27 - Sep 02 , 2001
PTCL to invest Rs16 billion
PTCL has planned to invest Rs16 billion during this
financial year in a number of IT and telecom projects to improve and
expand its services, which includes extension of Ufone service to even
Akhtar Ahmed Bajwa, chairman PTCL, said that these
initiatives will have positive and far-reaching impact on the IT
growth and boost economic activity, besides narrowing the existing
digital divide, says a press release. Bajwa said so far over 435 towns
have access to Internet, and in near future it would be expanded to
about 800 towns. PTCL has reached out to some of the most primitive
rural localities and connected them to the world through backbone
PTCL's bandwidth rates are the lowest among the
under developed nations. The PTCL chairman also said, in the realm of
education and information dissemination, PTCL is collaborating with
public sector universities providing them the most advanced service at
He said Quetta-Shikarpur optical fibre link would
usher in a new era of progress and would open up new avenues of
employment in the province of Balochistan.
It would also enhance economic activity and improve
local industry and encourage e-commerce in the province.
Talking about Telecom development achievements for
Balochistan, he said PTCL has also planned to invest another Rs950
million during the current financial year adding 20,000 telephone
lines, expanding Universal Internet Access and laying of more fibre
optic cable from Quetta to Chamman, Loralai, Mastung and Rakhni. High
capacity digital radio link will be established on the coastal areas
including Pasni and Ormara with linkage to Turbat and Khuzdar. In
2000-2001, PTCL has made an investment of Rs570 million for expansion
and improvement of telecom infrastructure in Balochistan.
Fiscal devolution systems in three years
The fiscal devolution systems would be evolved
gradually over a period of three years though the current National
Finance Commission (NFC) is expected to provide funds for local
governments under a fresh award this fiscal.
On July 28, Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, who is
also NFC chairman, is reported to have told newsmen that in the first
NFC meeting, matters relating to funding of local bodies were
Currently, the provinces have very little fiscal
space to undertake new projects. Local governments are being financed
mainly by federal and provincial grants. An initial transitional fund
of Rs3 billion has been created to meet district government expenses
during the current fiscal. The National Reconstruction Bureau had
sought a sum of Rs10 billion.
Three Rs443 million projects
President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Saturday launched
three major projects for Karachi which will be completed within two
years at a cost of over Rs443 million. The three projects — Shah
Faisal flyover, FTC flyover and KDA Naya Ghar Re-settlement Scheme —
are part of the 20 development projects which the government has
planned to launch within a week in all four provinces to create large
a number of jobs.
The President, who earlier in the day had performed
the ground-breaking ceremony of KDA's Shah Faisal flyover and KMC's
FTC flyover, launched the Naya Ghar Resettlement Scheme at Korangi,
where he addressed the newly-elected Nazims, Naib Nazims and
councillors and later had a brief chat with the women councillors.
Autonomous to manage reserves
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) would be made
autonomous for management of foreign exchange reserves.
Sources here said that the draft revisions to the
SBP Act to guarantee autonomy to the central bank in respect of
management of reserves is expected to be ready by the end of current
Over 2,000 cos get ISO certificates
More than 2,000 Pakistani manufacturing and export
companies have acquired the ISO-9000 and ISO-14000 certificates so
far. Till December 2000 the figure was 1,444 units.
Waqas Muslim of Total Quality Management Experts
Cell (TQMEC) of the FPCCI told on Tuesday that the number of companies
acquiring the certificates may exceed over 2,500 by end of this year.
Parco, SSGCL boards to have new chairmen
The government will make fresh appointments for the
chairmen of the boards of directors of Pak-Arab Refinery Limited
(PARCO) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) within a couple
Authentic sources told that Salim Abbas Jilani, a
former and longest serving defence secretary, has been proposed to
replace M. Aitzaz Shahbaz as chairman SSGCL board of directors.
Farm tax to focus on landlords
The four provincial governments would focus
primarily on the country's 30,000 biggest farmers as part of their new
strategy to boost collection from agricultural income tax, sources
The provincial agricultural income tax will become
fully operational this year. And the farmers are expected to file
their income tax returns by the end of next month. Sources said the
big names in politics who hail from rural aristocracy would be brought
into the tax net.
Under the new income tax law, all incomes above a
threshold of Rs80,000 per annum will be taxed on the basis of rate
schedules which are broadly the same across provinces with a top
marginal rate of 15 per cent for annual income of Rs300,000 or more.
Banks may shortly start reporting KIBOR
Pakistan is set to introduce KIBOR or Karachi
Inter-Bank Offered Rate within weeks. Senior bankers say homework on
KIBOR is almost complete adding that treasurers of ten leading local
and foreign banks are meeting senior State Bank officials next week to
finalize the specifics of calculating and reporting KIBOR on daily
Shares for listing
Bosicor Pakistan Limited, an upcoming refinery in
the private sector, plans to offer up to 14 per cent of its stakes to
the public in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in September this year.