Feb-18 24, 2002
Large scale units to grow during January-June
Mounting demands for food items, construction material and a
host of other goods from Afghanistan is expected to improve the performance of
large scale manufacturing in the second half of this fiscal year.
In the first half of fiscal 2001-02 many sub-sectors of large
scale manufacturing had shown dismal performance.
Cooking oil and ghee makers say supply of these items to
Kabul has been in full swing after the fall of Taliban in October. They hope
that the supply would rise further once the government puts in place the
procedure for offering a fixed rebate on exports to Afghanistan. The government
had announced to offer this rebate on January 17.
"We have exported thousands of tons of food items
including cooking oil and ghee to Afghanistan since October," says Amjad
Rashid — a leading cooking oil and ghee maker and international supplier of
food items. "We hope that exports of food items would rise further in the
coming months particularly if the procedure for getting duty rebate is announced
Figures for food items export to Kabul in the first half of
this fiscal year are not available but the fact that cooking oil industry has
performed well during this period can be attributed to increased export of food
items to Afghanistan.
According to Federal Bureau of Statistics, Pakistan produced
more than 63,000 tons of cooking oil in July-December 2001 keeping its growth
rate intact at 17 per cent.
Though production of vegetable ghee recorded a fall of 7.7
per cent at 385,000 tons in six months to December 2001 the country was still
able to export thousands of tons of ghee to Afghanistan.
In the past, these and other food items used to be smuggled
into land-locked country but since the induction of an interim government there
smuggling has come to a halt. That is why an increase in exports to Afghanistan
has not lowered local market supplies in cases where actual production of food
items has fallen.
Water level at Tarbela, Mangla dismal
The water level at Tarbela reservoir has dropped to 1,386
feet, only 17 feet above the dead level, forcing drastic cuts on provincial
According to the data released by Indus River System
Authority (Irsa), the dead level of Tarbela is 1,369 feet and the level recorded
on Tuesday was 1,386 feet, with an inflow of 13,100 and outflow of 22,000
When asked as to how long the storage at Tarbela would last,
an Irsa official said they would try to manage with whatever water was available
in Tarbela till March 31, the last day of kharif season.
He pointed out that at an Irsa meeting on Feb 6, the
provinces were apprised of the deteriorating situation and they had voluntarily
agreed to reduce their indents. "We are hoping that the situation after
March 31 will improve as substantial snowfall has been reported in the Northern
Areas," he added.
Inflation rises in seven months
Inflation rate based on Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI),
Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Wholesale Price Index (WPI) during the first
seven months of this fiscal, July-January 2001-2002 , surged by 2.09 per cent,
2.53 per cent and 2.53 per cent, respectively, over the corresponding period of
Official figures released by Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS)
on Thursday, showed the inflation increased by 5.35pc, 4.88pc and 6.71pc during
2000-2001 in comparison with the period of 1999-2000.
And in 1999-2000, the rate of inflation increased by 1.84pc,
3.37pc and 1.53pc, respectively, over the same period of 1998-99.
ADB to provide $650m for four uplift projects
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $650 million
for four new uplift projects during 2002.
Sources said on Tuesday, the bank had initially finalised
funding for four development schemes which included Capital Market Follow up
Loan ($250m), Sindh Rural Development Loan ($50m), Devolution Support Programme
Loan ($250m), and Districts Schools Management Loan ($100m).
There were about six more loans to be finalised out of $1
billion assistance lined up by the ADB for this year.
Moody's, Standard laud reform
The credit rating agencies — Moody's and the Standard and
Poor — on Monday expressed their continued faith in Pakistan's economic reform
package in their meetings with Pakistan's Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz.
The Standard and Poor in January announced that Pakistan's
foreign currency ratings are "B-(minus)/Stable/B" and Moody's is
determined that Pakistan's economic outlook became positive from negative.
Consumers' power subsidy restored
The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has
restored, at its own, the subsidy to domestic consumers exceeding 1,000 units
monthly power consumption with retrospective effect from Aug 8, 2001.
Brig Waseem Zafar told that in response to the public
sufferings arising out of the withdrawal of subsidy under the National Electric
Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) directive, Wapda would itself absorb the
financial burden of around Rs280 million.
GDP growth forecast
The second quarter (Oct-Dec 2001) report released by the
ABN-AMRO Bank N.V (Pakistan) last week, 'fine-tunes' its earlier forecast of
Pakistan's expected GDP growth in financial year 2002, from a range of 2.5 to
3.1 per cent, to a new provisional range of 2.7 to 3.1 per cent.