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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Mar 18 - 24, 2002

Inflation goes up by 2.83pc in July-Feb

The rate of inflation (Consumer Price Index) increased by 2.83 per cent during the first eight months of the current financial year as compared to corresponding period of previous year.

Using 2000-01 as the base year for the first time, the Federal Bureau of Statistics, in its monthly review for February 2002, said the CPI moved up to 103.29 at the end of the period under report. The same 8-month period had seen an increase of 4.84 per cent in 2000-01 and of 3.32 per cent in 1999-2000.

The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), which covers the impact on the lowest income people, went up by 3.49 per cent during the period July-February (2001-02). In February, the SPI rose to 105.08, with 2000-01 as the base year.

In July-February (2000-01), SPI had soared by 5.38 per cent, as compared to 1.66 per cent increase during the same period of 1999-2000.

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI), with 1990-91 still serving as the base year, increased by 2.22 per cent to 247.1 during the same period denoting an upward swing of 147.1 per cent in the preceding 10 years.

During the same period in 2000-01, WPI had increased by 6.84 per cent as against 1.34 per cent rise during the comparable period of 1999-2000.

During February 2002, CPI increased by 3.29 per cent, SPI by 5.08 and WPI by 0.12 per cent over the same month last year. During the same month of 2000-01, the three indices had registered increases of 4.84 per cent, 5.56 per cent and 7.76 per cent, respectively, as compared to increases of 3.02 per cent, 0.37 per cent and 0.04 per cent, respectively, during February, 1999-2000.

When measured against January 2002, CPI went up by 0.34 per cent, while during February 2002, it had decreased by 0.08 per cent and 0.02 per cent, as compared to the preceding month.

ADB to provide $710m for six uplift projects

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $710 million to Pakistan to undertake six development projects during 2002. "We have identified six development projects for which initially 710 million dollars will be offered to Pakistan, out of a total of one-billion-dollar funding lined up for this calendar year," said Marshuk Ali Shah, senior resident representative of the ADB in Pakistan.

He said $250 million would be extended for phase-2 of Capital Development Market Loan, $30 million for Sindh Rural Development Project, $30 million for Education Quality Improvement and Teacher Training Project in Punjab, $150 million for Punjab Rural Road Project, $150 million for Rural Financing Project and $100 million for Punjab Public Resource Management Project.

Survey for gas pipeline project

Physical survey for designing the 950-mile long gas pipeline project between Pakistan and Iran got under way last week, senior government functionaries said on Wednesday.

BHP of Australia, an Australian company, is conducting the survey of the multi-billion rupee project of laying pipeline to supply natural gas from the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas to Multan (Punjab) and presumably onward to India. Survey is expected to be completed in three months.

Managing director, Sui Norhern Gas Pipelines, A. Rashid Lone, told a press conference on Wednesday that preliminary survey of the project, costing $1 million, was started last week and Iranian government would bear its expenditures.

He said the estimated cost of Multan-Bandar Abbas gas pipeline was $2 billion to be completed by 2008. The project cost would go up to $3.5 billion if the project is extended to India from Multan, according to the SNGPL official.

Govt aims tax-GDP ratio at 14.4pc

The government has decided to raise tax to GDP ratio from the current 12.28 per cent to 14.4 per cent by 2003-04, reliable sources told.

This means that the government will have to raise additional revenue of Rs140 billion during the next two years to achieve the target. For this purpose, the government is likely to levy 15 per cent GST on cooking oil, vegetable ghee, electricity and pharmaceutical products very shortly, besides taxing the perks and privileges of the salaried class from the next financial year.

Tariff protection sought for 2 products

National Tariff Commission (NTC) will hold a public hearing at its office on March 19 on the question of whether tariff protection should be given to the local manufacturer of two pharmaceutical products, it was officially stated.

The request for such protection has been made by Pharmaen Ltd., the manufacturer of "Cephradine" and "Cephalexin, inputs used in the manufacture of antibiotics pharmaceuticals.

Economy on path of recovery: Shaukat

Federal minister for finance Shaukat Aziz has claimed that the country's economy had successfully been put on the path of recovery and it was now in a position to meet additional expenses if required for boosting her defences.

"We will make available any amount which is required by the armed forces in the event of breaking out war with the enemy", he declared.

226 industrial plots restored

A meeting of the board of directors of Sindh Small Industries Corporation (SSIC), held under the chairmanship of Industries Minister Dewan Yousuf Farooqui, decided to restore 226 industrial plots, which were previously allotted in different industrial estates and were cancelled.

The board decided to extend concession to allottees, including withdrawal of penalty against defaulters and facility for payment of dues in two instalments.