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POLICY


Mar 25 - 31, 2002

Developing countries should help themselves: Shaukat

Pakistan believes that the developing countries should not get used to living on the dole, and that aid should be directed to those countries who learn to help themselves, finance minister Shaukat Aziz said in an interview.

Aziz, who left New York for Monterrey (Mexico) on Sunday to attend the global conference on finance and development, stressed that the gap between the rich and the poor was expanding rather than reducing which had serious implications and asked the developed world to increase the quantum of aid to the developing countries.

However, he underscored: "We believe that throwing money in the bottomless pit is not good for the donors or the recipients." "Money should only be given when the countries show seriousness about reforms, show good governance and transparency and there is no element of corruption in how the money is spent," Aziz said.

Aziz, who will represent Pakistan at the Monterrey summit which will be attended by 60 heads of state and 300 ministers, said while the quantum of aid should be increased the terms should be made softer.

"Pakistan's view is that poverty should be looked at holistically. Poverty is not just income poverty; lack of health facility is poverty, lack of education and social services is poverty, lack of access to justice is poverty, and lack of the ability of the people to reflect their views and have their input into how the government functions is poverty," he said.

Speaking about the Official Development Assistance (ODA) which will be the main focus of attention at the conference, Aziz said, "if you look at the trends at ODA they are coming down. There was a consensus between various countries that 0.7 per cent of GDP of the developed world will be given as aid but so far only five Scandinavian countries are meeting that target.

Special cells soon to curb terrorism

The cabinet on Wednesday approved the draft police ordinance 2002, and decided to offer it for a month-long public debate before its promulgation to replace the Police Act, 1861.

"The public debate and vetting of the proposed document by the law ministry will be held simultaneously so that the law can be promulgated after a month," Information and Media Development Minister Nisar Memon told a press conference.

The meeting, which was also attended by provincial governors, laid stress on effective coordination among the security agencies of all the provinces as well as the federal government as an immediate step to combat a fresh wave of terrorism.

35 Sindh assets sale to fetch Rs1bn (Box)

The sale of 35 prime assets in Sindh, under the privatization programme, is likely to fetch around Rs1 billion in the first phase. This was stated by the Secretary, Sindh Privatization Commission (SPC), Lal Din Kashmiri in a brief after a presentation given by the SPC chairman, Syed Nasir Ali Shah Bukhari to the members of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Wednesday. He said the SPC has invited sealed bids offers and the last date for submission of bids is March 30, 2002.

WB asks govt to annul Mari Gas price accord

The World Bank has asked Pakistan to dismantle gas price agreement (GPA) of Mari Gas Company Limited (MGCL), a move that would increase fertilizer and electricity rates manifold.

A senior government official told that this was being contemplated as a second phase of gas price rationalization programme. Part one of the programme agreed to with the WB under $350 million structural adjustment credit (SAC) has recently been implemented by dismantling GPA of Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL).

The Mari Gas for fertilizer feed stock is capped at Rs9.75 per million cubic feet (MCFT) against Rs34 per mcft from Sui Northern and Sui Southern gas companies. The gas price for power production from MGCL is also lower than gas coming from other sources. Against Rs125.05 per mcft from Mari, gas price for power production from Sui System before dismantling of PPL's GPA was Rs158 per mcft.

S.S. Jafri passes away

Syed Saeed Jafri died of heart failure on Monday. He was 87. He leaves a widow, Begum Tayyaba Jafri, and daughter Naheed Jafri Azfar, who is married to Barrister Kamal Azfar, and grandchildren Umer Azfar, Saira Azfar and Farid Azfar.

Engg sector saving $3.2 billion forex

The Engineering sector is currently saving $3.2 billion foreign exchange, which would be increased manifold with the better "Engineering Vision".

Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood stated this while presiding over a meeting of engineering sector manufacturers and exporters on Monday.

He said that total engineering goods export were $270 million in which the lion's share was of surgical instrument. This sector was providing employment to 350,000 people and was contributing 27 per cent to gross domestic product (GDP) with 3 per cent share in country exports, he added.

Shell awards HSD tender

Shell Pakistan Limited (SPL) has awarded the high speed diesel (HSD) tender to three international companies for the supply of 385,000 tons in April-June.

SPL had invited a bid on February 23 for the supply of 110,000 tons of HSD in April followed by two shipments of 55,000 tons and 55,000 tons optional cargo and 110,000 tons for the supply in June.

China keen on joint ventures

China can enter into joint projects for silk processing and manufacturing in Pakistan for catering to the potential demand of silk products in the South Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

This was suggested by Leader of the visiting Chinese Silk Delegation and Vice President of China National Textile Industries Council, Xu Kunyuan in a meeting with the members of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Friday.

Romania wants cooperation in trade

Romanian Ambassador to Pakistan Dr. Emil Ghitulescu underlined on Saturday the need for cooperation between his country and Pakistan in the field of trade and commerce, and for restructuring Afghanistan.