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July 16 - 22, 2001

Jute industry loses $2m orders

The jute industry has surrendered around $2 million export orders from Iran due to decrease in duty drawback rates, industry sources told.

The jute industry has been earning over $2 million foreign exchange through exports to Iran since last year. This was achieved through a strong competition due to low jute prices in Bangladesh.

Representatives of jute industry said that the government had promised the industry of its fullest support to expand its market share in Iran but instead did the other way round by decreasing the duty drawback.

They said that profit margin was very small but the industry managed to gain in Iranian market mainly because of duty drawbacks. "The decrease in the duty draw back has sent the mills in tailspin because it will not be possible to export", said a jute mill owner.

He said that jute industry recently secured orders for over $2 million but had to forego these orders due to decrease in duty drawback.

He said that not only the country will lose valuable foreign exchange but the breakthrough achieved in the Iranian market might not be regained in future and there would be no jute exports. The industry, he said, had just survived a setback due to ban on Bardana by the Punjab government and now it was again faced with a crisis.

The industry sources deplored that instead of facilitating an export-oriented industry, the government reduced the duty drawback in the trade policy 2001-02 announced by the commerce minister.

CDWP okays Rs830m projects

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) on Monday approved projects of national importance costing Rs830.52 million.

It also recommended projects costing Rs3,0471.774 million for the approval of Ecnec.

The CDWP meeting was held under the chairmanship of Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission Dr Shahid Amjad Choudhry and Secretary Planning and Development Division Dr Mutawakkil Kazi.

The meeting considered projects of various sectors such as rural development, transport and communication, mass media, environment, energy, physical planning and health, water resources and public administration.

It approved the projects for horticultural promotion (PHP) in the NWFP Phase-VI at a cost of Rs122.105 million; transport and communication supply, installation and commissioning of control tower and related facilities equipment at new terminal complex Lahore International Airport costing Rs115.693 million; development programmes of broadcasting installation of three 100 kw medium wave transmitters at Multan, Hyderabad and Quetta costing Rs200 million.

OGRA within next two weeks: Usman

Minister for petroleum and natural resources, Usman Aminuddin on Saturday said that Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) would be in place within the next two weeks to regulate the prices of gas and petroleum products.

"Legislation work in this respect has been completed and final draft is being sent to cabinet for approval", he said while addressing a press conference after attending the oil and gas conferences held in London, Calgary and Houston.

The minister said the already existing oil regulatory authority would be merged into OGRA to cover the functions of down-stream oil and gas sector. Giving details of the oil and gas conferences, Usman Aminuddin said that a number of international companies had shown their keen interest to make investments in Pakistan's oil and gas sector which promised wide scope and opportunities along with the government's investor-friendly policies for foreign investors.

Spinners, mills import 0.3m bales lint cotton

Local spinners and mills have so far imported about 0.300 million bales of lint cotton from various sources to meet any possible shortage.

A part of the imported stuff also include long staple lint widely used to produce blended cloth and cotton yarn for the export markets, industry sources said. But industry sources claim another 0.200 million bales are on the way and expected to reach here before the middle of August.

"The mid-season crop uncertainty followed by rumours of a short crop and higher local prices forced most of the spinners to opt for imports," they added.

Swan phase-2 development accord signed

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has signed an agreement with SW-Miano Joint Venture, led by the Austrian oil and gas company OMV and Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL), for developing Phase-2 of the Sawan Gas Field in Sindh.

This agreement, which governs all commercially important aspects of the Sawan Gas Field Phase-2 development, will be followed shortly by fully termed gas sales and gas pricing agreements.

The agreement, called Heads of Agreement for Sawan Gas Field Phase 2, was signed by Secretary Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources Abdullah Yousuf, Reinhart Samhaber, General Manager OMV (Pakistan), Karel Luner, Production Director Moravske Naftove Doly, S. Munsif Raza, MD/CE of Pakistan Petroleum Limited, Mahmood ul Hassan, Chairman/CEO of Government Holdings (Private) Limited and Javaid Hussain, MD of SNGPL.

Premium for cotton growers

The Federal Textile Board on Friday decided to pay a premium of Rs200 per bale for contaminated free cotton and Rs75 per bale for containing contamination content up to 2.5 grams.

The bales of both categories should have the standard of maximum eight per cent moisture and six per cent trash, the board decided during its meeting which was presided over by Federal Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood.

Matters regarding the packaging of cotton as well as setting up of committees in mills to settle the disputes among growers, ginners and mill owners were discussed in the meeting which was also attended by the federal finance minister.