POLICY

 

Aug 26 - Sep 01, 2002

 

1.INTERNATIONAL

2. INDUSTRY

3. FINANCE

4. POLICY

5. TRADE

6. GULF

 

FDI GAINING MOMENTUM: BOI

Direct foreign investment (FDI) is flowing steadily into Pakistan with increasing momentum as a result of certain initiatives taken by the Board of Investment (BoI), it was officially stated on Wednesday.

 

Allaying an impression prevailing about stagnation in investment, BoI spokesman said "potent" investors including world-fame multinationals from China, the US, Japan, etc., were pursuing their investment ventures. Accordingly, work on some mega projects in certain parts of the country was well in progress.

A new fast air-conditioned rail service launched between Karachi and Lahore (later to be extended to Rawalpindi) symbolised the unshakable ties between China and Pakistan, he claimed.

Another team of 146 experts from the Shenhua Group of Chinese companies had arrived in Pakistan to complete the on-going feasibility studies in the Thar Coal Mines region. Well-drilling had also been started in the region to speed up the process.

Under another BoI initiative, 20 out of 27 affluent overseas Pakistanis had been appointed as Honorary Investment Counsellors (HICs). In this regard, the spokesman referred to the deals concluded recently between the City District Government of Karachi (CDGK) and HIC-coordinated US enterprises.

Besides, an amount of $225m was expected to come in as FDI after execution of seven MoUs. Under some of these MoUs:

(1) Texas USA would invest in a fast food franchise; (2) A. Salman Usmani, Texas would help develop a software centre in Karachi; (3) Allstate Inc. Houston would launch investment projects for the development of Karachi beaches, 4-star hotels and resort city sites; and (4) G.F. Loya LLC, Houston, have agreed to set up Karachi Circular Railway and safari parks.

IMF ASSURED OF REFORMS PROTECTION

President Gen Pervez Musharraf has said that major political and economic reforms undertaken by his government will be fully protected through new legislation.

According to official sources, he told Mr Paul Chabrier, Advisor to the IMF Managing Director, who called on him Tuesday, that he would make sure that there was a continuity of reforms even after the new elected government took over as a result of October polls.

AMENDMENTS IRREVERSIBLE: MUSHARRAF

President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday said the constitutional amendments incorporated by his government are irreversible and need no validation by the parliament to be formed after October elections.

If the future parliament tried to reverse amendments particularly the one pertaining to the National Security Council either "they will have to quit or I will quit," President Musharraf said at a press conference held at PTV Chaghi auditorium.

IT OFFICIALS

The Member Central Board of Revenue (CBR), Habib Fakhruddin, has said that the board officials under the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 has no powers to issue directives with regard to Self-Assessment Scheme.

CAR DELIVERY

The chairman, All Pakistan Motor Dealers Association (APMDA), H. M Shazad has said that when local assemblers failed to deliver cars in three months how could they roll out a car in two months.

He was giving his reaction to the commerce minister assurance to the consumers that locally assembled cars would now be delivered in two months instead of three months.

NBP RETAIL BANKING ON 8 PRODUCTS

National Bank of Pakistan will start retail banking on a large scale by the end of this year. This was stated by chairman and president of NBP, Syed Ali Raza while speaking at the 53rd annual general meeting of the bank held on Monday to approve the accounts for the year 2001.

He said that initially 7 to 8 products would be selected for retail banking to facilitate individual account holders of the bank.

Talking about the products, Mr Raza said these would be auto loans, house mortgage, credit cards, debit cards, mutual funds, salaries in advance, etc.

DIESEL RATES DEREGULATION FROM SEPTEMBER LIKELY

The government may allow oil marketing companies to fix diesel prices independently with effect from Sept 1, to completely deregulate the diesel business.

Official sources told that all the firms would be empowered to fix their own diesel prices separately, unlike the current practice of uniform prices set by the Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC).

After the deregulation, diesel oil prices would vary from company to company and outlet to outlet. The officials claimed that the new measure would introduce a healthy competition among various oil firms in terms of quality and prices. Simultaneously, the companies would be required to introduce 0.5 per cent of sulphur content in the high speed diesel (HSD).

SBP WANTS BANKS TO RAISE PRIVATE SECTOR LENDING

The State Bank is trying to devise a new and more reliable tool that can be used to push banks to increase the private sector lending at cheaper rates. Senior central bankers believe that an upgraded version of KIBOR (Karachi Inter-bank Offered Rate) can help them out.

But treasurers of top local and foreign banks say KIBOR itself cannot be used for this purpose. They believe that it can rather be used as a floor for the much-needed prime lending rate in the country.