Feb-25 - Mar- 10, 2002
Canada wants investment in power, telecom
Canada has shown keen interest in making new
investment in power, telecommunication and information technology
A four-member team of Southern Electric Power
Lavalin Canada met Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz on Monday and
discussed with him the possibilities of increasing Canadian investment
Officials of the Canadian company, Anthony Rustin
and Stephane Mail Hot, told the finance minister that they were
interested in taking advantage of Pakistan's investment-friendly and
level-playing policies to invest in power, telecommunications and
information technology sectors. Currently, the company is already a
joint venture partner in Southern Electric Company, an independent
power producer (IPP), located outside Lahore with a capacity of 110
Aziz told the Canadian investors that as a result
of structural, financial, economic and social reforms, Pakistan's
international credibility had improved. International financial
institutions have widely acclaimed the transparent policies of the
The gross foreign exchange reserves, the finance
minister said, had increased to over $5 billion. These reforms, he
said, would continue uninterrupted and had made Pakistan an investment
destination, offering a number of opportunities to foreign investors.
He further said that a delegation sponsored by the
Board of Investment (BoI) would be visiting Canada later in the year
to explore possibilities of joint ventures and increased cooperation
between the two countries.
Aziz welcomed the Canadian investment in Pakistan
and assured a hassle-free atmosphere. He said after liberalization of
foreign exchange regime, foreign investors could repatriate profits
and dividends without government's intervention.
The meeting was also attended by secretary economic
affairs division and other officials of the Ministry of Finance.
MoU signed for gas pipeline study
Iranian Minister for Petroleum Bijan Namdar
Zanganeh on Friday, said a decision on the issue of taking gas pipline
from Iran to India either through Pakistan or deep sea would be taken
after completion of studies on both the alternatives.
Speaking at a press conference after signing a
memorandum of understanding with his host counter part, Usman
Aminuddin, he said the studies on both these alternatives of the
"super project of gas pipeline" would be completed by the
end of 2002.
The pre-feasibility study on taking gas pipeline
through land route, an option which would result in substantial
earnings for Pakistan, would be carried out by an Australian company
Broken Hill, he said.
The other option of laying the pipeline in deep
sea, an apparently capital intensive preposition, would be studied by
an Italian company, he added.
Govt in a fix over surplus wheat
The federal government is in a fix as to how to
dispose of around two million tons of surplus wheat following poor
bidding results last week, official sources told on Friday.
"Nobody is ready to burn fingers as it is very
difficult decision," said a senior government official. The main
question is whether the government should extend subsidy on export of
wheat, he said. "The exporters would earn windfall and whosoever
takes a decision would be accused of kickbacks," said a senior
Basically, the decision should have been taken by
the ministry of food, agriculture and livestock (Minfal) to dispose of
the surplus commodity as lifting of fresh crop would be impossible
unless existing stocks are cleared, said a source.
Musharraf supports Saudi peace proposal
Pakistan on Thursday expressed its support for
Saudi Arabia's peace initiative for the resolution of Palestinian
President Gen Pervez Musharraf and Saudi Crown
Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz held detailed telephonic discussion on
the issue, according to official sources.
During the telephonic contact, President Musharraf
assured the Saudi Crown Prince of Pakistan's fullest support to Saudi
Arabia's efforts and peace initiative to resolve the Palestine issue.
PS to face great challenge
Pakistan Steel will have to re-adjust the prices of
its products to compete in the market and increase its sales, said
Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production, Razak Dawood.
"No consumer is ready to pay higher prices
specially when he could have various steel products on lesser prices
from the market," he stated. He said that PS was facing a great
challenge of increasing its sale and improve its overall performance.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to open the
branches of each other commercial banks in Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad,
Peshawar and Quetta. Hidayat Amin Arsala, Finance Minister and Vice
Chairman of the Afghan Interim government, who arrived on Monday for a
two-day visit, met Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz and discussed with
him the early possibilities of opening banks on reciprocal basis in
the two countries.
Forex rules relaxed
The State Bank has allowed the banks to hold 20 per
cent of their time and demand liabilities abroad instead of 15 per
cent, according to a circular issued on the last working day before
In other words the banks are now supposed to keep
80 per cent instead of 85 per cent of the specified assets within the
The circular (BSD No. 10) says the decision is
effective from March 2, 2002. It says that the relaxation given to the
banks will create more space for them to take advantage of the removal
of the Nostro limits. The central bank recently removed the Nostro
limits-or the limits on balances held abroad-on the demand of the IMF
to enable banks to do more business in foreign exchange.