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POLICY


April 01 - 07, 2002

DELIMITATION OF NA, PAS SEATS ANNOUNCED

The Election Commission announced on Tuesday delimitation of seats for national and provincial assemblies, with all the urban centres registering significant increase in their share of representation in the lower house of the parliament.

The remaining 85 seats, 60 for women and 25 for technocrats in the National Assembly, will be filled on proportionate representation basis with one province as constituency.

Karachi, which earlier had 13 National Assembly seats, has been allocated 20 out of total 61 seats for Sindh. Hyderabad, which had earlier five NA seats, will now have six.

Lahore, once stronghold of exiled PML(N) leader Nawaz Sharif, will now have 13 NA seats, against its earlier share of nine seats. Share of Multan district has been increased from three seats to six National Assembly seats.

Rawalpindi city, which had two NA seats, will now have "almost" four NA seats as one of its constituencies will include areas like Chaklala, mostly occupied by serving and retired armed forces personnel. Islamabad which earlier had one seat, will now have two seats.

The Peshawar city will now have four NA seats against its previous share of three seats. Quetta city, which had one NA seat, has been allocated two seats. The list of preliminary delimitation of constituencies were issued at a news briefing on Tuesday.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Election Commissioner, Irshad Hasan Khan said the "delicate" task of delimitation process was undertaken by the Election Commission alone. All the four members of Election Commission and its secretary were also present on the occasion. To a question about the role of NRB in delimitation, the CEC said: "Zero."

One National Assembly seat for Punjab consists of 496,441 individuals; Sindh, 499,015; NWFP, 506,740; Balochistan, 468,992; federal capital, 402,618 and Fata, 264,694. Similarly, one provincial assembly seat for Punjab consists of 247,883; Sindh, 234,153; NWFP, 179,151, and Balochistan 234,153.

WAPDA FIRMS ALLOWED 5.5 PAISA INCREASE

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Thursday allowed 12 corporate companies of WAPDA to increase electricity rates by 5.5 paisa per unit for domestic consumers under automatic fuel adjustment mechanism.

The tariff for consumers using more than 1,000 units per month has not been increased because they are already paying higher rates. Similarly, rates for electricity consumers in Karachi would remain unchanged as a windfall of previous review along with lifeline consumers using less than 50 units per month.

The latest increase has come just three weeks after the notification of an average 9 paisa and 13 paisa per unit tariff reduction for WAPDA and KESC consumers respectively whose bill collection has yet to be made by the two utilities.

ADB TO APPROVE COUNTRY STRATEGY ON APRIL 25

A special meeting of the Board of Directors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will be held in Manila on April 25 to discuss and approve new country strategy for Pakistan to offer 2.4 billion dollars for next three years.

"We have finalized our new country strategy for 2003-2005 and we are hopeful that the ADB Board will approve it in order to provide 2.4 billion dollars to Pakistan," said a senior official in the local ADB office.

Dr Naveed Hamid told on Wednesday that an important programme mission of the ADB was in Islamabad recently which discussed the issue of increasing funding for Pakistan with all the provinces and federal authorities. Later, he said, the mission held a wrap-up meeting and finalized the new strategy for Pakistan.

He said a number of new development projects and programmes will be covered under the new three-year programme. The bank has already approved the $1 billion funding for calendar year 2002 for various development projects.

KSE SURPRISES INVESTMENT BOSSES

Over the last three months January to March 2002 the Pakistan stock market (Karachi Stock Exchange) has surprised many assets and investment managers in New York as it emerged as number one performing stock market in the world as ranked on Bloomberg analytic system.

The KSE returned 43 per cent over the last three months, followed by Jakarta at 32 per cent in dollar terms.

EOIS INVITED FOR 51-74PC INTEREST IN KESC

The Privatization Commission has invited qualified investors or consortia of strategic/financial investors to submit their expressions of interest (EoIs) for acquiring a 51 to 74 per cent interest in Karachi Electricity Supply Corporation and assuming management control.

The government had approved an action plan last week for marketing the KESC in order to complete the deal by September 2002.

The financial adviser for the KESC Pricewaterhouse Coppers had been directed to arrange the road shows both in and outside the country to have a better price for the state sector power company.

REVENUE TARGET

Tax revenues fell more than 3 per cent in the first eight months of the fiscal year, partly due to duty refunds to help exporters cope with the impact of the September 11 attacks, officials said on Wednesday.

The revenues were 57 per cent of the government's target for the whole year, which it had already reduced because of the slump in the aftermath of the attacks and the war in Afghanistan.

WB CALLS FOR REMOVAL OF SUBSIDY ON GAS

The World Bank has asked Pakistan to reduce the number of lifeline (residential) gas consumers enjoying subsidized fixed rates from 80 per cent to 20 per cent and withdraw Rs11 billion gas subsidy to fertilizer industry with effect from July 1, 2002.