POLICY

 

Nov 04  - 10 , 2002

 

1.INTERNATIONAL

2. INDUSTRY

3. FINANCE

4. POLICY

5. TRADE

6. GULF

 

NA SESSION ON 6TH, TRANSFER OF POWER BY 14TH

The inaugural session of the National Assembly will be held on Nov 6, and the process to transfer power to the elected representatives will be completed by Nov 14, an official source told.The cabinet had finalized the schedule for transfer of power and fixed Nov 6 for the inaugural session of the National Assembly, the source said.

 

According to the plan approved by the cabinet, the Constitution would be restored the same day on which the president and the prime minister would be administered the oath. However, an official press release quoted President Pervez Musharraf as having told the cabinet that the NA session would be summoned soon after the results of the elections to the reserved seats for women and minorities were announced.

"There was no cause of delaying the summoning of the inaugural session," the president said. He described the post-election scenario as a great opportunity for the political leadership to develop and strengthen the inter-provincial and intra-provincial harmony.

The president expressed the confidence that the elected representatives would demonstrate tolerance, understanding and a sense of accommodation for each other. Harmony amongst and within the provinces, he stressed, could only be achieved through a fair distribution of resources, judicious planning and location of development projects and good governance.

The president apprised the cabinet about his visit to Saudi Arabia in which he had held wide-ranging discussions with King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah. There was commonality of views on all bilateral, regional and international issues between the two countries.

The cabinet approved the second flood protection sector project for immediate implementation at a reformulated cost of Rs4.6 billion against the originally approved cost of Rs8 billion in 1998.

MUSHARRAF, FAHD DISCUSS ISSUES

President Gen Pervez Musharraf held detailed talks with Saudi King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. They discussed the India-Pakistan relations, the Afghanistan situation and the Middle East situation.

President Musharraf reiterated that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia stood by each other in all circumstances and would continue to do so in future.

The Saudi leaders congratulated President Musharraf on holding the general elections. Prince Abdullah expressed the hope that the newly-elected people's representatives would work for the Muslim cause.

The president and the Saudi leaders expressed satisfaction over the close bilateral cooperation in different fields and agreed to strengthen relations between the two countries.

POLICY MAKERS DIFFER ON INTEREST RATES

The finance minister and the governor of State Bank seem to hold divergent views on the immediate need to reduce interest rates.

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz said recently that there was room for further reduction of commercial bank lending rates by two per cent.

In an interview to a foreign economic journal, State Bank Governor Dr Ishrat Husain observed: "We are not keen at this very moment to cut rates any further."

The SBP governor supports his view on two counts: the assumption that interest rates are the prime factor behind a contraction in lending, is wrong. The prices have to be kept under a watchful eye to ensure that these price adjustments (oil products and electricity) do not translate into inflation.

RS4.5BN EMBEZZLED

The Auditor-General of Pakistan has pointed out Rs4.56 billion worth of misappropriation in Wapda during 1999-2000. In a report, recently taken up by the Public Accounts Committee and reportedly submitted to the president , the AGP has divided these paras into 10 different heads.

DECLINE IN JOBLESS RATE UNLIKELY, SAYS SBP

The State Bank of Pakistan does not expect any "significant decline" in unemployment rate in Pakistan during the recent two years 01 and 02 and points out that this rate would remain unchanged unless "the economic growth and investment scenario changes significantly".

In its annual report for 2001-02, the State Bank has given unemployment rate at 7.8 per cent. "Estimates for the unemployment rate in the current (and recent years) will not be available till the next Labour Force Survey (LFS) is conducted," the report says but emphatically states that there would not be any significant decline.

COMMERCIAL PAPER

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) announced the creation of "commercial paper", a new financial instrument aimed at broadening the money market.

In this connection, it unveiled its "guidelines for the issue of commercial paper" as required under the financial markets (non-bank) governance programme loan 2002-2005 offered by the Asian Development Bank recently.

Commercial paper, as an SECP source explained, is a short-term promissory note issued by corporations with a minimum credit rating of A- for long-term and A2 in short-term arrangements.

RS100BN ENTITIES READY FOR SELL-OFF

The Privatisation Minister Altaf Salim said the government has already privatised public sector enterprises to the tune of $600 million to foreign and local businessmen, and more units worth over Rs100 billion are expected to be privatised during the period between November and March.

BUSINESS EDUCATION AND KAHUTA OUTPUT

The director of Institute of Business Administration, Danishmand says IBA needs $9-10 million to acquire excellence in business education and promises that it's benefits would exceed Kahuta output.

IBA's motto is to produce "leadership and ideas for tomorrow" that has capitulated IBA students to important positions in the corporate world in Pakistan, UK and the US.