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Apr 09 - 15, 2001

Oil industry wants rise in CNG prices

Oil industry has asked the government to increase the prices of compressed natural gas (CNG) with a view to arresting a growing fall in the consumption of petrol, official sources told.

The CNG industry and the directorate of gas have opposed the move by the Oil Companies' Advisory Committee (OCAC) on the grounds that gas tariff for the industrial sector, including the CNG, was uniform and could not be changed to the disadvantage of an individual sector.

On the other hand, they have proposed that the oil industry should compete the CNG sector by reducing its profit margin.

The government had increased gas prices by an average 15 per cent for all consumer groups, including the CNG, last month and it was in no mood to put an additional burden on the CNG consumers in the near future, sources in the petroleum ministry said.

OCAC, the umbrella organization of major oil marketing and refining companies, informed the petroleum ministry that cheap CNG rates had resulted in a large-scale conversion of vehicles from petrol to gas. OCAC said this had not only reduced gasoline consumption and the rate of return to oil refining and marketing companies but had also created problems due to surplus gasoline.

There is only 15 per cent GST on natural gas, including the CNG, while the government collects around 52pc taxation on petrol. In other words, the taxation share in Rs30 per litre petrol is Rs17.

The government policy to promote the CNG as a pollution-free and cheaper fuel has resulted in conversion of around 150,000 vehicles to the CNG.

Sources said that a German oil firm was ready to purchase surplus petrol from PARCO and was expected to lift a couple of lots of 10,000 tons of petrol from the Karachi port by the mid May.

Chinese minister's advice to EPZA

Visiting Vice Minister for Foreign Trade of People's Republic of China, An Min has advised Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) to launch a publicity campaign in China for attracting more Chinese companies in the zone.

He was speaking at the briefing of EPZA by its chairman Maqsood Ismail at EPB office on Wednesday.

Chinese Vice Minister extended the offer to EPZ for free of charges publicity in China about the incentives offered at the zone which he said were better than many a similar zones in China.

PIA reservation goes hi-tech

Pakistan International Airlines will go hi-tech from Friday when it switches over to the Sabre system. With the introduction of this sophisticated reservation system PIA would become at a par with other international airlines in customer service.

The Sabre system, besides achieving significant improvement in service, would also increase PIA's revenue by 3 to 7 per cent; during the early years it would be over two billion rupees.

Pakistan, ADB to sign poverty reduction accord

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will sign a partnership agreement with Pakistan on poverty reduction in October or November.

The ADB is currently engaged in completing the country's poverty profile and analysis. It is also holding a dialogue with stakeholders. The dialogue will be followed by a high-level forum on poverty reduction in Islamabad on April 23.

The forum, to be organized by the government, will bring together stakeholders from the government, civic society, the private sector and communities engaged in development work.

The discussions will focus on strategic choices for poverty reduction, assist the government in shaping its anti-poverty strategy and help foreign lending agencies identify their roles in implementation.

Explaining the bank's strategy, ADB officials said the partnership agreement would be designed in such a manner that the bank would share not only the laurels for the success of the poverty reduction plan but also the responsibility for any failures.

'Coal exploration ideal for investment'

Sindh Minister for Industries and Production Dewan Mohammad Yousuf Farooqui has asked the local and foreign investors to interact with the Sindh government to make use of provincial coal.

Addressing a seminar on "switching over of industry from furnace oil to coal," organized by Bakht Business Houses in collaboration with the Institute of Mining Engineers Pakistan (IMEP) on Monday, he said according to one estimate Sindh has a huge amount of coal reserves, sufficient for several decades.

"It is now essential that we turn these optimistic estimates about coal into reality. At this stage, transfer of overseas technology on participatory basis is the only option," he said.

15pc GST imposed on pesticides, urea

The government on Saturday announced imposition of 15 per cent General Sales Tax (GST) on pesticides and urea in order to implement one of the remaining conditions of the IMF.

"Initially, this GST has been levied on pesticides and urea, which will be effective from (April 1)," said Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz.

Speaking at a news conference here on Saturday, he said the agricultural inputs like pesticides and urea could not be left out of the GST net.

NPO being revived

National Productivity Organization (NPO), a wing of ministry of industries lying dormant for the last 40 years, is being revived to make Pakistani products competitive before implementation of World Trade Organization (WTO) regime.

NPO set up as a part of Asian Productivity Organization (APO), initiative have already been shifted from Lahore to the Federal Capital and Saquib Mohyuddin Chief of Experts Advisory Cell has been given additional charge as the head of the organization.