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COVER STORY
THE STATE OF ECONOMY 

The central bank has released second quarterly report for the current fiscal year at a time when almost nine months have completed. Despite the aftermath of September 11 incident and subsequent events, performance of the economy has been above satisfactory level. The most important being, a surplus current account, increase in forex inflow and reserves and decrease in trade deficit. Both, agriculture and large scale manufacturing sectors registered growth rates higher than those attained during corresponding period of last year. The key issues being faced are reduced water availability and potential decline in exports. The other areas which need focused attention are continuation of reforms, foreign direct investment and law and order situation.


HIKE IN DRUG PRICES
The imposition of 15 per cent sales tax on all varieties of drugs imported, locally manufactured, non-essential, life-savings and low-cost homeopathic and imported active raw ingredients through an Ordinance on March 21 with immediate effect further undermines an already uncaring public health system. PAGE highlights the harmful impact with particular reference to already high drug prices.


CARPET
Pakistan's hand-knotted carpet industry has started assuming a prominent role in the world market. Produced with 100 per cent locally make material, the carpet industry made a valuable contribution of around $300 million in the overall exports of the country last year. For the first time the hand-knotted industry fetched such a respectable export figure in the fiscal year 2001.


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