July 16 -
Shipping policy announced
Pakistan's Merchant Marine Policy-2001, providing a
package — full of incentives — to attract carriers flying
Pakistani flags was announced on Tuesday by Federal Communications
Minister, Lt-Gen (Retd) Javed Ashraf Kazi, at a press conference on
Highlighting the salient features of the policy,
the minister told newsmen that this policy document is viewed as a
dynamic effort which shall need continuous input from all stakeholders
to ensure effective implementation, and for making adjustments if so
The government, he said, shall constitute a
Standing Committee under the Secretary, Ministry of Communications for
The committee shall comprise members from the
relevant ministries/agencies and stakeholders from the private sector
and meet at least once every year from the date of promulgation of
Lt-Gen Javed Ashraf said that Pakistan's annual
trade is 39 million tons, while the share of the national carrier
averages 2 million tons, or a mere 5 per cent. Resultantly, the annual
freight bill is over $1.5 billion which, the minister said, is a
colossal drain on the limited/depleting foreign exchange resources of
This policy, he said, provides a predictable
environment, which through deregulation, simplified procedures,
incentives and assurances will provide an environment that is
By attracting foreigners, overseas Pakistanis and
local investors, dependence on foreign carriers will be considerably
reduced hence substantial savings of foreign exchange, he said.
Pipeline to be discussed, hopes Iran
New Delhi has agreed to pursue the proposed 2670-km
overland gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan to India, diplomatic
sources told on Tuesday.
This is precisely what the visiting high-level
Iranian delegation has conveyed to Pakistan with a request to take it
up for discussion during the forthcoming Pakistan-India summit meeting
for further progress.
"From today's meetings, I think the issue will
definitely come on the agenda, though as a secondary issue after
Kashmir", said an official source who attended a series of
meetings on this subject on Tuesday.
"The whole world has its eyes on the summit
and the overland pipeline and we want the project implemented",
Iranian deputy foreign minister and Iranian President's special envoy
Syed Mohammad Hosein Adeli was quoted as telling the petroleum
minister Usman Aminuddin in an-hour long meeting.
NDFC insolvent, says WB report
The World Bank has termed National Development
Finance Corporation (NDFC) "capturer" of the
multi-million-dollar Long Term Credit Fund (LTCF) and a future risk to
administer fund flows in view of its "insolvent state".
In a report submitted to the federal government and
NDFC, the Bank said, "NDFC's ability to continue to administer
the Fund is tied to its own future, which is in question given its
insolvent state. It is unclear that the NDFC would be in a position to
remit funds held on deposit on behalf of LTCF without liquidity
assistance from the State Bank of Pakistan."
Presenting a depressed analysis of the NDFC's role
as a fund administrator, the bank has recommended the government to
replace the NDFC as the administrator, given its inability to
effectively manage the Fund and to put in place an interim arrangement
to monitor the current portfolio of assets.
Universal Insurance Company
On Wednesday, Universal Insurance Company Limited
announced that the board had decided to increase the paid-up capital
of the company by the issue of one million right shares at par, in the
ratio of one-for-five (20 per cent).
In spite of the gloomy stock market conditions that
saw the KSE- 100 index hit a seven-month low at 1298 points on
Tuesday, many insurance companies are opting to ask shareholders for
cash in right issues. All are vying to meet the new requirement under
the Insurance Ordinance 2000, that stipulates that Insurance Companies
must raise their minimum paid-up capital to Rs50 million by December
31, 2002 and Rs80 million by the end of December 2004.
Rs1.3bn ADBP loans remain unutilized
Out of total Rs3 billion Agriculture Development
Bank of Pakistan loans extended to the NWFP farmers during the
financial year 2000-01, over Rs1.3 billion remained unutilized,
sources told on Tuesday.
According to ADBP sources, the bank had specified a
sum of Rs3 billion to extend loans to the NWFP farmers. However, the
amount could not be utilized properly due to 14 per cent interest on
ADBP loans and the provincial government's concerned agencies failure
to prepare maximum number of pass books to enable farmers to avail
loans, said sources.
Pak Panther Spinning seeks delisting
Pak Panther Spinning Mills Limited said it intends
to purchase all shares available in the market at par i.e Rs10. The
company has sought de-listing from the stock market.
Giving the reasons for opting out of the market,
the company said that due to the persistent recession, heavy burden of
financial charges and inflationary increase in overhead costs, the
company was faced with continuous losses since its listing at the
WAPDA okays Genco-1 sell-off
WAPDA authorities on Monday identified Genco-1,
consisting of Lakhra, Jamshoro and Kotri power plants, and the
Faisalabad distribution company (Fesco), for privatization.
This was disclosed by Manzoor A. Sheikh, Member
Finance WAPDA, on Monday. A letter has already been sent to the
About authorizing the Sindh government to privatize
Lakhra power plant, he said that the provincial government had
requested the centre for such permission on the ground that Lakhra
Coal Mine, provincial property, and the power plant, have to be
privatized. It may be easy if both are privatized simultaneously.