. .

Apr 02 - 08, 2001

Chashma Nuclear Plant

Pakistan planned to establish another nuclear power plant with 100 per cent indigenous expertize and resources in six to seven years, said Dr Ishfaq Ahmed, Chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and adviser-designate to the Chief Executive, on Thursday.

He was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of $600 million 325 megawatt Chashma Nuclear Power Plant.

"Pakistan should not wait for another 30 years to have another plant. The government is very keen and we hope we will have a third nuclear plant very soon," Dr Ishfaq said.

"We have to see the Chashma Power Project stabilizing power generation, economic turnaround in the country and then we can go for the third plant," he said.

Chashnupp became operational in September last year and it has already started supplying electricity to Wapda's national power grid.

Chinese minister for science and technology and national defence Liu Jibin said Chasnupp had received full support from both the governments of Pakistan and China.

He said the agreement for the project was signed in 1991 and its construction started in 1993. "The 1993 turned a new leaf in the cooperation between Pakistan and China for the peaceful use of nuclear energy based on equality and mutual benefit," the Chinese minister said.

He said the frequent exchange of visits by the leaders of two countries had laid the foundation for comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

Dr Ataur Rehman, the minister for science and technology, called for learning lessons from China in hard work and investment in the human resource sector and said the two countries should work together in the field of science and technology and link up their minds for scientific development.

Electricity rate raised

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) on Thursday allowed the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to increase power tariff by 8 paisa per unit.

The Thursday hike came on top of last Friday's increase of 12 paisa per unit taking the cumulative increase for domestic consumers to 36 paisa per unit (kilowatt hour) during the last six months.

WAPDA's Acting Member (Finance) Javed Nizam told reporters that the increase was allowed under the mechanism called automatic adjustment in the consumer-end tariff and came into effect from March 27 with retrospective effect.

EoIs invited for UBL privatisation

Privatization Commission (PC) has invited expression of interests (EoIs) for the sale of 26 per cent management share of the United Bank, an official announcement said.

The commission has set June 15, 2001, as the last date for the submissions of EoIs with a non-refundable processing fee of Rs12,000 or $200.

After the pre-qualification process, the prospective buyers would be provided with additional information on the UBL, PC said.

With 11,873 staff, the UBL has an extensive domestic network, consisting of around 1,400 branches with a market share of nine per cent. It operates a focused international network of branches in the UK, the USA, the UAE, Yemen, Bahrain and Qatar. In export processing zone of Karachi, it is operating a joint venture Oman United Exchange Co, besides a subsidiary, United Bank A.G. Zurich in Switzerland and representative offices in Cairo and Tehran.

ECC okays gas supply to KESC

The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) on Thursday approved the ministry of petroleum's request to supply gas to Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC).

The meeting which was presided over by finance minister Shaukat Aziz said that the decision would enable further conversion of KESC's Bin Qasim Thermal Plant to gas. The gas supply will be 40mm cfd by March 31, 2001 and increase to 176mm cfd by January 1, 2003. The gas will be supplied to KESC by Sui Southern Gas Pipeline Company Limited (SSGPL).

OGDC to be privatized

The government is most likely to privatize Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDCL) in the form of one consolidated entity by December this year.

"Consolidated privatization (of OGDCL) is the most likely option because real value of the company is in consolidation," Altaf M. Saleem, minister for privatization told. The world is now moving towards consolidation and there are a number of mergers taking place every day, he added.

Jobs for Pakistanis

Microsoft, the global software giant, has announced job opportunities for Pakistani IT professionals at its headquarters in the US. There are multiple positions available in various technologies, including Kernel, Graphics, ActiveX, Java, Multimedia, DCOM, SQL, Networking and Internetworking, said Fazal Khan, Human Resources Manager, Microsoft in a press statement on Wednesday.

Party-based poll in Oct next year

The chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, declared on Sunday that the party-based general election would be held in October 2002, or around that time.

In reply to a question at a news conference at the Governor's House, the CE stated that he was not retiring in October this year, but evaded the query whether his elevation to presidency was part of his political restructuring plan.

"I am not retiring in October. Election will be held in October 2002, not before that. A few days here and there can be expected.

Govt not to expand privatization list

The government is targeting to complete at least nine major privatization transactions, before the end of current calendar year, said Minister for Privatization Altaf M. Saleem.

These include mega transactions like Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL), Pakistan State Oil (PSO), United Bank (UBL), Allied Bank (ABL), National Investment Trust (NIT), government's working interests in nine oil and gas fields, fertilizer companies, Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDCL) and gas meter factory.