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July 02 - 08, 2001

Wheat production reaches 19m tons

The latest official estimate shows that the country's wheat production has reached 19.1 million tons half a million tons more than the figure on which GDP growth of 2.6 per cent had been projected.

The production of 19.1 million tons is very encouraging considering the drought and unprecedented 40 per cent shortage of irrigation water experienced by the country, federal minister for food and agriculture Khair Muhammad Junejo told.

The figure about the total area on which wheat was cultivated last year had not yet been firmed up.

The provisional production of 18.5 million tons had been projected on the assumption that 8.1 million hectares had come under cultivation.

Despite a very good crop and availability of ample quantity of wheat, the provincial governments and PASCO have not yet achieved the procurement targets.

He admitted that the procurement this year had remained very slow because of a number of factors including lack of storage facilities with the provincial governments.

A total of 3.5 million tons had been procured by the provincial governments and PASCO till June 21, against the target of 4.6 million tons, he said.

Punjab had procured 2.2 million tons, PASCO 790,000 tons, Sindh 433,000 tons and Balochistan 58,000 tons.

The contracts for the export of 405,000 tons of wheat were in hand and till June 21, about 233,000 tons had been lifted.

A consignment of 35,000 tons of wheat had already been shipped to Iraq out of a total of 100,000 tons to be exported to the war-torn country against oil-for-food programme. The remaining 65,000 tons of wheat would be shipped in July.

NWFP unveils Rs44bn budget for 2001-02

The NWFP government on Thursday announced over Rs44bn provincial budget for the 2001-02 fiscal year, with the largest chunk of anticipated revenue receipts 91.62 per cent of the total shown to be coming from the federal government and Wapda.

In his pre-recorded budget speech, telecast on the provincial hook-up in the evening, the NWFP finance minister, Farid Rehman, said the wide gap between receipts and expenditure demanded a fresh review to create fiscal space to overcome the financial constraints the province has been facing for the last several years.

Against the Rs44.067bn total revenue receipts for the 2001- 02 fiscal year, total revenue expenditure of the province has been projected at Rs45.04bn, causing a shortfall of Rs973m.

Rs27bn budget for Balochistan

Balochistan Finance Minister Malik Naeem Ahmad on Wednesday announced a Rs27.34 billion budget for the 2001-02 fiscal, which has an allocation of Rs3.47 billion for the proposed 22 district governments in the province.

The budget estimates total revenue expenditure during the next year at Rs18.35 billion whereas the development outlay has been put at Rs7.89 billion.

Total receipts have been estimated at Rs27.34 billion: provincial share in the federal tax pool and direct transfers from Islamabad Rs23.98 billion, provincial revenue generation Rs1.2 billion, foreign assistance Rs2.07 billion and a cash assistance of Rs11.50 million.

NWFP announces Rs4.9bn ADP

NWFP government has presented Rs4915.13 million Annual Development Programme (ADP), for the next financial year with over 92 per cent of the total funds to come from foreign loans and grants.

Apart from the Rs4915 million resource availability to support the next financial year's ADP, the province has also envisaged development works of Rs3071 million for which funds would be mobilized from sources not identified in any of the budget documents made available to newspaper offices.

Balochistan to raise Rs1.2bn from own sources

Balochistan government has projected more than Rs1.2 billion to be raised from its own sources in 2001-02. The amount includes Rs892 million taxes as against over Rs509 million in the current fiscal year.

An official document lists six categories of taxes and a category of miscellaneous taxes, which actually generated over Rs860 million income in the current fiscal year. The miscellaneous taxes showed a recovery of Rs260 million in the current fiscal year, which will go up to Rs280 million.

Coal reserves

Federal Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production, Abdul Razak Dawood has said that 7300 million tons coal reserves of Thar and Lakhra have rich potentials which could be developed into power generation, crude oil production and chemical purpose plants with the assistance of China.

The minister was talking to a seven-member Chinese coal fuel experts headed by Ye Qing, President of Shenhua Group who called on him on Saturday. Dawood said that Pakistan would benefit from the "gasification technology" adopted by China to avoid open striping and availing the optimum utilization of coal reserves.

GDP to grow 4% in 01-02: Ishrat

State Bank Governor Dr Ishrat Husain said on Saturday that Pakistan's gross domestic product is projected to grow 4 per cent in fiscal 2001-02 and consumer inflation is estimated to rise by 6 per cent.

Speaking at a post-budget seminar organized by Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP) he said this projected growth means an autonomous increase of 10 per cent or Rs40 billion in the tax revenue in the next fiscal year. He said another Rs11 billion in tax revenue would come in due to certain budgetary measures and concluded that Rs51 billion growth in tax revenue in the next fiscal year was thus very much possible. Pakistan has set tax revenue collection target of Rs457 billion in fiscal (July/June) 2001-02 against an estimated collection of Rs406 billion in the current fiscal year. Earlier speakers including economists Dr. Shahid Hasan Siddiqui and Masood Ali Naqvi, FCA, had said that the 2001-02 tax revenue target seemed to be "ambitious".