clearance of the State Bank of Pakistan.
The latest SBP instruction on this subject is that banks will continue
to seek prior permission of SBP for offering financing facilities to the modarabas whose
credit rating is below B-3. The SBP issued this instruction to all banks through a
circular. But it did not explain B-3.
SBP had instructed banks in September 1996 to seek its prior clearance
before offering financing facilities to modarabas amid reports suggesting that bank
financing to modarabas was creating an imbalance in the market.
World Bank suspends $100m loan for railways
The World Bank has suspended $ 100 million Railways restructuring and
privatization loan after the railways ministry shelved the programme. Top official sources
told that the Bank's decision was conveyed to the government on Tuesday.
The decision was firmed up after a detailed meeting on Monday at the
Privatization Commission (PC), attended by 0a two-member delegation of World Bank
comprised of Julia Fraser and Luis Thompson, chairman Railways Lt. General Javed Ashraf
(Retd) and top PC officials.
France to invest in oil, gas exploration
The Consul General of France in Karachi, Gilles Bonnaug said that his
country would make huge investment in oil and gas exploration activities in Pakistan and
for this purpose a French company had joined hand with a local company.
Rs 1,500 prize bonds fetch Rs 71.3 bn
The first draw of Rs 1,500 prize bonds, in A to L series, was held here
on Tuesday in which 11 numbers were announced which had won Rs 2 million each. Provincial
Industries Minister Dewan Mohammed Yusuf Farooqui inaugurated the balloting.
During the past four months prize bonds of Rs 1,500 denomination in A
to L series were sold which fetched Rs 71.30 billion to the national exchequer.
The minister in his short speech said the prize bonds scheme has
provided incentives for savings and an alternative source of generation of funds for the
He appreciated the extensive use of computers in the National Savings
Department and said that all those NS offices which have no computers must be
UBL service charges increase
United Bank Ltd has enhanced minimum charges for domestic remittance of
money through bank drafts and mail as well as telegraphic transfers.
People remitting more than Rsl million within Pakistan through bank
draft are now supposed to pay a flat commission of Rs250. Up to Dec 31, 1999 UBL charged
no commission on such remittance.
The new UBL tariff of bank charges that became effective from January
this year also requires people remitting Rs100,000 to Rsl million through bank draft to
pay a commission of Rs100. Up to December 31 there was no commission on remittance of this
size through bank draft. People remitting Rs10,000 to Rs99,900 by mail or telegraphic
transfers are now supposed to pay a minimum fee of Rs50 instead of Rs25: those remitting
up to Rs10,000 are to pay Rs25 instead of Rs20.