July 30 - August 05 , 2001
Pakistan economy faces four risks
Pakistan's economy faces serious challenges chief among them
are four major risks emanating from a variety of internal and external sources,
according to World Bank's latest progress report: "Pakistan Country
Assistance Strategy" (CAS).
First, to restore business confidence and build a sound basis
for economic growth and poverty reduction, effective economic reforms are needed
across a wide range of sectors.
Since these reforms challenge existing economic interests, a
major risk is the commitment to the required pace and sequencing of
macroeconomic and structural reforms. There are differing views in Pakistan on
the need to deregulate and privatize all public enterprises, such as the
utilities, due to a slowly changing conviction that privatization is the
solution to these enterprises' problems.
The risk of some reversal — particularly of the
far-reaching governance reforms and proposed devolution plans — remains since
this government's term in office ends in eighteen months, and there is no clear
indication of who will be the standard bearer of these fundamental institutional
reforms. This risk may be mitigated by the government's intentions to
communicate more actively its reform plans and actions to date with the
population at large, in order to sustain the reforms beyond its mandate.
"There is also a risk that the devolution plan — if
hastily implemented and if captured by the powerful interest groups — might
lead to more problems," the report said.
A second risk is social discontent, arising from the
difficult economic situation, and tough adjustment measures needed to address
the balance of payments crisis. A third major risk relates to Pakistan's ability
to finance its balance of payments in the face of its very weak, vulnerable
starting point (extremely low reserves, a large debt burden, and poor export
performance), as well as uncertainties about the balance of payments financing
plan beyond 2000-01.
Saudi Arabia to fund Gomal dam, six other projects
Saudi Arabia has agreed to fund seven major development
projects in Pakistan including Gomal Zam dam, Kachhi Canal, Makran Coastal
Highway and Railways' carriage, tracking and signalling project.
Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz on Thursday held a wrap-up
meeting with the visiting delegation of Saudi Fund for Development headed by
Engr. Yousef I. Al-Bassam and jointly identified seven development projects.
Saudi Arabia had earlier agreed to extend $250 million for
various projects. Official sources told that other projects which were
identified included primary, secondary and vocational education project, a
health project and an IT project. Engr. Al-Bassam was quoted by sources as
having said that his country could consider increasing the level of assistance
Dams' level surges after rains
Water level in all the main rivers has risen sharply owing to
the unprecedented monsoon rains in the entire northern region of the country, an
The total flow in all the rivers of the country, which was
around 322,000 cusecs till Sunday evening has almost doubled in just 24 hours
and on Monday afternoon it reached the level of 544,000 cusecs.
In Tarbela, the water level surged by six feet in a day. At 6
p.m. on Sunday it was recorded at 1481.85 feet and exactly after 24 hour on
Monday, it rose to 1487.06 feet. However, the dam still has the cushion of 63
feet since the maximum height of dam is 1,550 feet.
The flow in river Indus upstream Tarbela on Sunday was
214,000 cusecs which has now reached 272,000 cusecs. The outflow is being
maintained at 100,100 cusecs. The water level in Mangla rose by one feet in the
24 hours from 6 p.m. Sunday to 6 p.m. Monday. On Sunday evening, it was 1159.60
feet and on Monday it reached 1160.80 feet.
OGDCL intensifies exploration activity
The state-owned Oil & Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL)
has further boosted its oil and gas production and intensified the exploration
activities during the quarter ending June 2001.
According to production figures available for the quarter
ending June 2001, the total contribution of natural gas by the company was
76,903 MMCP with daily average production of 845 MMCFD. According to OGDCL
statement this is one of the highest ever production of gas achieved by the
These production figures indicate an increase of 8,748 MMCF
over the gas produced during the previous quarter i.e. January to March 2001,
which was 68,155 MMCF with an average daily production of 757 MMCFD.
The government has finalized a three-year structural
adjustment and economic stabilization programme that primarily aims at reducing
overall fiscal deficit to 3 per cent of the GDP by 2004. One of the important
elements of good governance is to enforce fiscal discipline and strengthen
country's fiscal position. For such an improvement, the reduction of fiscal
deficit to 3 per cent of the GDP (Gross Domestic Products) by 2004 has been
targeted as one of the major objectives of the government.
Over 10.7 million bales output
Federal Minister for Agriculture, Food and Livestock, Khair
Mohammad Junejo said on Monday that despite water shortage the cotton crop
cultivation target has been achieved and it is hoped that over 10.7 million
cotton bales will be produced this year.
Talking to newsmen at the experimental farm of Central Cotton
Research Institute, he said that last year, 10.7 million cotton bales were
produced and this year, the figure will be surpassed because the maximum area
has been brought under cotton plantation in the country.
Pakistan will add another 300 indigenous Al-Khalid tanks to
its armoured corps by 2007, defence sources told on Sunday. According to
sources, Pakistan has achieved the capability of producing tanks of
international standard, not only to meet its domestic needs but also supply
these to friendly countries.