. .


Feb 21 - 27, 2000

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

8 oil & gas companies given autonomy

The government on Thursday announced full autonomy to eight oil and gas companies under the ministry of petroleum and natural resources.

Making formal announcement at a press conference, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Usman Aminuddin said the companies including, Pakistan Petroleum (PPL), Oil and Gas Development Co (OGDCL), Sui Southern Gas Co (SSGCL), Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL), Pakistan State Oil (PSO), National Refinery (NRL), Pak Arab Refinery (PARCO), and Attock Refinery (ARL) have been given an independent status with immediate effect.

He said an approval to reach the decision was accorded by the federal cabinet during its Wednesday's meeting chaired by the Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf.

The meeting had also approved the appointment of the Chairmen, Board Members and Managing Directors of the companies which have been given autonomous status.

The minister for petroleum and natural resources while citing details about the powers given to the newly inducted management of the companies said, 'they will enjoy full powers to run their respective companies on purely professional and commercial terms.' The management of these companies will be above all influence, he said.

He hoped the decision would help overcome the menaces of nepotism, corruption, plunder, and misuse of power which he said had been an order of the day in the public sector companies.

Regarding the role of ministry, he said, it will be supportive and rule framing body, that has hardly any influential role as far as the management affairs of the companies are concerned.

The Minister while elaborating the powers delegated to the chairman, managing director and directors of the companies said, chairman having non-executive powers would chair the meeting of the board of directors, managing director each of the company will enjoy all the executive powers and the directors are heads of the different wings of the specific organization.

Govt to focus on a poverty alleviation in economic policy

The new focus of the official economic policy is on poverty alleviation, according to finance minister Shaukat Aziz who was speaking at the concluding session of the two-day policy dialogue on micro-finance in economic development and poverty alleviation.

He said the government will set reasonable socio-economic targets, focus on a more equitable growth and formulate directed policies for key sectors like agriculture, oil and gas, small and medium industry and information technology.

Discussing the proposed Microcredit Bank, the minister said this Bank would be a key instrument of government's poverty reduction strategy and its main rationale will be to increase the access of poor to financial services and will be based on a group lending methodology.

The minister clarified that the Microcredit Bank would undertake sustainable operations through cost recovery and the Bank will be regulated through an enforceable regulatory system.

$335,000 bio-fertilizer project okayed (Box)

Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has approved $335,000 of financing for a Bio-Fertilizer project in Pakistan.

The project titled " Use of Bio-fertilizer for Increasing Sustainable Crop Production in Muslin Countries and establishment of Bio-fertilizer of Resource Centre ( BIRCEN)" will be set up at National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Faisalabad.

IDB will provide US$ 300,000 for purchase of equipment for BIRCEN project. Another US$ 35,000 will be provided for networking, publications and communication/information.

IDB Board of Executive Directors (BED) has approved the funding for the project under its Technical Assistance (Grant) Programme.

As far as training of the scientists from other IDB member countries is concerned it would be financed under IDB's Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP), says a press release.

GDP target may not be achieved: SBP report

The State Bank has warned that Pakistan GDP (gross domestic product) may not grow to the target level of 5 per cent during fiscal year 1999-2000.

In fiscal 1998-99, GDP had grown only 3.1 per cent against the target of 6 per cent. The SBP report does not specify an expected level to which it may grow this year.

The report implies that the current fiscal year may close with around 4 per cent inflation as measured by consumer price index. "On the basis of existing trends the rate of increase in prices may be around 4 per cent," this is exactly how the report puts it after commenting in detail on inflation.

Inflation rate goes up by 3.37pc (Industry

The inflation rate has gone up by 3.37%, since last July, indicating more economic stagnation than any real decline in the cost of living, conforms the Consumer Price Index.

The monthly price data released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS), after withholding it for two days on Saturday, the ratio of increase in inflation rate was substantially lower than during July-January, 1998-99 (6.49%) and 1997-98 (9.23%).

The lower rates of increase (3.37% for CPI, 1.84% for Sensitive Price Indicator and 1.53% for Wholesale Price Index) are, in fact, the fruits of creative manipulation and categorization, meant to induce complacency in the government.

Kohat tunnel rock blasting inaugurated

The rock blasting ceremony of Kohat Tunnel project was formally inaugurated here on Saturday which, after completion, would reduce the distance between Karachi and Peshawar on Indus Highway.

The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs 6.626 billion and will be completed in next three and a half years. Besides constructing the two kilometres tunnel in the rocky mountain, about 28 km access roads from north and south of the tunnel will be built.

The tunnel will reduce the distance between Kohat and Darra Adam Khel by 5 km and it will also save 30 minutes travel time of the vehicles.

The Kohat tunnel project is an integral part of the 1200 Km long, Rs 38 billion Indus Highway, running south to worth of the country. The Indus Highway projects, after completion will reduce the distance by 400 km between Karachi and Peshawar.