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Sep 17 - 23, 2001

'Cluster parks' being set up to boost economy

The Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production, Dr Mohammad Akram Sheikh, on Wednesday said that the Small and Medium Enterprise Authority (Smeda) has embarked upon a scheme to set up 'cluster parks' in various cities of the country.

He was addressing the members of the Faisalabad Dry Port Trust (FDPT). He said the first cluster park is being set up here and for the purpose a suitable site of Morafco Industries on Canal Bank has been selected in which small and medium size industries would be established.

He said that the small and medium industries were playing a vital role in the progress of the economy by contributing 40 to 50 per cent to the GDP and provide 69 per cent jobs to people.

He said the insufficient technical know-how had marred us to attain the globalization and proper place in the comity of nations. He said it is very encouraging that the present government had realized the magnitude of the plight and the ministry of industries was assigned the task to establish 'cluster parks' in the country.

Mian Mohammad Latif, chief executive Chenab Limited, while elaborating the salient features of the cluster parks said that credit goes to Tasnim Noorani, former secretary for Ministry of Industries for floating the idea for the establishment of such parks in the country.

He said that the management of these parks should be entrusted to private sector. He suggested that a trust like FDPT be established to run the affairs of these cluster parks.

Earlier, in his address of welcome Chaudhry Mushtaq Ali Cheema, chairman, FDPT, said that the trust handles about 24,000 export cargo containers worth Rs35bn and 2400 import cargo consignments having a value of Rs10 billion every year.

Economic base stabilized: Shaukat

Finance minister Shaukat Aziz said on Wednesday the government had succeeded in stabilizing the economic base of the country and the foreign exchange reserves had reached the highest mark ever since the inception of Pakistan.

The minister was talking to a delegation of employees from different banks and financial institutions at a meeting. He said dialogue was the best means to resolve issues of mutual concern and develop understanding between workers and employers.

The meeting was arranged in pursuance of directive of president Pervez Musharraf at Pakistan Tripartite Labour Confeence held in July this year.

NWFP refuses to allot land

NWFP government has refused to allot state land to Chinese investors for corporate farming on Islamabad's terms and conditions, according to official sources.

NWFP had been asked to identify and allot some 20,000 acres of arable state land to Chinese investors, on long-term lease basis, for establishing corporate farms in the Frontier province.

"We have conveyed to Islamabad that neither we have that much of arable state land nor can we allot the same on terms and conditions proposed by the federal authorities," provincial minister for revenue, excise and taxation Aminullah Gandapur confirmed.

The sources said the NWFP government had conveyed its reservations to the federal government's plan of allotting 20,000 acres arable land to Chinese investors, on long-term lease, for corporate farming.

China to help set up S&T parks

Pakistan and China will actively collaborate for the setting up of science and technology parks and technology incubators at various sites in the country.

This was decided at a meeting held at the ministry of science and technology between the officials of the ministry and a Chinese delegation, headed by Prof Kong Deyong, the president of the National Research for S&T Development of China.

Gas exploration to be encouraged

The governor of Sindh, Mohammedmian Soomro, has said that the development of hydrocarbon resources was the key to the economic uplift of the country.

He was speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Bhit gas field project, about 90 kilometres, on Saturday.

Mr Soomro said Sindh was proud to have played a pivotal role in the energy development over the last 20 years, as was evident from the Bhit and other gas field discoveries made by Lasmo.

He said that his government would continue to encourage oil and gas exploration and development projects in the province by facilitating the operating companies.

Faisalabad cottage industry in crisis

Due to recession and inconsistent government policies, a large number of powerlooms and other units of cottage industry have closed down in Faisalabad, said All Pakistan Cloth Exporters Association (Apcea) acting chairman Zahid Aslam.

He said small export base with $8 to $9 billion is alarming for a country with population of 140 million and unlimited natural resources. "It should serve as an eye opener for the government", he said and added that the government has failed to restore confidence and put the economy on right track through its policies.

Manufacturing sector growth

Manufacturing, second largest sector of economy contributing more than 17 per cent to GDP, is expected to grow at 7.8 per cent by the year 2011. According to official sources, small-scale manufacturing will grow at the rate of 6 per cent, while the large-scale industry will grow at the rate of 8.4 per cent by 2011.

In order to achieve the desired industrial growth an investment of Rs5.45 billion is estimated in the manufacturing sector under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) during the Perspective Plan 2001-2011.