POLICY

 

Sep 02 - 08, 2002

 

1.INTERNATIONAL

2. INDUSTRY

3. FINANCE

4. POLICY

5. TRADE

6. GULF

 

GOVERNMENT TERMINATES 26PC PROJECTS

The government has terminated over 26 per cent projects of the multidonor-funded $725 million (Rs31.4 billion) National Drainage Programme (NDP) with immediate effect.

 

This step was taken after a $184 million cut imposed by the World Bank-led consortium owing to slow use of fund.

President Pervez Musharraf had decided about the termination of plans earlier this week on the recommendations of a special committee led by Agriculture Minister Khair Mohammad Junejo.

Out of 96 schemes on the NDP portfolio, 58 plans would be continued while 13 projects to be continued with modifications and 25 schemes had been deleted, a senior government official confirmed.

The committee had been formed last year when the World Bank had curtailed its funding by $100 million, declaring the programme as 'poor performing'. The GHQ also had raised serious objections over unnecessary consultancies and ill-planned investment portfolio (uplift plans), the official said.

He said the body had suggested drastic restructuring of the 6-year programme including cancellation of a major chunk out of 30 per cent allocation for consultancies. The president had approved it and put a complete ban on further studies, he added.

As a result of this restructuring, another $60 million funding would either be cancelled outrightly or diverted to some other water sector projects.

Mr Musharraf had also approved reduction in the cost of project from Rs31.4 billion to Rs25 billion, which is 20 per cent less than approved PC-1 cost. The revised cost is 41 per cent, less than the projected cost of Rs42.51 billion. This would have occurred if the plan had not been restructured.

IMF CALLS FOR PIA PRIVATIZATION

The IMF has called for privatizing PIA to reduce its losses and make it more competitive, says secretary defence Lt Gen Hamid Nawaz Khan.

"We had recently met the IMF mission members when they were here and told them that we are not against the privatization of the PIA", he further stated.

Mr Khan who is also the chairman of PIA told a news conference on Monday that a number of steps had been taken to improve the performance of the organization. However, he said the PIA management will welcome some organized disinvestment of the national airlines.

LABOUR POLICY AWAITS APPROVAL

The draft labour policy, 2002, is ready for quite some time and has accordingly been referred to the federal cabinet for approval, sources in the Ministry of Labour told.

Similarly, the draft industrial relations ordinance, 2002, which is to replace the earlier piece of law enforced by Air Marshal Noor Khan when he was the Governor of West Pakistan in 1969, has also been finalized and vetted by the law department, the sources said.

The draft labour policy was finalized after tripartite dialogues between the representatives of employees, employers and the ministry of labour during the tenure of late Omar Asghar Khan as labour minister, the sources said.

FRESH BIDDING FOR UBL

Growing confusion and uncertainty about the UBL privatisation was removed on Thursday when the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCOP) decided to invite all three prequalified bidders on Monday to offer their fresh bids and the highest bidder will be issued a Letter of Intent (LoI) on the spot.

SALE OF GOVERNMENT SHARES IN POF OKAYED

The Cabinet Committee on Privatisation on Thursday gave a go-ahead to the Privatisation Commission (PC) to disinvest 26 per cent government's shares in the Pakistan Oil Fields (POF).

The meeting, presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, also allowed the commission to offload five per cent shares of the National Bank of Pakistan with a green-shoe option of another five per cent in case of over-subscription. Similarly, it was also decided to put up for sale Lot 'A' of the Investment Corporation of Pakistan's (ICP) Mutual Fund, Thatta Cement Factory Limited and Lyallpur Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited. All these transactions are scheduled to be finalised in September 2002.

BANKS URGED TO USE NEW TECHNOLOGY

Speakers at a seminar held on Wednesday urged the banks to push for service-based technology progress to benefit the customers.

The seminar organized by Transaction Processing Systems (TPS) a company specializing in ATM and switching technologies was inaugurated by Sindh Finance Minister Dr. Hafeez Sheikh, says a press release.

WORLDCOM UP-TO-DATE IN PTCL DUES

WorldCom has paid amount due to Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) on time in June 2002 and the payment for the next quarter would be due at the end of September.

Brokerage firm, Taurus Securities, quoting sources at PTCL said in a report that the telecom management did not foresee any risk of default, following the filing for bankruptcy protection (Chapter 11) by WorldCom.

LEATHER GARMENTS

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has relaxed the entitlement of Export Finance Scheme (EFS) for exporters of leather garments and leather products.

A decision to this effect was taken when a four-member delegation of Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PLGMEA) met SBP Governor Dr Ishrat Hussain on Wednesday.