May 21 -
Jun 03, 2001
Expat's FCAS to be protected: Aziz
Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Thursday that the
government would introduce a law in the coming budget with a view to protecting
the Foreign Currency Accounts (FCAs) of the overseas Pakistanis.
"Our incentive package is ready which will be announced
at the time of my budget speech on June 16 for overseas Pakistanis to invest in
the country," the minister told a roundtable conference organized by the
representatives of the overseas Pakistanis.
Assuring full protection to foreign investment, he said there
was no question of freezing foreign currency deposits in future. "And that
is why we are bringing a law that would provide all necessary protection against
any freezing of accounts."
Mr Aziz stated that a decision had been taken to expedite
remittances by the overseas Pakistanis through banking channels. He observed
that situation had considerably improved as overseas Pakistanis were now sending
their remittances through banks. However, he said, the government would announce
incentives in the budget to discourage hundi.
Announcing that special packages would be offered to overseas
Pakistanis to invest in various fields, the minister said that the Board of
Investment had finalized various new sectors which would attract foreign
He said the business of the moneychangers was being
regularized by converting them into 'exchange committees'. In his speech,
Privatization Minister Altaf Saleem said the interested overseas Pakistanis
would be given special offer for buying state units on kerb rate instead of the
He said the purpose was to attract foreign investment,
particularly the one by the overseas Pakistanis. He said there existed a great
potential for the expatriates to take part in the privatization process. He
advised the overseas Pakistanis to contact the Privatization Commission in this
Pakistan and China establish research fund
A joint revolving fund has been established by Pakistan and
China to ensure implementation of mutually agreed projects in different fields
of science and technology.
According to a press release issued on Tuesday, the
establishment of the "Pak-China Joint Research Fund" would allow the
financing of joint research and development projects in fields of mutual
This would also enable Pakistan to gain knowhow and expertise
from China in various fields of science and technology, such as biotechnology,
microelectronics, space sciences, material sciences, lasers, engineering
sciences, industrial engineering etc.
The fund would also help Pakistan to acquire the services of
experts to train young scientists in selected fields through attachments in
Chinese institutions and universities.
Drug prices to rise in June
The federal government has, in principle, allowed
pharmaceutical companies to increase prices of both controlled and decontrolled
drugs. According to sources, the prices are likely to be increased next month.
The sources said that the government had accepted the pharma
industry's demand and recommendations of two high-powered committees formed in
the 90s that there should be an indexation for drug prices, based on devaluation
of the rupee during the intervening period, to allow pharmaceutical firms to
re-fix drug prices .
The sources said that the federal health ministry, in
collaboration with pharma industry, was at present devising a formula for
allowing an increase in drug prices on year-to-year basis and for finalising the
quantum of increase to be made effective next month.
WAPDA, PC at odds
Wapda and Privatization Commission have developed serious
differences over the sale of thermal power stations in public sector, specially
the 150MW Lakhra Power Plant (LPP) in Sindh.
While the Wapda chairman is all for privatizing weaker and
loss-making stations first to put a break on economic bleeding instead of
selling profitable units, the PC believed that putting such unit for sale would
have a negative impact on the overall privatization programme and has thus
expressed its inability to include it in the list of saleable units.
Foreign investment banks role restricted
The government has decided to restrict international
investment banks from winning multiple contracts of financial or technical
advisory service in the privatization of state-owned entrepreneurs (SOEs).
Official sources told that a decision to this effect was taken by the
Privatization Commission Board (PCB) recently to avoid monopolistic role of
foreign banks in privatization transactions.
New Power Policy
New policy for power projects, aimed at introducing
incentives to attract investment in this sector, will be announced by the first
week of next month.
According to sources in the ministry of water and power, the
final draft of the policy has already been sent to federal cabinet for approval
after the vetting by the ministry of law and justice.
Union Bank Limited and the Union Leasing Limited have decided
not to change the name of companies to UBank Limited and ULease Limited.
Separate shareholders' meetings have been called on June 11, to approve the
directors' decision to stick to the old names.
Both the companies (Union Bank and Union Leasing) said that
the SECP had given its approval to their earlier request of change of name to
"UBank Limited" and "ULease Limited".
KESC, PIA sell-off next year
Federal minister for privatization Altaf Saleem said on
Sunday the process to privatize PIA and KESC had been initiated and it may be
completed by next year. Speaking at a pre-budget seminar, the minister said the
government was pursuing a programme to gradually privatize the industrial units
to enhance the role of the private sector for consolidation of the economy.