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Mar 05 - 11, 2001

Chashma hydro power plant

President Rafiq Tarar has expressed concern over the water shortage in the country. He was speaking at a ceremony held in connection with the inauguration of the Chashma Right Bank Hydro Electric Power Plant at Chashma , 20 km from Mianwali, on Tuesday.

He said that had there been proper water management, the drought-like situation, prevalent for the last two years, could have been averted.

He said that it was the first bulb hydro project, installed in Pakistan.

Mr Tarar said that electricity was one of the major components of energy sector. He said that Pakistan has the potential to produce 40,000 MW hydel power. "But we can utilize only 12 per cent of the potential. Hydel power is not only cheaper but is also environment friendly.

"Thermal power is more expensive. This has enhanced power tariff, which not only hit the domestic consumers but was also responsible for high cost of production of industry."

About Wapda's Vision 2025 programme, he said 23,000 MW of hydel power and 65 million acre feet of water storage sites have been identified. "Wapda is expected to identify and construct projects in hydropower sector and storage, both in public and private sector.

The president asked Wapda to select projects which are environment friendly and have direct impact on poverty alleviation.

Mr Tarar invited donor agencies and multinational companies to come forward and participate in Wapda's Vision 2025 programme.

The president announced payment of bonus, equivalent to one-month salary, to all Wapda employees who worked on the project.

In his welcome address, Wapda Chairman Lt-Gen Zulfiqar Ali said that this hydropower plant will help meet electricity requirements, particularly in peak hours, and stabilize the system and improve the voltage in area.

He said Pakistan has an excellent network of barrages for diverting water to irrigation canals.

US cos & oil exploration

The US Deputy Chief of Mission Ms. Michele Sison said on Tuesday that the American firms are keen to participate in Oil and Gas, Mining, Information Technology, and Telecommunication sectors in Pakistan as "we believe that these sectors offer excellent prospects for US firms."

She made this observation while inaugurating the catalogue Show of the US companies at the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ms. Sison said that it is time for Pakistan to re-emphasise its reputation with foreign investors and to move toward achieving its significant potential in the world of economy.

In her speech, she said that because of globalisation, thousands of jobs are shifting from industrial countries to developing countries. "This shift is taking place because falling telecommunication costs and more powerful computers are spurring multinationals to hire skilled workers in countries where labour costs are comparatively less".

State Bank fears rise in inflation

The State Bank says the rupee depreciation in September followed by a sharp increase in retail petroleum prices in December last may push up inflation during the current fiscal year. It also warns that the economic slowdown in the United States and its implications on global economy may have an adverse impact on Pakistan's exports.

"The intensity and duration of this slowdown are still unknown and therefore the impact is difficult to measure," SBP says in its second quarterly report on the state of economy released on Monday.

The report has also revised down the forecast for the GDP growth from 4.5 per cent to "slightly below 4 per cent" for the current fiscal year without giving an exact number.

HBL signs agreement with CIRC

Habib Bank Limited has entered into an agreement with Corporate and Industrial Restructuring Corporation (CIRC) for handing over its 12 non-performing assets.

The agreement was signed on Thursday between President HBL, Zakir Mehmood and Chairman CIRC, Tariq Hameed at the HBL Plaza.

Aster Textile Mills Limited, Crescent Garment Industries, Summit Knitwear Limited, Imtiaz Steel Limited, Hussain Holding Ghee Mills Limited, Central Cotton Mills Limited, National Adhesive Tape Limited, Tila Tubes Limited, Madina Rice Mills, Jakhrani Solvent and Extraction Limited, United Multi Industries Limited and East End Tobacco Limited were formally handed over to CIRC due to their performance, says a press release.

Millers for ban on sugar import

Pakistan Sugar Mills Association has called upon the government to immediately ban the import of sugar to save the domestic industry.

The association held its extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday and reviewed the sugar situation.

After the meeting, a press release was issued, which said despite regular meetings with the government, no curb on import of sugar was made. On the other hand, sugar production has already exceeded 2.1 million tons as of today.

Recycling plant

A Belgian company is to install organic solid waste treatment and recycling plant at a cost of Rs60 million in Peshawar. An understanding has been reached between the visiting eight-member trade delegation from the Walloon region of Belgium and the relevant authorities.

D-8 states to enhance economic ties: CE

The chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, late Monday night said a recently held summit of the D-8 group would go a long way in strengthening economic and commercial ties among the member states.

Talking to reporters at the Karachi Airport on his return from Cairo he said that the D-8 summit was very successful. The leaders of D-8 countries decided to enhance cooperation in socio-economic field, he added.

The chief executive said the visit also provided an opportunity to hold discussions with Egyptian leaders for boosting bilateral cooperation. He said a strong delegation of Pakistani businessmen had a useful discussion with their Egyptian counterparts to increase the commercial ties between the two countries.