POLICY

 

Nov 11  - 17 , 2002

 

1.INTERNATIONAL

2. INDUSTRY

3. FINANCE

4. POLICY

5. TRADE

6. GULF

 

IMF WANTS NEW GOVT TO RETAIN REFORMS PACE

Lauding progress of Pakistan's economy attained during the past two years despite external shocks, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called upon the future government to continue economic reforms. 

 

It stressed that the central task for the new government would be to deal resolutely with the remaining challenges by further broadening and deepening the reform effort in the future.

However, it warned that a high public debt continues to prevent critical investments, says a report released by the Fund after their annual consultations with Pakistan following clearance of dollar 144 million tranche. A number of directors also urged the authorities to continue exploring the possibility of savings on defence expenditures.

"Important, in this regard, will be continued strong efforts to explain the rationale for reform to the population, and further sustained improvements in governance and the delivery of social services," the directors said.

They described the proposed macro-economic policy mix for the near future as appropriate and observed that "monetary policy will be geared toward keeping inflation low within the current flexible exchange rate system and continued fiscal adjustment will aim at further improving public debt dynamics."

Monetary and price developments, the directors warned, would need to be kept under close watch and the authorities should be ready to consider a moderate tightening of monetary policy if needed. Most directors saw merit in continued sterilized intervention to contain the real appreciation of the Pakistani rupee in the face of continuous strong capital inflows.

Some directors, however, cautioned that this was unlikely to be a solution over the longer term and that competition-enhancing structural measures were a more effective approach to deal with upward pressures on the external value of the currency.

BOARD ON ISLAMIC FINANCING LAUNCHED

The Islamic Development Bank and 10 Muslim countries signed an agreement to launch the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), which will create awareness about the formation of Islamic way of investment, banking, capital market and other financial instruments.

With the launching of the IFSB, Malaysia has become a regional Islamic financial hub.

Central banks from 10 founding members Pakistan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates and Sudan as well as the IDB signed the agreement.

State Bank Governor Dr Ishrat Hussain represented Pakistan.

PAKISTAN, US SIGN $10M PACT FOR NATURAL SCIENCES

Pakistan and the United States signed a joint operating arrangement (JOA) worth $10 million for scientists' cooperation in the field of natural sciences.

The arrangement has been designed to further cooperation among scientists of the two countries in the areas of significant mutual interest with a focus on collection, evaluation and exchange of germplasm, plant genomics, plant biotechnology, stress biology, bio-informatics, application of information technology in agriculture, identification and control of animal and plant diseases, dryland/sustainable agriculture production systems, biotechnology/microbiology and agribusiness development.

SBP NOT TO FORGO REGULATORY POWERS

The governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Dr. Ishrat Hussain said there is no immediate plan to transfer SBP's regulatory and supervisory powers for banking institutions to any other regulatory authority.

Speaking as chief guest at a seminar on "Pakistan Market Agenda", jointly organized by Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and Institute of Research for Economic.

SSGC FINALIZING TARIFF STRUCTURE

Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) is finalizing a "gas tariff rationalization plan," under a market base structure to facilitate and help the poor domestic consumers.

Newly appointed managing director of SSGC, Munawwar Baseer Ahmed informed a press conference at the SSGC head office that this tariff rationalization was being done on the government instructions.

NEW BADLA PROCEDURE

In a series of three separate announcements, the Karachi Stock Exchange stipulated change in prevailing COT (badla) procedures; reduction of weightage of KESC in KSE indices and cautioned investors not to deal with unauthorized investment advisors.

TIME-BOUND TARIFF RELIEF OFFERED

The chairman, National Tariff Commission (NTC), Dr Faizullah Khilji directed the electronics industry to specifically submit a time-bound plan for dispensing with dependency on tariff protection within the shortest possible period.

GOVT MOVE TO CURB SMUGGLING

The government is likely to take a number of steps for curbing the menace of unabated smuggling causing huge losses to the national kitty annually, a senior official told.

The strict measure has already been worked out, which would be presented before the future democratic cabinet for its final approval before it was implemented.

The decision was taken following the repeated demands from the industries seeking protection against the smuggled goods thriving in local markets causing losses to the local production.

HBL IPO ONLY AFTER SELL-OFF: PRESIDENT

Pakistan's government will first sell a major stake in Habib Bank Ltd, the country's second largest bank, and then launch an initial public offering on the Karachi Stock Exchange, the bank's president said.

"There's no immediate plan for an IPO," Zakir Mahmood told Dow Jones Newswires, confirming reports that a long-awaited 10 per cent share offering has been shelved in favour of a strategic sale.