INDUSTRY

 

Dec 16  -Dec 22 , 2002

 

1.INTERNATIONAL

2. INDUSTRY

3. FINANCE

4. POLICY

5. TRADE

6. GULF

 

GAS DISCOVERY TO HELP SAVE $45M

The country has hit natural gas reserves of around one trillion cubic feet (1TCF), Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Chaudhry Norez Shakoor announced recently.He, however, said the oil import bill would touch the highest figure of $3.5 billion by the end of the current fiscal year.

 

This was the first gas discovery in the NWFP and it had increased the prospects for more discoveries in the region, Petroleum Concessions Director-General G.A. Sabri said.

He said Tal block was the last exploration block in the southwest but some more blocks might have to be created due to the discovery at the Manzalai-1 well.

Oil reserves of around 2,200 barrels per day production were discovered last year in Shakardara, near Kohat. Before that the province was never considered to be prospective by the foreign oil companies.

Total production at Manzalai well No.1 is estimated at 35 million cubic feet daily (MCFD) of gas and 230 barrels per day of condensate. This would result in foreign exchange saving of around $45 million every year, said the operations manager of Hungarian oil company MOL, Gabor Vakarcs.

A geologist said the prospective area spread from Potohar region, where a number of oil and gas discoveries had been made, through the Kurram Agency to Afghanistan.

A $14 million investment has so far been made on the discovery. The MOL, an oil exploration company from Budapest, is the operator of the petroleum concession block with 10 per cent shares. Government Holdings Limited (GHL) has five per cent shares.

Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) hold 30 per cent shares each, followed by 25 per cent of Pakistan Oilfields.

INFLATION GOES UP

Inflation as measured by Consumer Price Index (CPI) spiralled further by 3.59 per cent during the period July-November, 2002, as compared to the same period of previous year , according to the monthly review of price indices released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics recently.

Reflecting a recessionary situation characterized by a vertical decline in purchasing power of the people, the CPI had increased by 3.38 per cent in July-November, 2001 over the comparable period of preceding year.

The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), which monitors prices of only 51 items, surged by 4.55 per cent. This is almost double the increase (2.41pc) in SPI recorded for the same period of 2001.

Wholesale Price Index (WPI) soared by 4.22 per cent during the 5-month period under review.

SUGAR MILLS TO START CRUSHING

Sugar mills will start crushing in Sindh soon while the issue of subsidy on sugar export and sugarcane prices will be resolved by December 19 or 20.

This was agreed at a meeting between Industries and Production Minister Liaquat Ali Khan Jatoi and members of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, Sindh zone, at PIDC House here the other day.

Sugar mills owners briefed the minister about the current crisis facing sugar industry due to unnecessary import of sugar last year despite the presence of surplus stock in the country.

They said traders exported sugar worth $154 million last year when there was no need.

The minister promised sugar mills owners that the issue of subsidy on sugar export and sugarcane pricing will be decided in a meeting to be called on Dec 19 or 20. He asked PSMA to send two to three members for the meeting in Islamabad on Dec 19.

JAPAN TO UNDERTAKE $300M PROJECTS

Japan will undertake marine research and training vessel and food processing projects in Pakistan under $300 million PJBF projects for human resource development.

This was stated by director general, Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro), Osamu Mizui, during a meeting with Minister for Industries and Production Liaquat Ali Jatoi.

Mr Mizui was leading a delegation of Pakistan-Japan Business Forum (PJBF). He pointed out that Japanese government had pledged this grant in March this year for poverty reduction on the request of President Pervez Musharraf.

JATOI WANTS INDUSTRIAL UNITS SKILL UPDATED

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Liaqat Ali Jatoi has asked the state-owned industrial units to quickly comply with the requirement of international buyers and manufacture products that could attract more buyers.

He urged industrial units to expedite their research work and try to update their technological skills in order to meet the challenges of globalization as well as changing demand pattern in world markets.

During a visit to the Pakistan Machine Tool Factory (PMTF), at Landhi, Jatoi said that buyers would stop procuring locally made products if the industrial units continue to rely on old tools and designs.

FRANCE OFFERS TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR SMES

France the other day offered technical assistance to Sialkot business community for promoting small and medium enterprises (SMEs), besides offering some direct trade relations to the local exporters for easy access to France and EU trade and export markets.

This was stated by French Ambassador Yannick Gerard while addressing a seminar on small and medium industries held at SCCI, organized by SCCI and Pakistan France Business Alliance.

MICROFINANCE TAKING ROOCOUNTRY'S ECONOMY

Long acclaimed in other parts of the developing world for improving poverty through targeted lending to the poor, microfinance is finally taking root in Pakistan.

But when Ghalid Nishtar gave up his career in private banking two years ago to take the helm of what is now the leading microfinance retailer in the country, it had barely made inroads.