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Mar 12 - 25, 2001

Decrease in oil prices

The government on Wednesday announced decrease in the petroleum prices ranging from seven to 17 per cent on six different products including petrol, kerosene and diesel.

The downward revision, which takes effect immediately, has brought prices to the level at which they had been before the last increase made on Dec 30, 2000.

In another significant move towards deregulation, the government has also partially done away with the freight pool system, Secretary Petroleum Abdullah Yousaf told a press conference.

However, the government would ensure sale of petroleum products at unified prices in remote areas like Azad Kashmir, Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and remote areas of Balochistan, Mr Yousaf said.

A decrease of 6.98 per cent or Rs2.25 a litre has been made in the price of petrol (MS 87 Ron) by bringing it down from Rs32.25 to Rs30 a litre.

The price of HOBC has been reduced to Rs33 a litre from Rs35.25 a decrease of 6.38 per cent or Rs2.25 a litre.

The prices of kerosene and diesel, products largely consumed by people in the low income group, have also been reduced by 7.58 per cent a litre and 15.62 per cent a litre, respectively.

Kerosene has been made cheaper by Rs1.25 a litre by bringing its price down from Rs16.50 a litre to Rs15.25 a litre.

High speed diesel would be available in the market at the rate of Rs15.40 a litre as its price has been reduced by 16.92 per cent a litre or Rs2.75.

Light diesel oil has been reduced by 16.92 per cent or Rs2.75 a litre from Rs16.25 a litre to Rs13.50 a litre.

The highest decrease approved by the federal cabinet on the recommendation of the petroleum ministry was in JP-4, aviation fuel used by defence aircraft. Its prices decreased by 16.99 per cent a litre or Rs3.10 a litre.

IMF to disburse $138m this month

Pakistan has received a letter of intent (LoI) from the IMF to get the second tranche of 138 million dollars disbursed within this month, said Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz.

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, he said the LoI would be signed and sent back to Washington by the government at the end of this week. "Things seem to be heading in the right direction to secure the second tranche of 138 million dollars, out of the 596-million-dollar Standby Arrangement (SBA)," he added.

He pointed out that the IMF board would formally approve the second tranche some time within this month. Pakistan had earlier received the first tranche of 190 million dollars in December last year.

According to the schedule, third and fourth instalments would be disbursed by the IMF in June and September this year, when the programme period ends.

Rs11 billion missing from SAP account: report

An amount of Rs11 billion, which the government was supposed to spend under Social Action Programme as a condition to Japanese loan of $250 million, was never transferred to SAP account, according to a report of Auditor General of Pakistan.

Japan had given $250 million loan in March 1998 for improving banking sector with a condition that the government of Pakistan would deposit an equivalent amount of Rs11 billion in the "Counterpart Fund Account" with the State Bank and transfer the same to SAP account for the execution of health and education projects all over the country.

Instead of depositing the entire amount of Rs11 billion with the State Bank, the government deposited less than one per cent of the money i.e. Rs10.942 million with the SBP on March 27, 1998, and even that amount was never transferred to SAP accounts.

Treet Corporation

Treet Corporation Limited of the Wazir Ali group of Industries, reported 5% drop in sales to Rs 634.8m for the year ended June 30, 2000, from Rs 667.7m the previous year. Pretax profit declined 34.6% to Rs 51.6m for financial year 1999-2000, from a year ago pretax profit at Rs 78.9m. After tax profit stood reduced by 41.5% to Rs 29.6m, from Rs 50.6m.

WAPDA seeks increase in tariff

The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has once again requested the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to increase the consumer tariff by almost one rupee per kwh, official sources said.

The WAPDA in its written request, has given three reasons justifying its demand, including water shortage in major reservoirs, which has affected the WAPDA hydel power generation capacity.

Special loaning facilities

Habib Bank President, Zakir Mahmood, Saturday pledged special loaning facilities to medium and small industries for setting- up industries in the textile sector.

Speaking at a joint meeting of chambermen, ginners and other members of various communities at the Bahawalpur Circuit House, the HBL President said that Bahawalpur is a 'model' of cotton growing area. However, it has been upgraded on priority basis as a 'centre of financing sector'. He said after upgradation, efforts were being made to strengthen customer-bank relationship through speedy financial assistance.

Diamond Industries

Diamond Industries Limited had reported pretax profit amounting to Rs83.0 million on sales valued at Rs292.7 million.

$8.6b paid to service debt

Pakistan repaid a total amount of $8.66 billion on account of debt-servicing to 25 countries, during the period 1994-95 to 1999-2000, according to official statistics available on Thursday.

The proportion of interest in these re-payments was 25.57 per cent ($2.21 billion), while the principal totalled $6.44 billion.

A major portion of the debt-service or 91.03 per cent ($7.88 billion) was on account of loans owed to the Paris Club, which comprises 19 countries including those of the West and Japan and South Korea. This included $5.88 billion as principal and $2 billion as interest.

HSBC Holdings

HSBC Holdings Plc made a profit before tax of $9,775m in 2000, rising by 22% as compared to 1999. Profit attributable to shareholders was $6,628m, an increase of 23%, says a press release.