POLICY

 

Oct 14 - 20 , 2002

 

1.INTERNATIONAL

2. INDUSTRY

3. FINANCE

4. POLICY

5. TRADE

6. GULF

 

MUSHARRAF TO HAND OVER POWER ON NOV 1

President Gen Pervez Musharraf said on Thursday that he would hand over his powers to the new prime minister on Nov 1.
Talking to reporters after casting his vote at a polling station on Park Road, he said everything had been finalized to transfer his powers of the chief executive

 

to the new prime minister on first of the next month. "We will go through the normal legal process after the elections includes to hand over my administrative powers to the prime minister," he added. "I assure you that the new PM will enjoy all powers. He will be given a free hand to run his affairs without any interference," Gen Musharraf said.

The president added that he would accept the verdict of the people as they were the final authority. "Any political party which succeeds in getting majority will form the government," he said, adding that he and his cabinet colleagues would certainly accept the outcome of this elections.

"After handing over powers to the new prime minister, I would only play my constitutional role as the president of the country," he said and added that the new prime minister would do his own job while the National Security Council(NSC) would have its own jurisdiction.

The president said he would extend all his support to the new chief executive so that democracy could be strengthened.

Answering to a question, Gen Musharraf said it would be the responsibility of the new prime minister to ensure continuity of reforms and consistency in policies. However, the president pointed out that the new prime minister would enjoy full authority to improve reforms. "No reforms are final as there is always a room for certain improvements," he said. From Pakistan's development point of view, these reforms and restructuring should continue, he emphasised.

PARTIES CLAIM TURNOUT LESS THAN 25PC

A low turnout of voters was witnessed in Thursday's polls, as according to some political parties only 20 to 25 per cent people exercised their right of franchise.

In the last general election held in 1997, in which Pakistan Muslim League (N) got a "heavy mandate", the turnout was 35.42 per cent, which too was low as compared to 1970 polls.

All the three main political parties PPP, PML(Q) and PML(N) described the turnout as the lowest ever. Siddiqul Farooq, spokesman for the PML(N), said the turnout was as low as 25 per cent.

Farhatullah Babar, the PPP spokesman, was non-committal, saying in some parts of the country it was better but in others it was low. He, however, was certain that it was "slow and low."

In 1997, 19,903,172 electors, out of total 46,206,055 registered voters, cast ballot in the first party-based elections since 1985.

FALLING EURO WORRIES EXPORTERS

The euro has gone into reverse gear and lost 2.3 per cent of its value against the rupee in the first quarter of this fiscal year.

This may lessen the margins of those exporters whose exports go to the eurozone. So the exporters seem a bit alarmed not only due to this but also because they are not sure whether the SBP would continue to defend the dollar for their benefit after the elections. So far the fall of the euro is concerned it seems too early to be worried as growing conflict between the US and the Arab world and trade consolidation process within the eurozone may keep it stable.

Bankers say the euro fell to Rs58.14 in the inter-bank market at end-September from Rs59.54 at end-June this year. This fall of 2.35 per cent in the value of euro mirrors the loss it had to suffer after rising above the parity level with the dollar in mid of July.

RS8BN GRANT OKAYED FOR KESC

A meeting approved on Tuesday Rs8 billion additional supplementary grant for the Karachi Electricity Supply Corporation (KESC) to help pay off its liabilities to the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda).

The meeting, presided over by President Gen Pervez Musharraf, approved Rs10 billion additional supplementary grants, including Rs8 billion for the KESC and Rs 1.3 billion for the Wapda.

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz told after the meeting that Rs1.3 billion additional grant had been offered to Wapda to spend more on Ghazi Barotha during 2002-2003.

PSDP GRANTED MORE FUNDS

The government has decided to increase the current financial year's Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) from Rs 134 billion to Rs 144 billion to spend more on health, education and undertake new development projects.

President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday presided over a meeting which reviewed the performance of the first three months of 2002-2003 and approved an increase in the size of the PSDP.

CUT IN PDL TO CAUSE RS678.6M LOSS

The government has taken a hit on revenue collection for the second time in less than one month by reducing the petroleum development levy (PDL) to mitigate the impact of increase in international oil prices on consumers.

The national kitty will suffer a revenue loss of Rs678.6 million per month in terms of two downward adjustments in PDL on petrol, diesel and kerosene.

REFORMS MUST GO ON: SHAUKAT

Whoever comes to power after Oct 10 will continue the economic policies of the present government, says Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz. "Because it's in the national interest to do so."

In a wide-ranging interview on three years of military rule in Pakistan, the finance minister insisted that "consistency and continuity" were key to economic success while fickle-mindedness would bring disaster.

He spoke of the challenges the military government faced when it took over in October 1999, explained how it overcame these challenges and praised its success but refused to acknowledge its failures.