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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Nov 19 - 25, 2001

WB sees less than 3pc GDP growth rate

World Bank has forecast less than 3 per cent GDP growth rate for Pakistan during the current financial year.

"The foremost important thing today is to implement strong reform programme which is very much homegrown and can resolve major economic issues," said the Vice President of the World Bank for South Asian Region, Ms Mieko Nishimizu.

Talking to reporters on Thursday at the residence of World Bank's Resident Representative John Wall, she said Pakistan has to show strong performance to qualify for the remaining 300 million dollar World Bank support announced for 2001-2002.

Earlier, 300 million dollar were offered under International Development Agency (IDA) concessional lending as part of the overall 600 million dollar funding programme for Pakistan during the current financial year.

She said that the World Bank has worked out three years Country Assistance Strategy for Pakistan. "And we hope to extend funding for Pakistan under Poverty Reduction Support Credit," Ms. Mieko said without giving any idea about the size of the proposed funding.

She agreed that Pakistan's economic situation has worsened following September 11 events, and said that there has been a "negative impact of substantial magnitude."

The World Bank vice president urged the government to improve governance and remove corruption in order to lessen the negative impact of September 11 events on the economy. "You ought to implement structural reforms, generate more employment and stabilize balance of payment position more quickly."

She was reminded that Pakistan was already experiencing cut in exports and other problems arising out of September 11 attack on America and under these circumstances how should it improve the economy in the absence of increased foreign funding. "The medicine is the same but you have to go for more doses."

Inflation rates up in July-Oct

The inflation rates based on SPI, CPI and WPI in July-Oct, 2001-02 increased by 2.18 per cent, 2.86 per cent, and 4.90 per cent respectively over the corresponding period of 2000-01.

According to the Statistics Division, inflation increased in 2000-01 by 4.67 per cent, 4.76 per cent and 4.55 per cent respectively over the corresponding period of 1999-2000 and in 1999-2000 the rate of inflation increased by 2.89 per cent, 3.43 per cent and 2.79 per cent, respectively over the same period of 1998-1999.

An analysis of data for last three years for the same period indicates that the SPI and CPI increase was the lowest as compared to 2000-2001 & 1999-2000 except WPI.

The inflation rates based on SPI, CPI and WPI for October 2001 increased by 2.29 per cent, 2.69 per cent, and 2.51 per cent respectively over October 2000.

Sindh preparing rolling plan for industries

The Sindh government is in the process of preparing a rolling plan 2001-2006 for industries and commerce sectors to improve the overall industrial output of the province.

The plan mostly contains schemes and projects of the Sindh Small Industries Corporation (SSIC) regarding provisions of infrastructural facilities particularly in the interior of the province for the prospective investors.

A working group has been formed for the preparation of the rolling plan. The group includes Sindh government officials, representative of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Pakistan Japan Business Forum (PJBF) and one member each from the Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

Engg action plan may be finalized by year-end

Engineering Strategy 2002 , an action plan to make the local engineering industry a viable sector, is likely to be finalized by end of this year to enable the government to accommodate its recommendations in the budget 2002- 03.

The strategy is being developed by Small and Medium Enterprizes Development Authority in collaboration with the industry.

Contamination-free cotton

The government drive to produce contamination- free cotton in the country is giving encouraging results as the two districts Rahimyar Khan in Punjab and Gotki in Sindh selected as pilot project are giving encouraging response.

This was observed by the minister for commerce Abdul Razak Dawood after his visit on Thursday to Rahimyar Khan district. Briefing a hurriedly called press conference at TCP head office in Karachi the minister appreciated growers for adopting new methods needed to ensure contamination-free production of cotton.

Razak wants millers to be active buyers

Commerce Minister Razaq Dawood on Thursday urged the textile millers to play a role of active buyer to make the supervised ginning scheme a success for the production of contamination-free cotton.

He was addressing a gathering of various stakeholders of the cotton market, organized by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCCA), to review achievements of the venture launched in Punjab from this district on August 27 last to gin quality cotton.

40,000 cotton bales change hands

Cotton market on Wednesday shrugged off the last couple of sessions hesitancy as spinners resumed their covering operations after a technical breather.

Further cut in war risk charges by the shipping lines, strong dollar, and sharp increase in New York cotton futures were claimed to be some of the bullish factors luring spinners back in the market.

Gas delivery from Sindh by month-end

The Austrian oil and gas company, OMV, will start delivering 170 MCF gas per day to the Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd from Sawan Field (Sindh) by the end of this month.

A press release issued on Sunday said the government of Pakistan signed various agreements with SW-Miano Joint Ventures led by the OMV and SSGCL for delivery of 170 MCF per day pipeline quality gas from the Sawan gas field in Sindh.