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Jan 15 - 21, 2001

Corporate farm sector

An inter-provincial committee on Monday approved recommendation to allow foreign investment in corporate farm sector for purchasing and owning land and for exemption on land holding.

Any company registered under the local laws will now have the right to hold property or land in Pakistan, the meeting, presided over by the Federal Agriculture Minister Khair Muhammad Junejo, decided.

It was attended by the Secretary General Finance Moin Afzal, Secretary Agriculture Dr Zafar Altaf, Chairman CBR Riaz Hussain Naqvi, provincial agriculture secretaries, officials of the provincial boards of revenues, commerce ministry and Board of Investment (BoI).

Two committees were also constituted to formulate new labour laws for agriculture sector and new system of taxation for the corporate sector. It discussed a number of issues concerning corporate agriculture farming and incentives to attract foreign investment in this sector.

The meeting was told that the objective of introducing corporate farming was to boost productivity and induct new technologies from the developed parts of the world to Pakistan.

Giving details, officials said, the new policy will allow local or foreign private and public sector companies to lease or own land for corporate farming.

It was also agreed that any company incorporated under Pakistan law is a Pakistani company and will have the right to hold property or land in Pakistan.

The official said a committee was also set up under the chairmanship of Secretary General Finance Moin Afzal to look into the issues of taxes on the corporate agriculture as agricultural crops behave differently from the corporate enterprises.

WAPDA to set up 4 hydel projects in NWFP

WAPDA will set up four new hydel projects with a cost of 1.5 billion dollars having capacity of 1,000 MW in NWFP.

According to Ministry sources, Ministry of Water and Power has completed feasibility report of these projects. WAPDA has agreed to set up four new hydel projects in various parts of NWFP with a total cost of 1.5 billion dollars.

The proposed hydel projects will be Allai Khwar, Khan Khwar, Daral Khwar and Battal Khwar.

WAPDA will start construction work by the end of this year and complete all the four projects by 2006.

Ministry of Water and Power has also started study work to identify sites for the construction of small dams all over the country aimed at meeting the water requirements.

Committee set up for securing funds

The government has set up a monitoring committee to study and assess poverty alleviation programme with a view to secure substantial funds from the international donor agencies.

Official sources said Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Shahid Chaudhry chaired a high-level meeting on Tuesday in which it was decided that Director General of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) Dr A R Kamal would be the head of the monitoring committee.

The committee would be an autonomous body, which had no official role and it would time to time give its assessment of the poverty alleviation programme. Representatives of the major donor agencies including World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also attended the meeting.

Report on urea hike sought

The government has sought a report from the industries ministry on the recent increase of Rs100 per bag in the prices of locally produced urea.

Official sources told on Tuesday that the federal government has also asked the ministry to explain the factors behind glaring parity in the prices of fertilizers being sold in the four provinces.

It said, ironically, despite being produced in the country, different kinds of fertilizers are being sold at different rates in various parts of the country and pointed out that this unwanted trend will badly affect the agriculture production this year.

Cotton estimates put at 9.9m bales

National Security Council member and chief executive's advisor on agriculture Shafi Niaz has said that the ex-farm cotton production this season is expected to be 10.4 million bales, which would finally yield 9.9 million ginned bales, after complete processing and excluding wastage.

The advisor said keeping in view the latest arrival figures, released by Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), it could safely be estimated that the cotton would exceed official target of 9.7m bales.

Diesel price rise to hit crops

The Agricultural Price Commission (APCom) has disclosed that three major crops rice, wheat and sugarcane will suffer the effects of recent increase in diesel prices as the rate of only the tractor cultivation operation have increased by Rs20 per acre.

Official sources told on Saturday that in its preliminary report on the impact of diesel price increase, the APCom has pointed out that because of the increase from Rs15.25 per litre to Rs18.25 in diesel prices, tractor cultivation charges have immediately jumped to Rs150 from Rs130 per acre.

Mineral resources to be explored

Pakistan has enormous potential of untapped mineral resources and their meagre share of 0.5 per cent in GDP does not fully reflects the actual potential.

According to official sources, the country has economically exploitable reserves of baryte, dolomite, gypsum, rock salt, magnesite, soap stone, silica sand, limestone, marble, onyx marble, granite and precious-semi precious stones.

Textile industry invests $400m

Textile industry has so far invested $400 million (about Rs2.4 billion) more out of compulsion than desire , for getting itself well equipped to face the challenges which would arise after the removal of quota restrictions in the year 2004.

The textile industry has taken up a massive $1 billion balancing, modernization and replacement (BMR) programme which is to be completed before the close of this fiscal. A big segment of textile industry will have an altogether new look with the installation of new machinery and equipment.