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Apr 02 - 08, 2001

Rise in imports to improve revenue

Pakistan's imports increased by 10 per cent in February and the first half of March, making the job of the Central Board of Revenue (CBR) relatively easy to achieve its revised Rs 417 billion revenue collection target at the end of the current financial year.

"The latest is that our imports have increased by 10 per cent against four per cent upto January, which will certainly help us to achieve the revised annual target of Rs417 billion," Wakeel said.

Talking on Thursday, he said imports target of 12.7 per cent was likely to be achieved soon as the business activities were picking up. Also, he said in terms of new inter-bank dollar rate, imports were also on the increase.

Wakeel pointed out that 40 per cent direct and indirect taxes were linked with imports. "If the imports are not picking up, the job of the CBR is becoming difficult to achieve its revenue collection target."

Responding to a question, he said CBR had not decided to further slash its revenue target from Rs417 billion to Rs386 billion. "In fact the Finance Division has not asked us officially to reduce the target to Rs417 billion and we are still working on the basis of Rs430 billion annual target," the Member Tax Policy said.

Giving the latest details about revenues upto February, he pointed out that the CBR had recovered Rs76.2 billion in direct taxes against the target of Rs78.8 billion.

Similarly, Rs96.7 billion were collected in sales tax against the target of Rs106 billion. In central excise, the CBR collected Rs31.6 billion against the target of Rs30.1 billion, and Rs39.2 billion were recovered in customs against the target of Rs39.8 billion. "As I have told you that we are still working on the basis of our Rs430 billion target which shows that we have achieved 56.7 per cent target during the first eight months of 2000-01", he said.

FCY export finance

The State Bank would offer foreign currency export finance (FCEF) facility to participating banks through a special dollar window at the markup rates to be notified from time to time. But since the facility would be self-liquidating the markup would not apply on the borrowers. They would simply use the facility both on pre and post-shipment basis to finance inputs for exports.

SBP has told banks that it would notify the mark-up rates from time to time based on the cost of funds to the government. The FCEF facility has been created out of an Asian Development Bank loan. The State Bank has so far not announced the exact markup. Foreign currency export finance facility would be available to eligible exporters from April 2.

SBP has told banks that it would provide the facility through participating banks who will not be restricted by the size of their balance sheets to have access to financing from this window.

No change in export target: MoC

Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday ruled out any change in the export target of $10 billion for the current fiscal year.

Responding to a query, the spokesman for the ministry said although the exports were short by 7.5 per cent of the target in the first eight months, the government was making every effort to achieve the target by next June.

One of the drawbacks facing the exports industry of Pakistan was the very small share claimed by it in the world market. Although we have missions in more than 75 countries, only 10 countries account for absorption of as much as 60 per cent of our goods. They are led by the United States, which imported a quarter of our goods.

Nevertheless, concerted efforts were being made to diversify our exports to other countries, the spokesman pointed out. In this connection, the government was exploring the possibility of reaching the markets of Africa, particularly, Senegal and Tunisia.

Govt, exporters agree on rice inspection deal

The government and rice exporters have in principal agreed to induct four to five private sector agencies for the conduction of statutory rice inspection.

This has been decided, among Chairman Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Tariq Ikram, members of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) and small and medium size exporters, in a meeting of the re-organization of Quality Review Committee (QRC) at the EPB.

Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) will submit a proposal for necessary pre-qualification of the private sector inspection companies in next seven days, Chairman REAP, Shahzad Ali Malik told on Monday after the meeting.

Textile machinery import

The leader of the trade delegation from Delhi, will seek permission from the federal commerce minister, Razzak Dawood for the import of Indian textile machinery to Pakistan. The 10-member delegation which is presently here on a week-long visit will meet the minister, shortly.

Addressing the members of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) on Monday at the APTMA House, the leader of the Indian delegation G.T. Dembla said, "we will request the minister to at least open the border for import of textile machinery which is beneficial for both the countries."

The Indian textile machinery manufacturers, he said, have all the ranges of machinery to offer to Pakistani industry, which at the moment is undergoing Balancing, Modernization and Replacement (BMR) process.

Senegal to enhance ties

President of Senegal, Mr Abdoulaye Wade, has said his country was very much interested to enhance economic and defence ties with Pakistan.

"We have identified four areas of co-operation and initially we plan to import sugar and cement plants, and 20 railway wagons from Pakistan," he said on Saturday.

In an interview, Mr Wade said he has held very useful talks with President Rafiq Tarar and Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf to strengthen political, economic and defence ties between the two countries.