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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Feb-11 - 17, 2002

Cotton output lower by 3.68pc

Despite remarkable increase in phutti (seed cotton) arrival during the last one month the production recorded up to Feb 1, 2002, still remained lower by 3.68 per cent at 9.011 million bales over the corresponding period of last year's arrival at 9.356 million bales.

The phutti arrival figures up to Feb 1, released by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners' Association, showed overall shortfall of around 0.344 million bales over last year's corresponding period.

During the last fortnight 0.587 million bales had reached ginneries (or 0.235 million bales more) as against 0.352 million bales recorded in the same period last year.

The enhanced phutti arrival during the last two fortnights helped narrow the production shortfall being recorded since the start of the new season (2001-2002), but could not altogether remove it. However, it is highly encouraging that Sindh, which had been recording a shortfall, has started receiving higher phutti arrival for the last one month. As a result, phutti arrival up to Feb 1, has risen by 5.51 per cent over the corresponding period of last year.

According to the PCGA figures, phutti arrival in Sindh during the period under review has risen to 2.146 million bales compared to 2.034 million bales of the same period last year. Nevertheless, phutti arrival into ginneries up to Feb 1, could not improve in Punjab and remained below last year's arrival by 6.23 per cent. In total 6.865 million bales have reached ginneries as against 7.322 million bales recorded in the same period last year.

There is a sizeable quantity of 1.939 million bales of unsold stocks with ginners compared to 1.572 million bales recorded in the same period last year.

The textile mills up to Feb 1, have purchased around 6.932 million bales as against 7.783 million bales they lifted in the corresponding period last year.

Economic reforms vital: president

President General Pervez Musharraf has said that the economic reform and poverty reduction strategy is the cornerstone of government's economy policies.

The government, he pointed out, has started Khushal Pakistan Programme for alleviating poverty, extended micro credit facilities, initiated Food Support Programme, and was now revamping Zakat system.

Talking to Dr Kim Hak Su, head of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) and under- secretary-general in the UN system currently here on Wednesday the president said his government was trying hard to remove poverty and provide jobs to the jobless.

The UNESCAP is the largest regional UN agency for economic and social development set up under the ECOSOC charter.

Pakistan, US to boost mly, economic ties

Pakistan and the United States have agreed to forge renewed cooperation in defence and economic fields and the issue will be finalized during President Gen Pervez Musharraf's visit to Washington.

Informed sources said on Tuesday that four major areas have been identified for increasing bilateral cooperation which include defence, new fiscal support, technical and commodity assistance and enhanced market access.

The increased cooperation in major fields is likely to result in additional $1.5bn to $2bn annual assistance including through the USAID, the offices of which have just been reopened in Islamabad after a period of about 12 years.

Tarbela gets investment offer

A US-based energy firm has offered to invest $30 million for the refurbishment and upgrading of four power generation units of the Tarbela Dam project.

Sources in the power ministry told that the company has offered to invest around $300,000 to complete the feasibility study for the refurbishment of four units in the first phase of investment.

The company Synergics Energy Development has told Wapda that it would complete the feasibility study at its own risk and cost, provided it was given the first right of refusal to upgrade the four units at a cost of around $30 million.

Pakistan to start pencillin production

Pakistan plans to begin production of penicillin with the financial assistance of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the technological cooperation of Indonesia.

This was stated by Federal Health Minister Dr Abdul Malik Kasi at the inauguration of a segregated anti-biotic manufacturing facility on Monday. The facility has been set up by Highnoon Laboratories Ltd at a cost of Rs35 million.

3 sick units revived

The Committee for Revival of Sick Industrial Units decided to revive three more industries out of 11 units whose cases were considered at its 28th meeting held at the regional headquarters of National Bank of Pakistan on Monday.

The units revived by the committee were Al-Ahmed Textile Mill, Kashmir Neelam Mills, and Pakistan Chrome Mines. The three units revived by the committee are defaulters of Habib Bank Ltd, Industrial Development Bank of Pakistan and National Bank of Pakistan, respectively.

Local machinery supply

The government has eased conditions for manufacturers of machinery locally supplied against international tenders to a project of getting the State Bank certificate and surrendering of foreign exchange.

Under the decision, now the manufacturers have been allowed to obtain certificate from any scheduled bank or an authorized dealer without surrendering foreign exchange.

Corporate farming

A group of progressive farmers and retired bureaucrats drawn from all the provinces on Monday decided to go into corporate farming to supplement the government's efforts of enhancing per acre yield of various crops.

Shaukat Khan, the convener of the meeting, with agro services background, said the meeting was convened to ponder over the ways and means to join the efforts of providing impetus to corporate farming.