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Mar 26 - Apr 01, 2001

Toyota for less local components

The Japanese head of Toyota Motor Corporation's operation in Pakistan on Thursday said it would seek a reduction in the degree of 'localization' in cars and vehicles, assembled in Pakistan because it was increasing the cost of production.

Tsutomu Komoi, project manager of the Oceania, Middle East and Southwest Asia region for Toyota, said the company was considering to ask the Pakistan government to reduce the degree of localization, which currently stood at around 50 per cent. Explaining this ratio, he said it meant that 50 per cent of the components of Toyota vehicles assembled in Pakistan were made locally. He said the company would ask the government to take a "realistic" view, because reducing the indigenization ratio would actually reduce the cost of production and this could in turn lead to lower prices.

Talking to a group of Pakistani journalists visiting Toyota's Takaoka plant, the largest worldwide with a capacity to produce 693,000 vehicles every year, Komori said Pakistan's annual production had "stabilized" at 10,000 vehicles. In response to a question, he agreed that this might also mean that output was now stagnant and would pick up along with an upswing in the country's economy.

He also said the manufacture of, what he called 'functional' parts like engines and transmissions was not happening in Pakistan. He denied that taking part in a joint venture with a local partner in any way compromised quality, saying that the prerequisite for such a partnership was quality control. In response to another question, he said Toyota had no plans currently to introduce vehicles in Pakistan that would run exclusively on compressed natural gas.

Toyota's corporate general manager for public relations, Kiyoku Okuda, spoke briefly about the company's global operations. In response to a question, she denied that large automobile companies in any way exercised any monopoly power, that they colluded to fix prices or that they acted against the interests of consumers.

PSDP cut by Rs10 billion

The government has directed all the ministries and divisions to seek reduced funding for their development projects after downward revision of the revenue collection target from Rs436 billion to Rs417 billion for the current financial year.

"We have notified all the ministries and divisions that they can not get their complete share in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) due to downward revision of our revenue collection targets," said Finance Secretary Younus Khan.

He told on Tuesday that the size of the PSDP had been cut from Rs120 billion to Rs110 billion few weeks ago. "But I assure you that no further cut will be applied to the current PSDP," the secretary added.

Mr Khan said that since the Central Board of Revenue had been on tack to collect its required revenues during the last eight months of 2000-2001, there was no likelihood whatsoever of further reducing the size of the PSDP.

Sindh told to curb rice growing in some areas

The Sindh government has been directed to convert its perennial canals into non-perennial ones and impose restriction on rice cultivation in certain areas of the province to cope with lingering water crisis, Dawn reliably learnt.

The directives were issued at a meeting which was presided over by Maj-Gen Sabih-ud-din and attended by irrigation officials of all the four provinces and heads of other concerned departments. The meeting was held at the General Headquaters, Rawalpindi, on Thursday, sources said.

It was also decided that a study would be carried out on apportionment of water among the provinces and issue of water quota- the amount of water released per 1000 acres in different canals.

The meeting was of the view that cropping pattern, in view of water scarcity, should also be changed and, if the crisis persisted, the area under cultivation in all the four provinces should also be curtailed.

Sugar production

A total production of 2.232m tons Sugar has been achieved from crushing of 26.978m tons sugarcane till mid of March.

A target of 2.4m tons sugar production was set against the demand of about 3.30m tons during 2000-2001. As crushing season is about to end, production is likely to be supplemented by over 0.5m tons production from raw sugar and over 0.4m tons of refined sugar already imported during the season.

Official sources said the area target of sugarcane was fixed at 1m hectares for the year 2000-01, and cane production of 51.6m tons.

Higher phutti arrivals at ginneries

A sustained arrival of phutti from fields into ginneries during last fortnight (March 1 to 15) has helped surpass last season's (1999-2000) total production of cotton by 0.363 million bales.

According to official figures of Pakistan Cotton Ginners' Association (PCGA) till March 15, 2001, over 9.985 million bales had been produced as against a total production of 9.622 million bales last season.

During the corresponding period (March 1 to 15) of last season, there was no more arrival of phutti and total output of cotton was finally put at 9.622 million bales.

The higher production of raw cotton has been achieved because both the cotton growing provinces - Sindh and Punjab - have produced around 3.7 per cent more cotton over last year.

First batch of Khalid tanks

First batch of 15 indigenously -developed al-Khalid main battle tanks will roll out in June, Lt-Gen Hamid Javaid, Chairman, Heavy Industries, Taxila (HIT), said on Saturday.

Briefing newsmen at the HIT, Gen Javaid said that the al- Khalid, equipped with most modern gadgetry and accurate shooting capability, had been cleared by technical wings of the GHQ and the army.