May 13 -19, 2002
DECLINE IN MAJOR CROPS HITS GDP TARGET
The unanticipated reduced agricultural production specially
rice and wheat crops has marred the hopes of achieving 3.5 per cent GDP growth
rate during 2001-2002. And now the GDP growth rate for the current financial
year was being estimated to be less than three per cent.
Informed sources said on Wednesday that the official
estimates of 3.5 per cent GDP growth was unlikely to be achieved because of the
estimated just one per cent agricultural growth rate against the target of 2.7
per cent worked out jointly by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of
The latest figures firmed up by the concerned authorities and
revealed showed that there will be 10.7 million cotton bales this year compared
to 10.9 million bales of last year.
The rice production has been estimated to be 3.8 million tons
compared to 4.8 million tons of last year. The decrease was due to water
shortage, squeezing of cultivated areas and some changes in the government
Sources said that the second estimate of wheat production had
been 18.7 million tons against the earlier projection of 19.1 million tons.
However, sugarcane production was estimated to be 48 million tons compared to 42
million tons of last year. The enhanced production of sugarcane was achieved due
to increasing crop area. But the minor crops did not do well owing to shortage
of water. The livestock production was also shown to be reducing due to the
continued effects of drought that also killed considerable number of animals.
The World Bank believes that Pakistan's agricultural sector
possesses the potential to be a lead sector in accelerating economic growth and
reducing poverty, "but it has received less attention from the present
IRSA OKAYS THAL CANAL PROJECT
The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) on Tuesday accorded
certification to the controversial Greater Thal canal project with a 3-2
majority, while the Satpara dam project was approved unanimously.
The authority at its meeting on Tuesday was given a detailed
presentation by experts from the Water and Power Development Authority about the
two projects following which Irsa put the Thal canal project to vote, Irsa Chief
Engineer Amanullah Khan later told a press conference.
Members from Punjab, Balochistan and NWFP voted in favour of
the project, while members of Sindh and the federal government voted against it.
Member from Sindh Noor Mohammad Baloch, who is also the
chairman of the authority, also gave a dissenting note.
ADB GRANTS $5.2M FOR WATER PLAN
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $5.2 million as
technical assistance to Pakistan, and to a water management plan for Asia, the
bank said on Tuesday.
A four million-dollar grant would finance the creation of a
water system that would provide statistics and information, including national
water sector profiles of the selected countries, an ADB statement said.
The project also includes a pilot demonstration of innovative
approaches in the water sector, and finance a public awareness drive,
comparative analysis of water sector reforms in the region, and regional water
partnerships among others.
The bank will provide an $800,000 grant to Pakistan to
prepare a small-and-medium-enterprise (SME) sector uplift programme, the
Philippines-based bank said.
MINISTER SEEKS INCENTIVES FOR NWFP CAR MAKERS
Expressing his views about the lackadaisical approach of the
Pakistan car assemblers and the negative posture of certain vested interests
against the import of used cars, the NWFP Industries Minister Mohsin Aziz on
Tuesday underscored the need of opening new avenues for industrialization in the
The minister said that car assemblers in Punjab and Sindh
were enjoying incentives that ran into billion of rupees annually.
GAS PIPELINE PROJECT
Pakistan has invited Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov and
Afghan interim authority Chairman Hamid Karzai to visit Islamabad during the
last week of May to re-activate $2 billion Turkmenistan to Pakistan gas
This is expected to coincide with the visit of a delegation
of Russian energy giant Gazprom accompanied by Russian energy minister to
Pakistan to hold discussions on their possible partnership in the consortium
undertaking $3 billion trans-Pakistan Iran to India gas pipeline.
SME RISK CAPITAL FUND UNDER STUDY
SME Institute of Finance, Washington D.C., has chalked out a
comprehensive development programme for Pakistan's SME sector and also
considering setting up SME risk capital fund.
This was disclosed by executive director, SME Institute of
Finance, Washington D.C., David Lingelbach, during his recent visit to Pakistan
and his meeting with FPCCI chairman Sohail Altaf.
SUGAR OUTPUT RISES TO 3.2M TONS
The domestic sugar production soared by 28 per cent or
700,000 tons to 3.2 million tons during the current season against 2.5 million
tons production of the last year.
And the sugar produce remained short of 10 per cent of the
highest-ever production recorded at 3.55 million tons, said Pakistan Sugar Mills
Association (PSMA) secretary general K. Ali Qazilbash in a statement issued on
The final figure has been calculated on the actual production
numbers returned by individual mills across the country, which have been
reporting conclusion of crushing activity by April 30. But the excellent
production, according to the secretary general was no good news for the
industry, at a loss to deal with the carryover stocks of 600,000 tons.