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 1. INTERNATIONAL   2. INDUSTRY
 3. FINANCE  4. POLICY
 5. TRADE  6. GULF

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INDUSTRY


April 08 - 14, 2002

ASSEMBLERS TOLD TO DOUBLE CAR PRODUCTION

The government on Tuesday issued a stern warning to the local car industry to double its production, provide discounts for delayed deliveries and reduce the prices or get ready for the consequences in the budget 2002-03.

"They have the capacity to double the production. Those who could not increase the production, would have to pack up," secretary industries and production Dr. Akram Sheikh told reporters after presiding over a meeting with car manufacturers.

In return, the manufacturers committed specific figures to doubling the production in remaining months of the current fiscal and pay mark-up or provide discount on delayed deliveries but opposed any decision for the import of reconditioned cars.

Around 5,824 units of Honda Civic and City model were produced last year while eight-month production this year stood at 5,050. They would increase sale production to 7,500-8,000 units by end of the year.

The production of Suzuki Mehran last year stood at 5,000 against eight-month production of 5,605 this year. Total production by end of the year would exceed to 10,000, said Dr. Sheikh. Suzuki would produce 1,000 units in April, 1,100 in May and 1,200 in June, he explained.

Corolla production last year stood at 8,486 against 3,262 during eight months of the current fiscal, a steep fall in production mainly because of introduction of new Corolla model. Due to the switch over, Corolla could produce only 52 cars in February and 390 in March. They have promised to produce 650 in April and 800 per month in May and June, the secretary said.

"The gist of the discussion was that the manufacturers should earn profit by satisfying the customers with production and quality and not by keeping customers' money in the banks," said Dr. Akram Sheikh.

WHITE SUGAR UNSOLD STOCKS AT RECORD HIGH

The unsold stocks of white sugar lying in the mill godowns swelled to 1.7 million tons as lifting by the bulk consumers as well official sources was claimed to be on the lower side of the monthly average.

Dealers attributed the recent increase in prices to 10 per cent hike in import duty to 30 per cent from 20 per cent, which has made imports by the commercial importers uncompetitive, but has given a free-hand to the millers to set the trend for prices to follow on the wholesale and retail markets. But there is no reflection of sympathetic price decline on the wholesale market, which were quoted higher by Rs100 per bag of 100 kg on Friday.

PHUTTI ARRIVAL INCREASES

Phutti arrival from fields into ginneries made a maiden increase of 0.31 per cent for the current season as indicated by figures up to March 31, 2002, released by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), on Thursday.

According to details phutti arrival (up to March 31) crossed 10 million mark as total arrival stood at 10.116 million bales. This remarkable turn-around is more significant from a point of view that current cotton season started with a dismal arrival which was 35 per cent lesser than last year.

Now it could be easily said the latest raw cotton production assessment made by the cotton crop committee at 10.5 million bales has now become more relevant and achievable.

The textile mills being the largest consumers of raw cotton have so far lifted 8.417 million bales, while the TCP procured 215,362 bales and exporters 87,526 bales. However, a sizable quantity of unsold stocks at 1.396 million bales are still lying with the ginneries who claim to be facing with liquidity problem.

FALL IN GROUNDWATER LEVEL

The government is likely to put in place very soon a legal framework to control over-extraction of groundwater and withdraw prevailing subsidies on tubewells in view of fast deteriorating groundwater level in the country.

This has been suggested in a report submitted to President Gen Pervez Musharraf recently. The report was prepared jointly by federal flood commission of the water and power ministry, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources of the ministry of science, ministry of food, agriculture and livestock and Pakistan Meteorological Department of the ministry of defence.

FOOD, BEVERAGES, TOBACCO WEIGHTAGE REDUCED BY 5PC

The Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) has reduced the weightage of "food, beverages & tobacco" in the new Consumer Price Index (base 2000-01) by over 5 per cent as compared to the previous CPI when the base year was 1990-91.

It now accounts for 44.12 per cent of the average family budget.

According to an in-depth analysis of the FBS statistics released recently, reduction in weightage is reported only for the lowest income group, that is, households with monthly earnings up to Rs3,000. In the previous CPI with 1990-91 as the base, the family budget survey had found the share of food in the lowest income group (up to Rs1,500) to be 54.58, compared with 50.75 in the new CPI.

ASIA ECONOMIC FOURM

China has invited Pakistan to attend Asia Economic Forum, which meets on April 12 to evolve a new economic agenda and future economic strategy for ensuring rapid economic growth in Asia.

Over 1,400 prominent world leaders including Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji, Japanese Prime Minister Junichino Koizumi, Prime Minister Thanksin Shinawatra of Thailand, Prime Minister Lee Han-do Republic of Korea will be attending the meeting.

WAPDA STAFFERS TRANSFERRED

WAPDA has transferred its 115,000 employees of grade 16 and below to 12 distribution, transmission and generation companies with effect from April 1, WAPDA sources told.

The remaining workforce of around 5,000, primarily in the officer cader (BS-16 to 21), would be transferred to these companies by April 30.