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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Dec 31, 2001 - Jan 06, 2002

Hydel power project at AJK

A private sector company would initiate work on a 79-megawatt hydel power project in Azad Kashmir sometime in the middle of next year as Wapda has signed the power purchase tariff with it recently.

The New Bong Escape project, having an estimated cost of $100 million (Rs6 billion), would be constructed on New Bong canal at downstream of Mangla Dam in district Mirpur by Lariab Energy Ltd (LEL) in collaboration with a French company, Alstom Power Company, LEL chairman Haji Aziz Mohammad Khan told newsmen on Monday.

He said the MoU to this effect was signed by Wapda chairman Lt-Gen Zulfiqar Ali Khan and LEL chief executive Khalid Faizi at Wapda House, Lahore, last week.

Haji Aziz said that multinational construction companies were being invited to participate in the bid for the construction of the project and added that the project was scheduled to become operative by the end of 2005.

Elaborating the salient features of the gigantic project, first of its kind being launched by a private-sector concern in AJK, he pointed out it was the first hydel IPP (Independent Power Producer) in the country which had successfully negotiated power purchase tariff with Wapda under the hydel power policy of the government of Pakistan.

It was also the first agreement signed between Wapda and any hydel IPP at a very economical rate of 3.336 cents per unit for the project life of 25 years. After this, the project would automatically be transferred to Wapda free of cost, he added.

Mr Khan said the project would prove a major breakthrough in the field of hydel power generation in Azad Kashmir and would open new vistas for the local and foreign investments by the intending private-sector entrepreneurs in the trade and industrial sector in the liberated territory following the supply of electricity to the consumers at extremely cheaper rates.

Bright potentials were already identified in various parts of AJK for small and medium-size hydel power projects following the availability of abundant water flows in the mountainousterrain of Azad Kashmir for the generation of over 5,000 mw hydel electricity.

White sugar output down by 48pc

A drastic fall of 48 per cent in white refined sugar production has been recorded since the start of new crushing season from the second week of last month.

According to the figures issued by the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA), only 95,550 tons of white refined sugar had been produced up to Nov 30, as against 185,094 tons production achieved in the corresponding period last year.

Delay in start of new crushing season particularly by the Punjab sugar mills owing to a 'price war' over cane between the millers and growers has been the reason for decline in production.

Much of the production had been achieved by the Sindh sugar mills, where 65,993.91 tons have been produced by 21 mills. The new crushing season almost started in the second week of last month.

NFC award not likely this year

Neither the National Finance Commission nor the Provincial Finance Commission of Sindh is coming out with any award of resource distribution between the federation and the provinces and between the 16 districts and the provincial governments before the end of this year.

The Sindh government has notified the mandate of the Provincial Finance Commission to work out inter-governmental revenue sharing mechanism between the province and the district by December 2001.

Industrialization slows down in Sindh

A process of de-industrialization has set in in Sindh for the last two years, which has shrunk the services sector, eroded revenue generation capacity and pushed up unemployment in the province to alarming levels.

Official survey reports a negative industrial production growth of 5.66 per cent in Sindh during 99-00. It reports an insignificant growth of 2.64 per cent in 00-01 when national industrial production growth rate is claimed to be about 8 per cent.

It is only 0.08 per cent in the first quarter (July- September 01) of this fiscal year. The recent report of State Bank of Pakistan on economic performance for the first quarter of this fiscal says the national industrial growth is five per cent plus.

With this negative growth trend, the industrial employment in July-September 01 is down by three per cent. During the last fiscal (00-01), industrial employment in Sindh was negative by almost 6 per cent.

Gas supply from Miano delayed

The gas supply from Miano to the distribution system of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has been delayed for the second time as some foreign operators of the Austrian company OMV are yet to land in Pakistan.

The initial gas supply of 30 mmcfd from the field near Sukkur, which was due to be linked with the distribution system of the SSGC from October, had been postponed due to sudden departure of foreign staff in September. The supply would gradually be increased to 87 mmcfd.

Cotton estimates maintained at 10.4m bales

The 5th meeting of the Cotton Crop Assessment Committee has maintained its earlier estimates for cotton production during the current season at 10.4 million bales.

The meeting was chaired by the Advisor to the Chief Executive on Food, Agriculture and Livestock, M Shafi Niaz, at Pakistan Central Cotton Committee, on Saturday.

It was largely attended by the representatives of all the related public and private sector organizations/agencies, including the directors of the Federal/ Provincial Research Institutes, officials of the Provincial Crop Reporting Services, Federal Bureau of Statistics, Trading Corporation of the Pakistan, chairman Aptma, PCGA, Director KCA and the grower members from Sindh and Punjab.