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June 04 - 10, 2001

Oil, gas attracts $911 million investment: Usman

Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Usman Aminuddin has said that Pakistan has attracted $911 million foreign investment in the oil and gas sector in the last 18 months while more investment is in the pipeline.

Speaking after performing the ground breaking ceremony of White Oil Pipeline Project of Pak Arab Pipeline Company (PAPCO) at the Port Qasim, he said the main thrust of the government was to promote foreign investment to develop the oil and gas sector. He said the government also wants to improve the existing infrastructure for movement of petroleum products. Usman said his ministry is concerned at the inadequacy of the existing transportation infrastructure against the backdrop of the growing oil demands of the upcountry areas.

On white oil pipeline project, he said that China has accepted National Bank's guarantees in place of government of Pakistan required for the foreign currency credit of $120 million, which is being extended to the contractors of CPECC by China Exim Bank. He said with the completion of this pipeline, targeted for December 2, 2002, up to 12 million tons per year of additional petroleum supplies would become available to the upcountry areas which account for approximately 70 per cent of the country's total oil consumption.

He said the new pipeline would not only improve oil transportation logistics but will also bring about savings in transportation cost. The 817 km and 26 diameter underground pipeline commences from the FOTCO Oil Jetty, terminating at Mahmoodkot, District Muzaffargarh.

The cost of the project is $480 million. The field has already started pumping 60 million cubic feet of gas a day in the Sui Southern Gas Company's system. He avoided a direct reply when the waiting newsmen asked him whether the oil prices are being increased next month, but said that oil prices have gone up in international market.

WB to give $350mn credit

The World Bank will disburse a $350 million Structural Adjustment Credit on June 13, a senior Finance Ministry official said on Tuesday. The additional secretary and spokesman for the ministry, Dr Waqar Masood Khan, said the World Bank's executive board was meeting on June 12 to formally approve the credit. "This will be an upfront single tranche to be disbursed the very next day," he added.

SAC, said Dr Masood, was a highly concessional assistance for Pakistan to help improve its balance-of-payments position.

The credit, he claimed, would be offered as the government was ensuring good governance and an equitable use of public resources. The credit would support reforms in various sectors.

ADB concerned at delay in KESC project

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has expressed serious concern over a 30-month delay over a $80 million power project of Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) even as Karachiite's continue to face repeated power breakdowns.

Official sources told that an ADB mission which visited Pakistan early this month had already declared KESC 6th Power (Sector) Project as "problematic" after assessing its progress as "unsatisfactory and partially satisfactory". In view of ADB's adverse comments, the federal government has sought a detailed report on the subject.

The $40 million loan agreement on 220KV transmission line ring around Karachi city was signed in 1994. The implementation on the project has been termed as 'unsatisfactory' in view of the fact that it was 30 months behind schedule.

Rupee pales again

After remaining firm on Wednesday the rupee lost 20 paisa to a US dollar in inter-bank market on Thursday. Bankers said the rupee finished around 63.30/63.35 for ready buying and selling per dollar against the previous close of 63.10/63.15. In the open market, the rupee closed at 65.70/65.80 for spot buying and selling per dollar down 20 paisa overnight.

Reserves inch up

Pakistan's liquid foreign exchange reserves rose by $22 million to $2.320 billion on May 26 from $2.298 billion on May 19. According to a State Bank statement issued on Thursday, total reserves included $1.256 billion held by the central bank and about $1.064 billion held by all other banks.

Prime Bank

The Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA) has assigned long-term rating of 'A' (single A) and short-term of 'A1' (A One) to Prime Commercial Bank Ltd.

MCB profit

Muslim Commercial Bank has announced 7.5 per cent cash dividend for its shareholders for the year ending on December 2000. MCB earned an operating profit of Rs 2.48 billion in 2000 compared to Rs 1.5 billion in 1999.

SBP sells Rs 22bn T-bills

The State Bank on Wednesday sold Rs 4.5 billion three-month T-bills at 11.23 per cent and Rs 10.13 billion six-month T-bills at 11.60 per cent. The central bank also sold Rs 7.40 billion one-year T-bills at 12 per cent. Thus SBP sold Rs 22 billion treasury bills to effectively suck in Rs 20.6 billion from a highly liquid money market.

NIC earns

The National Insurance Corporation (NIC) has showed a profit of Rs2.004 billion in the year 2000 and has declared dividend of Rs400 million.

Car sales up

Except for tractors, buses and trucks, which have shown slump in sales, all other segments of auto sector displayed a remarkable recovery. Sale of cars have surged by 30 per cent, light commercial vehicles (LCVs) by 40 per cent and two-wheelers by 33 per cent in July-April 2000-2001.

Bank of Punjab earns

Bank of Punjab (BoP) has earned a pre-tax profit of Rs319.639 million during the FY2000 showing an increase of 156 per cent over the previous year.

ICI to issue TFC bonds

The ICI Pakistan on Tuesday said it would offer Rs2.5 billion of term finance certificate (TFC) bonds for subscription in June. In a statement, the company said up to Rs2 billion would be offered to institutions before the initial public offering (IPO) while Rs500 million would be offered to the general public.