10 - 16, 2002
COTTON OUTPUT UP TO 10.9M BALES
The ex-farm production of cotton during the current season
rose to 10.9m bales, up by two per cent from the previous year, ensuring a
larger exportable surplus after meeting the home demand, according to official
The marketing and economic research committee of the Pakistan
Central Cotton Committee (PCCC), which met on Tuesday under the chairmanship of
Shafi Niaz, adviser to the chief executive on food and agriculture, lauded the
efforts to produce contamination-free cotton in Rahimyar Khan and suggested to
expand the programme to other areas also during the current season.
The committee was optimistic about the next crop and hoped it
will be getting higher price owing to decline in global production and a modest
increase in consumption.
However, it expressed concern over the larger import (1.3m
bales) of cotton by the spinners, notably of those varieties, which are
available in the country.
The committee urged the government to implement decision
taken earlier to maintain the average per bale weight at 170 kg instead of the
current 165 kg despite Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association's (PCGA) assurance to
motivate ginners to adhere to the decided per bale weight.
ECONOMY SOUND, NOTES ECC
Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Wednesday that a solid
foundation of Pakistan's economy had been laid and now it was in position to
meet any eventuality.
"Defence needs of the country will be fully catered for
and Pakistan would continue to stay the course of reforms to further consolidate
economic gains made in the last two and half years," he said while chairing
the ECC meeting.
The minister expressed satisfaction over availability of
stocks, stability in prices of consumers' items and encouraging economic
indicators, including low inflation under three per cent and achievement of
revised GDP growth target of over 3.3 per cent.
The ECC noted that gross foreign exchange reserves, which
stand at $5.6 billion, are likely to cross $6 billion by the end of current
financial year. The minister, however, said a lot more needed to be done and
"we need to stay the course so as to leverage the targets desired as a
result of reforms".
TAINT-FREE COTTON: ORD SOON
The government will shortly promulgate an ordinance to
implement standardization system stipulating the production of high quality
contamination-free cotton in the country.
Briefing the federal minister for Food and Agriculture and
Livestock, Khair Muhammad Junejo during his visit to the institute, he was told
that Pakistani cotton now has an edge over the Indian variety on the issue of
"Pakistan Cotton Standard Institute (PCSI) has already
lowered the contamination level to 2.5 per cent from the previous 20 per cent
per bale through its standardization system," the high-ups of the PCSI
DEFENCE BUDGET TO GO UP
The federal budget, which is being presented on June 15, will
have an increased allocation for defence spending for the first time in three
"Our defence budget, in actual terms, has been static
for the last three years but now we need to offer certain increase in it in the
budget for 2002-2003, said Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz.
India had increased its defence budget by 28 per cent, 14 per
cent and 8 per cent in 2000-2001, 2001-2002 and 2002-2003, respectively.
OLIVE OIL PRODUCTION
Pakistan Oilseeds Development Board (PODB) has launched a
project to produce olive oil on a mass scale in suitable areas of Punjab, NWFP
and Balochistan that will go a long way towards reducing edible oil import bill
as well as raising the incomes of farmers.
WATER INFLOW INCREASES
For the first time in almost a year, provinces will get
irrigation water as per their requirement from the middle of June as the flows
in all the major rivers have risen significantly, with the level in Kabul river
touching the low flood mark.
Indus River System Authority (Irsa) issued on Tuesday
directives to the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), asking it to
release water to all the four provinces according to their indent (demand).
PETROLEUM EXPLORATION LICENCE AWARDED
The government on Monday granted a petroleum exploration
licence to the joint venture of Petroleum Exploration (Pvt) Limited (95%) and
Government Holding (Pvt) Limited (5%) over Block No 2769-9 (Mirpur Mathelo),
covering an area of 1030.66 square kilometres in Zone-III in Sukkur and Khairpur
An official statement issued said that the area had a high
potential of producing gaseous hydrocarbons from shallow reservoirs like Sui
Main Limestone, Sui Upper Limestone and Habib Rahi Limestone of Eocene Age. Goru
Sands of oretaceous age can also be considered as a secondary reservoir.
SINDH BUDGET TO BE TAX-FREE
The upcoming Sindh budget will be "tax free as well as
investment friendly" aimed at further promoting industrialization and
luring more foreign investment in the province.
This was stated by Sindh Minister for Finance and Planning,
Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh at the inauguration of Printpak 2002 Exhibition,
organized by the Pakistan Association of Printing and Graphic Arts and Industry
(PAPGAI) at the Expo Centre on Friday night.
"We have adopted almost same philosophy as adopted
earlier in finalizing the 2002-2003 budget by making it more attractive for
industrialists and businessmen," he said.
BUDGET TO BE BUSINESS FRIENDLY
Federal Finance Minister, Shaukat Aziz on Saturday said that
the budget would be business friendly, despite tension on the border. The
minister said this at a meeting with the president , Federation of Pakistan
Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Iftikhar Ali Malik.