INDUSTRY

 

Nov 18 - 24 , 2002

 

1.INTERNATIONAL

2. INDUSTRY

3. FINANCE

4. POLICY

5. TRADE

6. GULF

 

GOVT YET TO ANNOUNCE POLICY PACKAGE: CORPORATE FARMING

The government is yet to announce the policy package for boosting corporate agriculture farming (CAF), reliable sources told.

 

The federal cabinet in its meeting held on January 31, 2002, had already considered the policy package for CAF and time bound action plan, subject to the modification that CAF would not be declared as an industry.

The sources said that the summary was moved by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL) for seeking approval of the cabinet.

According to the sources, the proposed policy package for CAF included levy of zero-rated customs duty and exemption from sales tax on the import of agriculture machinery and equipments.

The Central Board of Revenue has, however, intimated the finance minister to reconsider the proposed package for CAF as it could not be materialized following the commitment made with the donor agencies.

The sources said the CBR also asked for reconsideration of the cabinet decision and exclusion of exemption from sales tax on the import of agricultural machinery and equipment for CAF.

When asked about the delay in the announcement of the package, a senior official told that the CBR had not supported the proposal, on the ground of protection of local manufacturers, beyond the extensive exemptions given at present.

He said that currently certain locally manufactured agricultural implements were exempted from sales tax vide SRO 753(I)/98, and the government agreed with the international donor agencies not to grant any new exemption.

The official said that it was one of the conditionalities of the International Monetary Fund to allow all the time bound exemption to be lapsed after due date and would not allow any more exemption on any other items.

INDUSTRIAL POL OFFTAKE UP 1.62PC

Pakistan's industrial consumption of petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) has increased by 1.62 per cent during July-September 2002-03 to 4 million tons as compared to 3.92 million tons in the same period of 2001-02.

Out of total six main POL products, consumption of petrol has shown an increase of 2.5 per cent to 273,850 tons from 267,200 tons due to rising trend in car and bikes sales in July-Sept period, says figures compiled by the Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC).

Car sales in July-Sept period rose by 23 per cent to 12,880 cars as compared to 10,485 units in the same period of 2001- 02. Sales of motorcycles (Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki) surged to 35,377 units as compared to 27,614 units.

Auto sector has already asserted that the car market is expected to grow approximately by 10 per cent in the current fiscal year.

PPL GETS PETROLEUM EXPLORATION LICENSE

The government granted petroleum exploration licence to Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) in Attock and Chakwal districts to make a risk investment of $12.5 million.

Under the licence, PPL would cover an area of 664.9 square kilometres over block No 3372-12 (Kot Sarang) which falls in prospectively Zone 1.

PPL would carry out 2D seismic survey, re-entry in Kot Sarang well and drilling of exploration well to the depth of 4,000 metres subject to availability of economically viable prospect during the first three years of the initial terms of the licence.

WORLD BANK FOR LAND REFORMS

The World Bank is working on an agenda for land reforms in Pakistan to raise agricultural productivity, reduce rural poverty and realize the full potential of economic growth.

The key issues identified for these reforms by the World Bank are "land ownership inequality" and "crop sharing pattern" that account for "low farm yields."

GAS PIPELINE MOU SIGNED

Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russian energy firm, Gazprom, to pursue the construction of $3.5 billion trans-Pakistan gas pipeline from Iran to India and to enhance oil and gas cooperation.

Under the MoU, Pakistan has allowed Gazprom to carry out a pre-feasibility study, without surveying and mapping, of the proposed gas pipeline which has to pass through Pakistan's naval territory, a senior government official told.

ADB OKAYS $0.48M TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a technical assistance (TA) grant worth $0.48 million to strengthen portfolio performance and monitoring capacity of the Planning and Development Division and Departments of the Federal and Provincial governments.

The government's development investment programme has increased substantially over the years both in terms of finance and number of projects in the portfolio.

CARPET OUTPUT DROPS BY 40PC

Carpet production in Pakistan has dropped by about 40 per cent since September 11, 2001 as a result of majority of Afghan weavers repatriation, say exporters.

"Some 70-80 per cent of the Afghan weavers have gone back home in the last 10 months, causing a massive setback to the exporters and the industry," the exporters say. Between 150,000 and 200,000 Afghan refugees were associated with the carpet manufacturing in Pakistan before 9/11.

WB LINKS LONG-TERM GROWTH TO POVERTY REDUCTION

The World Bank has suggested a four-pronged recipe for the new government to overcome poverty and trigger economic growth in Pakistan through creation of assets for the poor , land reforms and improved management of water resources and public expenditure, including defence.

In its latest report "Pakistan Poverty Assessment", the bank said that if the country did not narrow its social gap, its long- term ability to grow economically, alleviate poverty and sustain its debt would be fundamentally compromised.