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POLICY


Mar 11 - 17, 2002

SBP chief for more exports to eurozone

The State Bank Governor Dr Ishrat Husain warned exporters on Thursday that too much focus on the US market even after the launch of the euro might lower export growth in future.

"There is an inherent bias (in US favour)...our exporters want to focus on the US market," he told a seminar on Thursday. Export Promotion Bureau and Institute of Bankers Pakistan had jointly arranged the seminar titled: "Single European currency and its impact on Pakistan."

"You have to have a basket (of trade zones) that includes the eurozone...the USA and Japan and also the developing markets," he advised the exporters. He said Pakistan's exports to the eurozone currently stands at 22 per cent down from 25 per cent in early 90s adding that the US is the biggest export market for Pakistani goods at the moment.

"If we are not able to increase our share in the eurozone and the euro economy performs better than that of the US in coming years than our exports (as a whole) would go down," the governor said. He said he could not predict whether the US economy would outperform the euro economy or the euro economy would do better than the US in future but showed the exporters how world trade pattern would change if the eurozone economic fundamentals might improve. "My advice to the exporters is that we should not be caught by surprise," said Dr. Husain meaning that they must keep on trying to increase exports to the eurozone "even if there are some initial losses."

Husain asked exporters to learn lesson from Korea and Japan the two nations whose exporters marketed their products in the world markets in 1960s and 70s at prices cheaper than at home "to penetrate into the world markets."

He said he was fully aware that penetrating into the EU market is difficult for exporters at a time when euro has been on the fall yet he urged them to increase their exports to eurozone as part of export diversification strategy.

Gas sale pact signed with BHP

Pakistan on Wednesday signed a gas pricing agreement with an Australian petroleum company for supply of up to 320 mmcfd of gas for 20 years.

Subsequently two separate gas sales and purchase agreements were signed by Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) with BHP-Billiton Petroleum of Australia.

The agreement cover the supply of up to 320 mmcfd of gas over the expected field life of 20 years, starting in 2003. The core areas of the Zamzama field to be developed has estimated proven and probable gross reserves of 1.7 trillion cubic feet (tcf).

The capital expenditure for commercialization of gas resources would cost $100 million. BHP's share would be around $40 million. The joint venture partners Lasmo and Premier would sign the gas pricing, gas sales and gas purchase agreement later.

Success of Saarc hinges on peace

President Gen Pervez Musharraf said on Thursday that without achieving peace and harmony in the region no objective of Saarc could be achieved. "Have we made any progress to achieve peace and harmony in the region? The honest answer is No," he further stated.

Inaugurating the 2nd Saarc Information Ministers' Conference, the president called upon the participants to use their energies for removing various conflicts in the region with a view to having certain, meaningful co-operation among the member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation. "I am sorry to say that there is restricted scope for co-operation ... and there is a need to have the spirit of equality for the collective good of our people."

Nisar sworn in as information minister

Information Minister Nisar A. Memon said on Tuesday that Pakistan and the well being of the people would be his priorities.

"We will strive to promote the cause of truth and conviction and to effectively counter the propaganda carried out by our enemy," he said talking to journalists after being sworn in at the Aiwan-i-Sadr as the information and media development minister. The oath was administered by President Gen Pervez Musharraf.

PTCL sell-off

The Privatization Commission on Tuesday announced April 19, 2002 as the last date for the submission of Statements of Qualification (SoQs) for the privatization of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL).

LCCI seeks incentives

Pakistan's exports have stagnated at the present level due to heavy taxation with a few incentives for the exporters. This was stated by Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Tuesday while speaking to a delegation of NIPA.

WAPDA package

The WAPDA chairman, Lt-Gen Zulfikar Ali Khan on Tuesday announced special package for industrialists seeking reconnection. The package offered to restore electricity after deposit of outstanding dues in 12 equal soft instalments.

Addressing local businessmen he said that Gujranwala Electric Power Company (GEPCO) and Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) should constitute a committee to settle all disputes at local level.

MoU signed

The defence officials of Pakistan and Thailand on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding for extending logistic cooperation between the two countries, a Foreign Office official said.

IDBP to be corporatized

The government has decided to corporatize Pakistan Industrial Development Bank (IDBP) to prepare it for privatization. Badr-ud-din Khan, head of the bank, told that the Manila-based Asian Development Bank has been approached by the government for assistance to restructure the IDBP, and some positive discussions were held with the visiting ADB officials. ADB officials have indicated that they would support the bank's restructuring for privatization.