26 - Dec 02, 2001
Wheat support price to stay unchanged
The federal cabinet on Wednesday okayed an increase in the
minimum pension of workers from Rs630 to Rs700 per month under the Employees
Old-Age Benefits Act, 1976.
The government had earlier increased pension from Rs425 to
Rs630 in January, 2000, prior to which this had remained unchanged for nine
years. In less than two years, a 75 per cent increase has, therefore, been
effected, an official handout issued after the cabinet meeting said.
The present increase in old-age pension will take effect from
Nov 1, 2001. The raise will be financed by the Employees Old-age Benefit
The cabinet also approved to maintain the support price for
the next wheat crop at Rs300 per 40 kg and decided that the provincial
governments and Pakistan Agricultural Supplies & Storage Corporation shall
procure four million tonnes of wheat during the next harvesting season.
The cabinet also decided to provide incentives, including
bank financing, to the private sector for construction of 'silos' to increase
wheat storage facilities. The Passco should also embark upon a massive programme
of construction of new warehouses to enhance storage facilities by at least half
a million ton.
The cabinet also directed the provincial governments and the
Passco to make elaborate arrangements for procurement of wheat well in advance
so that benefits of support price could accrue to the small farmers as well.
The cabinet approved amendments to the Unani, Ayurvedic and
Homeopathic Practitioners Act, 1965, with a view to streamlining the oriental
forms of treatment in the country.
The amendment shall also improve the educational standard of
colleges imparting education/training in Unani, Homeopathic and Ayurvedic system
of medicines. It will streamline the functioning of practitioners under these
systems of medicine.
China to provide $25m for textile industry
China has agreed to provide $25 million to Pakistan to
develop its textile industry, said Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood.
In an interview on Wednesday, he said the two sides have
taken a number of decisions to enhance their bilateral trade.
He expressed the hope that some new trade agreements among
the businessmen of the two countries would come into force during the visit of
President Pervez Musharraf to China next month.
He termed his meeting with Chinese Minister for Foreign Trade
and Economic Cooperation Shi Guang Sheng on Tuesday as very productive. During
the meeting, they observed that the two countries have been enjoying good
political relations and deep-friendship over the years, but the pace of their
economic cooperation was quite low.
Germany waiting for good projects
Shorn of optimism, Germany is waiting for Pakistan to provide
good projects that can be funded by the fresh debt swap offer of 100 million
German marks and money available in the 120 million mark pipeline, still to be
The debt swap offer of 50 million marks is for current German
financial year ending November 2001 and an equivalent amount is for the next
fiscal. And the fear is that the project profiles will not be ready by then.
"There is nothing on the table" as on November 21,
says new German ambassador Dr Christoph Brummer, who visited the Finance
Ministry two days ago. He did not get any response. He says "we are looking
for performance from Pakistan."
Cotton output estimate revised
Cotton Crop Assessment Committee has scaled down its earlier
estimate for cotton production in the country from 10.8 to 10.4 million bales
for the current season.
This decision was taken at the fourth meeting, held under the
chairmanship of the Advisor to the Chief Executive on Food, Agriculture and
Livestock M. Shafi Niaz at Karachi Cotton Association on Thursday.
Aptma offers to lift entire cotton stock
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has offered to
lift the entire stock of cotton available with the Trading Corporation of
Pakistan at a price equal or higher than that offered by the foreign buyers.
Taking strong exception to the TCP's tender for export of
10,000 bales of raw cotton, Aptma chairman Nadeem Maqbool said that this would
be contrary to the assurance given by the commerce minister in his meeting with
Aptma on Nov 3, that the TCP would not dispose of its stocks before March 2002.
Pakistan economy will grow next year
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Dr Khalid
J. Chowdhry strongly hopes that Pakistan's economy, which has been hit hard by
the September 11 events and the US-led war on Afghanistan, will start growing
from the first quarter of 2002.
He was speaking to reporters at an Iftar-dinner hosted by
LCCI vice-president Yawar Irfan Khan on Thursday.
Dr Khalid said the present crisis triggered by the terror
attacks on the American soil had proved a blessing in disguise for Pakistan.
"There was no other way, or hope, of getting different tiers of economic
sanctions on the country dismantled. Nor did we hope to get trade and tariff
concessions from our major importers (the EU and the US)," he said.
Suzuki launches SD110
Suzuki Motorcycles Pakistan Limited (SMPL) on Thursday
launched new SD110 Flash 4-stroke motorcycle.
The new bike, which covers 67 km in just one litre, has an
introductory price of Rs79,500, said chief executive SMPL, Danishmand at a press
briefing on Thursday.
He claimed that at a time when economy is facing problems,
SMPL is offering its products at reasonable rates. The new bike is designed
after careful considerations of engine performance, sleek design and maximum
fuel efficiency, he added.