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

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POLICY

June 03 - 09, 2002

TRILATERAL GAS PIPELINE AGREEMENT SIGNED

Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement on Thursday for a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline which would run from Daulatabad gas-fields in Turkmenistan to Gwadar.

The agreement was inked by President Gen Pervez Musharraf, Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov and Interim Afghan Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai following a summit of the three leaders.

Besides signing the agreement for laying down the 1500-km pipeline, the three leaders decided to take concrete measures for developing road and rail links and improving trade among the three countries. They set up three working groups: one would supervise the implementation of gas project, and the other two would push for the development of rail and road links, and increasing the volume of trade.

"This mega-project has been on the anvil for the past many years but it could not be implemented because of instability in Afghanistan," President Musharraf told a press conference.

Flanked by Mr Karzai and Mr Niyazov, Gen Musharraf hoped that with the return of normalcy in Afghanistan this project would be realized soon.

A plant of liquefied natural gas would be installed at Gwadar for export of hydrocarbon to the markets of Far East and Japan, he added.

He pointed out that a feasibility study had been conducted a few years ago which would be reviewed and updated before inviting international tenders and seeking finances from international financial institutions.

Trade and economic cooperation also came under discussion and three leaders were unanimous that the existing level of trade among their countries was far less than the optimum potential, Gen Musharraf said.

FFC TO TAKE OVER PAK SAUDI

Fauji Fertilizer Company on Thursday made a payment of Rs5 billion to the Privatization Commission out of Rs7.3 billion that it has to pay for the state-run Pak Saudi Fertilizer Company.

The company would pay the remaining Rs2.3 billion on Friday and take over Pak Saudi Fertilizer Company.

Senior bankers said a banking syndicate led by ABN Amro has lent to FFC more than Rs7.3 billion to buy Pak Saudi Fertilizer Company. They said that the syndicate disbursed Rs5 billion on Thursday adding that the remaining amount would be paid on Friday.

Sources in fertilizer industry said FFC has credited the Rs5 billion it received from the banking syndicate into the account of Privatization Commission. The company would credit another Rs2.3 billion into the PC account on Friday when they would formally announce the takeover of Pak Saudi Fertilizer Company.

SERIES OF MISSILE TESTS COMPLETED

Pakistan on Tuesday completed a series of tests of its missile systems with the successful test-fire of a short-range Hatf-II (Abdali) missile.

"We have achieved all our objectives with a series of missile tests," President's Spokesman Rashid Qureshi told.

When asked whether all the missile systems have been tested or some are still in the development stage, Mr Qureshi responded: "All the missile systems, where were necessary, have been tested."

The president's spokesman, who is also director-general of Inter-Service Public Relations, did not reply to a question whether these missiles have also been inducted into the Pakistan army.

"Through induction, different people infer different meanings," he said. When the similar question was rephrased by reporter, he said he was not sure whether these missiles had been handed over to the Pakistan army. "I will have to check on it," he added.

PPL SELL-OFF DELAYED

The government has decided to put on hold the privatization of Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) for one to two years to accentuate its financial strength as a result of 140 per cent increase in gas price.

Official sources told that the proposal was put before the privatization board by the ministry of petroleum. It stated that the company should be allowed to reap the benefits of dismantling of its gas purchase agreement (GPA) and three-year tariff rationalization plan.

PAKISTAN WANTS TO CURB TERRORISM

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw assured India on Wednesday that Pakistan was serious about ending the cross-border terrorism in Kashmir, as he held talks to defuse tensions between the nuclear-armed powers.

As heavy shelling pounded the disputed border in Kashmir, Straw said Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf genuinely wanted to stop what India calls "cross-border terrorism" in the Himalayan region.

M.A. KIDWAI NEW SUZUKI CHIEF

Midhat A. Kidwai, director operations of Suzuki Motorcycles Pakistan Limited would be successor to managing director and chairman Danishmand, who will relinquish his charge on May 31, 2002. Danishmand has joined the IBA as director (Head) from June 1, 2002.

POLLS TO BE HELD FROM OCT 7-11

President Gen Pervez Musharraf announced on Monday that elections to the National and Provincial Assemblies would be held from Oct 7 to 11 for restoring "genuine democracy" in the country.

WB PLEDGES $100M FOR SINDH REFORMS

The World Bank has agreed to provide $100 million interest-free assistance for Sindh reforms programme from the next financial year.

Sindh Finance Secretary Fazlur Rehman on Friday briefed a high-level meeting regarding progress of structural adjustment credit with the World Bank for supporting reforms programme.

He said that only 0.7 per cent service charges would be payable to the World Bank and the federal government agreed to provide foreign currency cover in this regard. He said 35 per cent of this assistance will be diverted on retiring loans.