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POLICY


April 08 - 14, 2002

CABINET OKAYS REFERENDUM

The cabinet and the National Security Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the holding of a referendum to extend President Pervez Musharraf's rule for a term of five years when the present term will expire after the October general elections.

The president may announce the date for the referendum in his address to the nation scheduled for Friday. Informed circles said the referendum would most probably be held on May 6.

Some of the participants of the meeting believed to have said that referendum should be held as early as possible to avert the possibility of political and religious parties joining hands to oppose the exercise.

According to an official announcement, the joint meeting unanimously approved the holding of a national referendum on 'important national issues'. "The president will address the nation on Friday to take people into confidence on the details of the referendum".

The meeting, presided over by Gen Musharraf, was attended by the services chiefs, Vice Chief of the Army Staff and provincial governors besides members of the cabinet, the announcement added.

The participants of the meeting were asked not to divulge the details of the deliberations as the president would himself unveil his plan over the issue on Friday. "Everyone has been asked not to speak on this issue, therefore I won't talk," said a ministerial source.

Insiders maintained that the use of vote for referendum was being made mandatory as the government wanted maximum participation unlike the previous such exercises carried out by Ayub Khan and Gen Zia.

Pakistan Muslim League (Q), also known as the King's party, Farooq Leghari's Millat Party, Prof Tahirul Qadri's Pakistan Awami Tehrik and Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf have already announced support for the referendum.

PAKISTAN OFFERS CNG EXPERTISE TO IRAN

Pakistan is ranked No 3 as the world's largest Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) user after Italy and Argentina and it can provide technical expertise and cooperation to develop and promote the CNG industry in Iran.

These views were expressed by the Secretary Petroleum and Natural Resources, M. Abdullah Yusuf while talking to the six-member Iranian delegation led by the Chief Advisor to the Minister for Oil, Fereidoun Saghafiyan who held a detailed discussion on Pak-Iran cooperation in CNG industry.

IDBP TO BE READY FOR SELL-OFF BY JUNE

Chairman of the Industrial Development Bank of Pakistan (IDBP), Badruddin Khan said on Thursday that the bank will be ready for privatization by June this year.

He stated this during a meeting with Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) members and industrialists. He said that the emphasis of the present management of the bank was introduction of transparent systems.

IDBP chief told KATI members that the sick industrial units on the portfolio of the bank would be handed over to Corporate and Industrial Restructuring Corporation (CIRC) for disposal.

He pointed out that these measures will improve the financial position of the bank. He informed the industrialists that the bank would be sold to reputable and professional group having a expertise in running the bank.

LIFE-SAVING MEDICINES

The government on Thursday approved a list of 256 life-saving drugs exempted from the 15 per cent general sales tax (GST). President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Friday had ordered the authorities concerned to finalize the list and review all issues concerning the pharmaceutical industry.

LICENCES CANCELLED

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan has cancelled licences of two leasing companies - National Asset Leasing Corporation Limited (NALC) and Dadabhoy Leasing Company Limited (DLCL) - for their failure to fulfil the requirement of minimum paid-up capital for all leasing companies to Rs200 million by the prescribed date.

LEVY OF GST ON COOKING OIL, GHEE PUT OFF

The ministry of finance has decided to postpone the levy of general sales tax (GST) on cooking oil and vegetable ghee to avoid public anger.

Well-placed sources told on Wednesday that in anticipation of strong public and industry reaction, the government "has been compelled" to delay the levy, as this would have come hard on the heels of recent slapping of GST on all kinds of drugs, urea and fertilizers.

15PC GST AT RETAIL, WHOLESALE STAGES IMPOSED

The government has imposed 15 per cent General Sales Tax (GST) on supply of urea and all kinds of fertilizers at retail and wholesale stages.

The retailers and wholesalers will also pay three per cent additional sales tax in case of supply of fertilizer, excluding urea fertilizer to a non-registered person.

17,006 UNITS DE-REGISTERED

The Central Board of Revenue, on the recommendation of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, has de-registered 17,006 units wrongly registered with the sales tax collectorate.

In nationwide de-registration drive, of the said 17,006 units, 4,336 taxpayers were de-registered during July-January period of the current fiscal, and rest in the past months.