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Apr 02 - 08, 2001

White sugar output up

There is a higher production of white sugar at 2.524 million tons or 7.4 per cent, as against the corresponding period of last year when output was recorded at 2.351m tons.

According to official figures issued by the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) on Monday, the millers up to March 15, 2001, produced around 2.249m tons of white sugar by crushing cane and around 0.274m tons by melting imported raw sugar.

The shortage of irrigation water has resulted in poor harvest of sugarcane crop and millers during the period under review produced less sugar from cane at 2.249m tons, as against the output of 2.351m tons achieved in the same period last year.

However, higher output of white sugar from imported raw sugar at 0.724m tons helped to offset the negative impact and the country's net production up to March 15, 2001, stood higher by 0.173m tons than the corresponding period of last year.

There had been normal off-take of white sugar from the mills and until now sold around 1.048m tons leaving a sizebale balance of 1.476m tons of unsold stocks with them.

According to market sources, white sugar is being presently sold at Rs23 to Rs24 per kilogram in the retail market and there are no signs of shortage or panic buying from any quarters.

In Punjab the production of white sugar from cane stood at 1.248m tons which is little less than of last year when output was at 1.252m tons. However, 105,260 tons processed out of raw sugar took the total production of the province to 1.353m tons.

However, there is a drastic fall of sugar production in NWFP where total output stood at 65,010 tons compared to 102,040 tons of same period last year.

The province of Sindh also recorded higher production at 1.105m tons as against 0.996m tons of the corresponding period last year.

Joint ventures

The Netherlands is interested in entering into joint ventures in the field of agro-based projects with Pakistan, for which, it will extend all possible help and assistance.

The Consul General of the Netherlands Teunis Halft stated this, while speaking to businessmen and members of the Balochistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) on Tuesday.

He said, both Pakistan and the Netherlands have close bilateral trade relations since long and for which the volume of trade between the two countries stands at about $400 million. Giving the break-up, he said, the value of Dutch export to Pakistan being at $150 million and of Pakistani exports to the Netherlands at around $250m.

"This, of course, is good for Pakistani economy, indicating clear surplus of trade for this country," Teunis remarked adding the surplus is growing for the last couple of years. He expressed the hope that in coming days it would increase by many folds.

Mari Gas allowed exploration

The government has decided to allow Mari Gas Company (MGCL) to start petroleum exploration activities with an annual expenditure of $20 million, official sources told.

The decision in principle has also been taken to increase the fixed rate of return to shareholders of the company from 22.5 per cent to 30 per cent, the sources said.

A public limited company listed at country's three stock exchanges, MGCL is owned mainly by the Fauji Foundation, a business unit of Pakistan Army. With an equity base of Rs400 million, the company is currently producing around 420 MMCFD of natural gas from its 62 wells. The MGCL gas is dedicated to the fertilizer plants and Wapda's Guddu Thermal Power Station.

Water shortage

The Minister for Food, Agriculture and Livestock, Khair Mohammad Junejo on Thursday disclosed that the government would adopt a strategy to overcome the present irrigation water shortage, by shifting to crops consuming less water.

For this purpose, he said, the government has already constituted teams of experts, researchers and provincial representatives who will be visiting agriculture fields to identify areas where crop shifting will be more feasible.

Tanzania, Oman seek SSGC expertise

Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has received queries from Tanzania and Oman for providing technical expertise and master planning of their distribution networks.

A senior official in the SSGC told on Wednesday that the company was trying to secure a contract with these countries, who are in advance stage of planning their oil and gas pipelines.

The SSGC had signed a three-year contract with Nigeria last year for providing technical expertise for gas distribution.

Toyota assures support to local industry

Representative of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) in Pakistan, Y. Saito, has said that the TMC and Indus Motors have always supported the vendor industry and complied with localization regulations set by the government.

They have no plans on reducing the current degree of localization, a press release of Indus Motors Company quotes Y. Saito.

He said Toyota's representative in Japan, while briefing the press there, only pointed that future localization programmes must be realistic as in view of low volumes it may increase the cost of production and final selling prices to the consumers.

Rs28m project to strengthen PSI

The ministry of science and technology has approved Rs28 million to strengthen Pakistan Standard Institution (PSI) in the areas of industrial standardization and certification marks.

This will assist the country in industrialization and value addition of raw material and enhance the export earnings of Pakistan, said an official statement.

Cabinet to discuss poultry issues

Federal minister for food and agriculture Khair Mohammad Junejo has assured the poultry industry for taking up its problems in the next meeting of the cabinet.

Talking to a delegation of Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) on Thursday, he said the government would consider their genuine problems and crisis, currently being faced by the poultry sector.