May 31 - June 06, 2004  
ISSUE # 22  

The banking sector in Pakistan is going through a fast-paced transitory process. New groups are buying out Pakistan operations of foreign banks and number of listed banks is also increasing. While the income from core banking activity is increasing due to higher business volume, earnings are also expected to further improve due to venturing into consumer finance, housing finance and enhanced lending to agriculture sector. However, there are growing apprehensions about the profitability from the new businesses because of absence of any track record.



Cotton and textile products mainly dominate Pakistan's exports regime, which contributes around 68 percent of the total exports of the country.
After the textile products, the other prominent contributors are Rice, Leather and Leather garments. At present, Leather and Leather products, however, have assumed the role second largest contributors by fetching $735 million during the current financial year.

The Central Excise Duty (CED) currently levied on 11 items is likely to be abolished or may be restricted to a few items only in the federal budget 2004-05. CED is to be abolished by the government in line with its policy to reduce the number of federal taxes as well as to avoid double taxation on certain items.