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Feb 12 - 18, 2001

CE says Economy revival top priority

Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf said on Thursday that economy revival of Pakistan, which had been turned into a "graveyard of sick industrial units", was his government's top priority.

About 190 industrial units were either closed or placed in the category of sick units, said the CE in his speech at a function in the Dandot cement factory.

He said the recently-established Corporate and Industrial Rehabilitation Corporation had rescheduled loans and liabilities of 84 industrial units. Dandot cement factory near Khewra, over 200km from Islamabad, is the first of 190 dead or sick industrial units that has been revived. It resumed production last year after a closure of 30 months.

Gen Musharraf called upon the owners of the industrial units to share their profits with the employees. Workers should also put in their best efforts for the success of their establishments, he said.

He announced the setting up a girls schools, vocational institute, construction of 400 housing units for workers as well as two T.B sanatoriums. Pakistan, he remarked, was bestowed with immense resources, and with little hard work it could move towards development.

"We have fertile land, natural resources, ample waters, sea, manpower and brain," he said, adding that all what the country needed was that politicians, Ulema, trade and industry leaders should work in harmony.

The CE invited overseas Pakistanis to invest in the country so that its economy could be revived and it could be put back on the road towards development.

Gen Musharraf stated that his government was working to transfer power to people through its devolution plan. However, he pointed out, the success of the plan could only be ensured through the participation of people.

Belarus company to set up tractor plant

A Belarussian tractor manufacturer will set up an assembling plant here in the Punjab capital which is likely to start its operations this year.

An official of the company stated this on Thursday during the visit of Belarussian deputy foreign minister Vasily Pugatchev to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The Belarussian tractor manufacturer has decided to set up its plant because of higher duties on the import of completely built- up (CBU) units. The company would import CKD kits for their local assembly. The company produces some 50 models of tractors ranging between 8HP and 150HP.

Pugatchev was in here on the last leg of his visit to Pakistan and meet the local businessmen. "Belarus and Pakistan have agreed to establish a joint ministerial commission for boosting economic and trade cooperation. The commission will also have some private sector representatives on it," the minister told the LCCI.

Irsa to increase water supply

The Punjab and Sindh provinces had utilized one per cent more and two per cent less water respectively out of the determined share for irrigation from October to January 15, 2001.

The NWFP and Balochistan provinces during this period had utilized less water and since January 16, water supply for irrigation to these provinces has been increased, a statement of Indus River System Authority (IRSA) said on Saturday. "The use of extra water and less water would be adjusted in course of time," the Authority said.

Announcing the water distribution plan for Rabi crops, statement said that from 1st October, 2000 to 31st Jan, 2001 Punjab utilized 8.876 million acre feet water (MAF) against its share of 8.773 MAF. The extra water utilized by Punjab would be adjusted in near future, statement said.

The Sindh during this period had utilized 6.914 MAF water against its share of 7.019 MAF. To adjust the two per cent less utilization of water in Sindh, the water supply from January 15 has been increased.

Plan to expand farm credit

The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA) has prepared a plan to bring certain interventions in the farm sector credit to expand its range at the grassroots level.

A corporation in the private sector is being launched with the participation of United Development Limited (UDL) to expand the scope of agriculture credit purely on commercial basis.

Under the new plan, the government will ensure improved supply of irrigation water, provide proper fertilizer intake, induce great use of capital inputs, develop barani areas, implement schemes of water harvesting, utilization of small dams, and rejuvenation of farmers mini dams scheme.

Board to submit guidelines

The National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) has prepared some future guidelines for the federal government to make a new deep sea fishing policy, supporting continuation of foreign fishing operations till the upgradation of local fishing fleet and enhancement of penalties for violating Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the country by foreign trawlers.

SMEs role being expanded

SMEDA will set up a Financial Management Support System for SMEs to "help and guide as how and from where to get credit for their businesses".

Speaking at a seminar its chief executive officer, Iqbal Mustafa said banks were already asking "SMEDA to refer the SMEs because they had ample credit to advance to them", adding "the SMEs will also be "helped in improving the quality of marketing and finding foreign markets for them".

Pakistan not getting enough DAP

Pakistan is facing problems in getting required quantity of DAP fertilizer from Tunisian manufacturers, as they had diverted their production to the European countries. Pakistan is importing approximately one million ton of DAP annually from Tunisia to meet its growing local agricultural demands.