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July 30 - August 05 , 2001

Pakistan to get $700m this year

The World Bank will offer $700 million to Pakistan for various projects, including $300 million banking sector loan and $130 million for mitigating the effects of drought. "We will be taking a number of projects worth $500 million to our board within this financial year for final approval," said John Wall, the country director of World Bank for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The remaining funding, he pointed out, had been committed for some other projects and it was likely to be disbursed before the end of this calendar year. The bulk of $130 million for drought would be made available to Pakistan within a few weeks, he said.

Mr Wall told a news conference on Wednesday that at the request of the government of Pakistan the World Bank had reallocated $130 million for drought assistance from the restructured Second Social Action Programme Projects and the National Drainage Project.

He said the country strategy for Pakistan included the approval of a number of large lending operations between April and June: a $3 million trade and transport project, a $21 million on-farm management projects in the NWFP and $350 million Structural Adjustment Credit (SAC). For this period, the WB had also announced the implementation of $10 million global environment facility-funded protected areas management project.

He did not rule out the possibility of another relatively smaller SAC for Pakistan within this year.

"This boost in lending reflects our confidence in the reform agenda developed by the new government," Mr Wall said. He said the Bank's planned assistance till the end of 2001 for proposed projects included a $300 million banking restructuring and privatization project, a $30 million community infrastructure project and a $10 million HIV/AIDS project. These projects were now to be approved by the Bank's board of directors.

WB likely to offer $300m loan

The World Bank is likely to offer $300 million banking sector loan this year to help undertake large-scale restructuring of the Nationalised Commercial Banks (NCBs) and the Development Financial Institutions (DFIs).

Official sources said on Tuesday that a three-member delegation headed by Secretary General Finance Mr Moeen Afzal was currently visiting Washington and had held detailed talks with the World Bank authorities to secure $300 million banking sector loan.

The delegation which also included Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan Mr A.R. Chugtai and Additional Secretary Ministry of Finance Dr Waqar Hasan Khan provided all the details to the WB officials about the "rightsizing and downsizing" of the NCBs and the DFIs.

Forex reserves rise to $3.23bn

The State Bank of Pakistan announced on Thursday of having total liquid foreign exchange reserves of 3.23 billion dollars.

These reserves include 1.69 billion dollars being held by the State Bank of Pakistan and 1.53 billion dollars by all other banks.

Pakistan's trade imbalance in the outgoing fiscal that ended June 30 last, amounted a little over 1.5 billion dollars as official figures put exports at 9.14 billion dollars and import at 10.66 billion dollars.

Rupee gains 25 paisa in kerb

The rupee on Thursday maintained its firming up tendency against the dollar for the second day in a row as it gained another 25 paisa on the open market, reflecting the demand is being adequately met.

The dollar was quoted Rs.67 and 67.10 for buying and selling as compared to Rs.67.25 and 67.35 a day earlier, the next gain over the last two days being 40 paisa.

MFMY declares cash dividend

MFMY Industries Limited the stock market listed spinning mill at Karachi announced on Wednesday that the board had decided to disburse an interim cash dividend to "the small investors from the general public" at 10 per cent.

SBP mops up Rs11.3bn

State Bank of Pakistan on Wednesday realized Rs11,315.5860 million with a face value of Rs12,055 million from sale of Government of Pakistan Market Treasury Bills three-, six- and 12-months maturity against pre-auction target of Rs3,000 million.

According to SBP, the bids received were: three months bills with discounted value of Rs4,487.7168m and face value of Rs4,606m, for six months, discounted value of Rs13,792.1750m and face value of Rs14,600m, and for 12 months maturity, bid offered was of discounted value of Rs6,871.2060m and face value of 7,705 million.

ABAMCO posts Rs87m profit

ABAMCO Limited, the asset management company, managing the Unit Trust of Pakistan (UTP) an open-ended mutual fund in the private sector posted a net profit of Rs87 million for the year ended June 30, 2001. The earnings were down 20 per cent over the Rs109 million the year ago.

The board, announced the results last Saturday, also approved cash dividend at 12 per cent i.e Rs600 per unit. This would absorb Rs86.4 million, which was equal to 99 per cent of the year's net profit.

$70 million ADB loan expected

The Asian Development Bank is expected to include three fresh projects of $70 million in its 2001-lending programme to Pakistan, provided provincial governments removed policy objections quickly.

These include $43m Punjab non-formal education for rural women project, $21m NWFP urban development project and $5.75m engineering loan for Quetta Water Supply & Sanitation. The ADB and Economic Affairs Division are expected to formally start loan negotiations very shortly, EAD sources told.

Clariant Pakistan

The board of directors of Clariant Pakistan Limited, which met on Monday, declared the financial figures for the first half of the current year to end-June 2001.

The company reported 73.6 per cent growth in pre-tax profit to Rs140.6 million for the six months, from Rs81 million in the corresponding period of the previous year. After-tax profit was up 77 per cent to Rs75.7 million, from Rs42.7 million.