market access specially for our textile products and
we have received a very good response", said minister for finance
Speaking at a news conference after returning from a
four-day visit to the United States, he said on Thursday that he has
held fruitful discussions with US Secretary of Treasury Paul O' Neil and
Deputy Secretary of State Mr Larson for increasing political and
economic cooperation between the two countries.
He said he has held important discussions with the
World Bank, IMF and IFC officials in Washington. At the same time, he
said he had met the authorities of the EXIM Bank, Overseas Private
Insurance Corporation (OPIC), beside holding separate meetings with
various finance ministers including that of France, Britain, Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait.
Giving the details, he said that during his meetings
in Washington matters pertaining to continuity of reforms, consistency
in policies and continuation of the present team of President Pervez
Musharraf beyond October this year were discussed.
"I told them that as far as the present team is
concerned, this will be decided by the future government. However, I
assured them that the government would make sure that reform process
continues and is not undone by the future government", Mr Aziz
He said that the US secretary of treasury assured him
that his country would write off $1 billion out of $3.2 billion debt
owed by Pakistan. The issue he said, has been sent to Congress for final
S. ARABIA ASSURES OF OIL FACILITY
Pakistan has been assured to continue receiving
annually $800m to $1 billion oil facility from Saudi Arabia. Informed
sources said on Thursday that Saudi Arabia which was providing oil
roughly worth $1 billion annually on deferred payment will continue to
offer this facility in future.
However, this year the government was expecting more
than $1 billion Saudi oil facility. Pakistan has been getting this
facility since 1998 when it decided to go nuclear.
Sources said that Saudi Arabia has also assured to
offer preferential treatment in case US government decided to attack on
Iraq. "We will get uninterrupted Saudi oil in any emergency and too
on deferred payment", a source said.
OIL PRICES KEPT UNCHANGED
The Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC) on
Tuesday kept the prices "unchanged" of four main oil products
for the current fortnight. The government has again taken a hit on
revenue collection for the second time in the last 10 days by reducing
the petroleum development levy (PDL) to mitigate the impact of
international oil price spiral on consumers as it has increased by 1.93
per cent during the last fortnight.
The committee announced the decision after a gap of
one day. In a statement it said that the average fob price of all
products had gone up. Gas oil prices had surged to $29.27 per barrel
from $28.24. However, fuel oil prices had dropped to $162.60 a ton from
$164. Kerosene price also rose to $31.76 a barrel from $30.38, while
naphtha price shot up to $239.39 a ton from $233.94 a barrel.
Shell Pakistan will press for an increase in
government commissions on petroleum products to 4 per cent from the
current 3.5 per cent because the rise is vital for investment, Shell
Pakistan Chairman Farooq Rehmatullah said on Thursday.
The Ministry of Petroleum has hinted that it wants to
cap the commissions, or 'margins', at 3.5 per cent but Rehmatullah told
a news conference he would hold talks with the new government to press
for an increase because 4 per cent commission was promised under the
PAKISTAN OFFERS GREAT POTENTIAL IN IT
A number of Saudi business houses have expressed
their desire to tie up with their Pakistani business counterparts, it
was announced during a seminar organized by the Institution of
Engineers-Pakistan, Eastern Province Chapter.
IEP organized the seminar to showcase the emerging
potential of Pakistan in the field of Information Technology at Hotel
Al-Gosaiabi, Al-Khobar on the occasion of the ITCN-Saudi Arabia,
currently being held at the Dhahran Expo Centre.
WAPDA MAY FACE SHORTFALL
The cash shortfall of Water and Power Development
Authority is expected to be close to Rs30 billion (0.8pc of GDP) in 2002
and will eventually be borne, to a large extent, by the budget in the
form of deferred debt service payments, says the IMF.
"Wapda's financial performance has been shaky
over the past years and has sharply deteriorated in 2001-2002,"
states the 2002 Country Report of the IMF.
RS11BN SBP LOAN REPAID
Despite the fact the Sindh government has paid back
all its debts of Rs11 billion to the State Bank, the magnitude of the
problems remains large owing to disparities which are a source of
Dr Sheikh said that since 1989 Sindh had to borrow
owing to the fiscal indiscipline and the debts were billed at Rs20
He said that Sindh owed Rs11 billion to the SBP and
for the first time in 11 years the province succeeded in having
zero-debt vis-a-vis the SBP.