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 3. FINANCE  4. POLICY
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FINANCE

April 22 - 28, 2002

REMITTANCES RISE TO $1.6BN IN 9 MONTHS

Pakistan got $1.626 billion in the shape of home remittances during the first nine months of this fiscal year (July 2001-March 2002) against $854.6 million received in a year- ago period. The figure shows an impressive growth of 90 per cent.

The State Bank said on Thursday the amount included the money sent back home by overseas Pakistanis; Hajj remittances and the remittances from Kuwait-Iraq war affectees plus encashment of foreign exchange bearer certificates and foreign currency bearer certificates.

Out of total remittances of $1.626 billion, $1.543 billion came in the shape of workers remittances i.e. the money sent back home through banks by Pakistanis working abroad.

The SBP said that the workers remittances received in July 2001-March 2002 are up 125 per cent as compared to $683.5 billion received in a year-ago period.

It said that in March 2002 Pakistan received $227 million through workers remittances that showed the second largest increase over a year-ago period. In March 2001, the country had received only $66.5 million workers remittances. Thus March 2002 witnessed a huge 241 per cent increase over March 2001.

Earlier in November 2001, workers remittances had registered the largest increase of this fiscal year when overseas Pakistanis had sent back home $259.8 million from $73.4 million sent in November 2000.

Pakistan started receiving huge inflow of home remittances as anti-money laundering laws were tightened in the US and elsewhere after the Sept 11 attack on New York and Washington.

GOVT TO ISSUE RS27BN BONDS

The government has decided to issue bonds worth Rs27 billion to settle the liabilities of all the Nationalized Commercial Banks (NCBs) with a view to making them financially strong for privatization.

"The decision of issuing bonds on behalf of the banks will now help in getting a better price for them from local and foreign investors," said Additional Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Waqar Masood Khan.

He said that the government has now completed all the necessary requirements including covering tax losses of the NCBs to make them viable for privatization. The government was issuing these bonds on competitive terms and conditions to settle this liability for all the banks.

WORLD BANK TO LEND $350 MILLION

The World Bank has assured to extend $350 million new funding under Structural Adjustment Credit (SAC-2) programme before the end of 2001-2002 to further help improve Pakistan's balance of payment position.

The World Bank's Vice President for South Asian Region, Mieko Nishimizu met Minister for Finance Shaukat Aziz on Sunday immediately after her arrival from Afghanistan and assured him to disburse $350 million SAC-2 by June 30 this year.

Like the previous SAC-1 which was of the same amount and was disbursed in August last year, SAC-2 will also be disbursed from the International Development Agency's (IDA) concessional window of the World Bank at 0.7 per cent service charges. It will be disbursed as a single tranche.

STATE BANK MOPS UP RS5.8BN

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Wednesday realized Rs5,882.040 million of a face value of Rs6,150 million through the sale of Government of Pakistan Market Treasury Bills for six- and 12-month maturity out of Rs18,842.005 million of Rs19,500 million face value offered.

The bids for the three-month T-bills were rejected by the SBP, while the primary dealers offered Rs3,651.230 million of Rs3,700 million face value in this category.

GOVT TO ISSUE RS30BN BONDS

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Tuesday decided to issue Rs30 billion bonds on behalf of Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) and take over its Rs81 billion losses and loans as government's equity.

In this way, the government shareholding in KESC would increase to around 99 per cent. These measures were part of KESC's restructuring plan amounting to Rs111 billion that has already been approved by the Federal Cabinet, official sources told.

RS12BN LOSS IN 9 MONTHS

The Karachi Electric Supply Corporation Limited (KESC) reported on Tuesday after-tax loss amounting to Rs12 billion for the nine months (July-March 2001-02) period.

The KESC Board also announced the Q3 (Jan-Mar) results, which showed after-tax loss of Rs3.27 billion, higher than the loss of Rs3.12 billion the corporation suffered in the similar quarter of 2001.

NO CHANGE IN POL PRICES

The Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC), for the second time, has kept the prices of petrol, diesel, HOBC, light diesel and kerosene "unchanged".

However, the committee has increased the prices of JP-4 and JP-1 by 4.55 and 5.80 per cent. The new price of JP-4 is Rs16.33 as compared to Rs 15.62 per litre, while JP-1 will be available at Rs12.57 from April 16 as against Rs11.88 per litre, says a press release of the OCAC.

LEVER BROTHERS PAKISTAN

On Monday, Lever Brothers Pakistan Limited the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) producing giant announced first quarter (Jan-Mar) 2002 financial results, posting 48 per cent growth in pre-tax profit to Rs717 million , from Rs484 million in the corresponding period of the previous year. With effective tax rate at maintained 38 per cent, the after tax profit increased to Rs442 million, from Rs301 million.

ADBP LOAN

The Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan (ADBP) would provide Rs625 million loan to the agreement-holders of Virginia Tobacco growers of the NWFP this month.

PAKISTAN TOBACCO

Pakistan Tobacco Company Limited has posted after tax profit of Rs353.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2001, which comes after six years of serial losses.