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IN THE NEWS
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. PAKISTAN
 

 

 

 

 
  PAKISTAN

 Oct 03 - 09, 2005

GOVT TO SUPPORT TELECOM INDUSTRY

Industries and Production Minister Jehangir Khan Tareen has said the government would extend every possible support to telecom equipment manufacturers in achieving global excellence.

He made these remarks during his visit to a two-day exhibition of "Telecom Engineering 2005" organized by the Engineering Development Board in collaboration with the Pakistan Telecom Manufacturers Association.

The minister said the government considered telecommunication and networking as strategic infrastructure in achieving the national goals.

"The unprecedented development in the telecom sector is going to generate significant engineering activity for the indigenous telecom equipment manufacturers," he added.

The minister said the telecommunication sector was in the vanguard of economic development in Pakistan at the back of revolution in IT and convergence of IT and telecommunications technologies.

Recognizing the importance of telecom equipment manufacturing sector in Pakistan, Mr Tareen said the Telecom Engineering 2005 was a commendable effort of the Engineering Development Board, which had joined hands with the private engineering sector.

He said that serious endeavour was needed to prepare the engineering sector for global competition and promote export of engineering sector and services.

The minister urged the private engineering sector to enhance their competitiveness, skill and productivity.

ETIHAD AIRWAYS OPENS OFFICE IN KARACHI

Etihad Airways, the national Airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) formally inaugurated its new office in Karachi recently .

The official reception was hosted by Etihad Airways Pakistan's Area Manager, Mr. Joost den Hartog, and Kevin Steete, Etihad's Head of Sales, at the company's new state-of-the-art workspace located in The Forum, one of Karachi's prime office locations.

Mr den Hartog said: "The new office will allow us to improve the quality of service to our guests in Karachi, a very important and strategic market in our ambitious worldwide growth plans. The new office will allow our guests easier access to flights, greater comfort in booking, and improved services and facilities, enhancing our guests complete travel experience.

"Furthermore this will offer greater opportunities to build our customer base in the Karachi region, networking with local business and the local travel trade," added den Hartog.

The new local office development is a result of rapid growth in the Karachi market since the introduction of flights direct from Abu Dhabi in November 2004. The route was developed and implemented as part of Etihad's objective to provide direct links between Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, to key business and leisure destinations worldwide.

Mr Steele higlighted that since its inception, the Abu Dhabi-Karachi route has provided a link between the booming economy of Karachi, the commercial capital of Pakistan, and the business and trade centres of the Middle East and Europe.

"This new achievement is another landmark in Etihad's vision to be a world leader in commercial aviation. It also serves as an identifiable performance indicator in the airline's award winning reputation as the world's fastest growing new airline," he added.

Etihad Airways now flies to Karachi four times a week (Tues/Thur/Sat/Sun) departing Abu Dhabi on flight EY 221 at 00:30 and arriving in Karachi at 03:40 on a Boeing 767. The outbound flight EY 222 departs Karachi at 04:55 and arrives in Abu Dhabi at 06:10 pm.

GENERAL TRADERS CELEBRATE 30 YEARS

General Traders Limited, a conglomerate of a variety of concerns that deals in diversified trading, selling and providing after sales service for a variety of products, celebrated its 30th anniversary of association with Toshiba.

Selling and providing after sales service for audio visual products, consumer imaging, healthcare products, I.T. business, office automation products and travel and recreation business, the company is the only concern in the country that has 57 years of dedicated experience in the field of office automation. And in this time, it has represented a single brand, Toshiba for the last 30 years. Of the products that General Traders deal in, they are also at the forefront of selling fax machines, personal computers and a variety of multimedia products.

As Mr. Owais Yaqub, Managing Director, General Traders said: "It has been a privilege and an honour, serving Pakistan for the past 30 years. The steady growth and the success of our enterprise is mainly due to our indepth understanding of changing markets, drawing on a rare combination of vision, experience, know-how and the spirit of our people to overcome great challenges and succeed."

PAKISTAN AMONG TOP 10 REFORMER COUNTRIES: WB

Pakistan has been declared in a recent World Bank report as top 10 reformer countries in the world, and has been ranked 60th in case of doing business list among 155 countries by the International Financial Corporation (IFC).

"We have liberalized and opened up our economy for private sector investment and provided a level-playing field to both domestic and foreign investors," said Board of Investment Chairman Waseem Haqqie at the launching ceremony of World Investment Report 2005 "Trans-national Corporation and Internationalization of R&D" at United Nations Information Centre.

Mr Haqqie said the government had adopted investment friendly policies for the promotion foreign direct investment (FDI). He said that Pakistan had attracted $152.2 billion FDI during the last financial year in five sectors of oil and gas, information technology and telecommunication, financial sector, pharmaceutical, power and construction.

OIL REFINERIES TO BE SET UP IN GWADAR

President Gen Pervez Musharraf has said that the government would set up oil refineries in Gwadar to help make it a regional trade hub and provide cost-effective fuel for sustaining the country's economic growth.

The president told a gathering of senior civil servants that his government was striving to develop gas, coal, water and alternative energy sources as part of its strategy to minimize the country's dependence on imported oil.

US PHARMA FIRMS FOR PROMPT LISTING

A five-member delegation of leading US pharmaceutical companies has suggested for early registration and pricing mechanism for innovative pharmaceutical products in Pakistan.

The delegation led by Nigel Thompson was talking to Commerce Minister Humayun Akhtar Khan.

The delegation emphasized that multinational companies draw their plans much in advance and one of the factors discouraging them in Pakistan was long registration period.

SSGC DECLARES 15PC CASH DIVIDEND

Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) declared a cash dividend of 15 per cent i.e. Rs1.50 per share for the financial year ended June 30, 2005. The company earned an after tax profit of Rs1.013 billion as compared to Rs0.997 billion the previous year.

The board was informed that during the year under review, company's gross sales increased to Rs62.51 billion as compared to Rs54.45 billion in 2003-04, up by 15 per cent. Gas sales volume grew to 337,638 mmcf as compared to 318,068 mmcf the previous year, showing a rise of six per cent. The increase in volume was mainly on account of increased demand from the cement, fertilizer and other industries as well as domestic customers.

PTCL TRANSACTION

The government has granted an extension to Etisalat of the UAE till October 28, 2005 to complete the transaction of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited and take over the entity.

The request for extension was made by an Etisalat delegation led by its chief executive officer at a closed-door meeting with Privatization and Investment Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh held on September 26.

The request was formally accepted by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in view of difficulties being faced by Etisalat in completing the financial requirements owing to re-composition of its board of directors and some other post-privatization conditionalities, a senior official at the Privatization Commission told Dawn.

TAX-TO-GDP RATIO HIT RECORD LOW

The tax-to-GDP ratio has touched its lowest level at 9 per cent during the year 2004-05 from 9.4 per cent a year ago, according to the CBR quarterly review report.

CBR Member Fiscal Research and Statistics Dr Ather Maqsood Ahmad in the report said that the Central Board of Revenue was facing the declining trend in the overall tax-to-GDP ratio particularly in the two leading taxes - income and corporate taxes and sales tax. "There are valid reasons to justify low level of tax-to-GDP ratio, it is rather difficult to rationalize the fall," he added.

'PAKISTAN ATTRACTING FOREIGN INVESTMENT'

With a vastly improved and stable investment climate, a number of foreign investors, especially from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf are now exploring ventures in Pakistan, Arif Habib of Arif Habib Securities Limited told a select gathering of Pakistani professionals.

Already the Al-Tuwairki Group of Dammam is proceeding ahead with the setting up of a steel plant in Karachi at a cost of $250 million. They are also seeking investments in other sectors of industry and real estate development in various places in Pakistan. The local Al-Tamimi Group is also proceeding ahead with a $250 million real estate development project in Islamabad.

YIELDS ON TREASURY BILLS REMAIN FLAT

The yields on treasury bills remained flat at an auction on Wednesday, and bankers said with inflationary pressures easing, the central bank was unlikely to increase the rates.

Both the cut-off yield and the weighted average yields on the benchmark six-month T-bills remained unchanged at 8.1388 per cent at the auction, the central bank said.

The State Bank of Pakistan also kept the cut-off yield on the three-month and 12-month T-bills unchanged at 8.1000 per cent and 8.7907 per cent, respectively.

The weighted average annual yield on the three-month paper also remained flat at 8.1000 per cent, however, the average yield on the 12-month paper fell slightly to 8.7896 per cent from 8.7907 per cent previously.

UREA SALES UP BY 14PC

According to the data released by National Fertilizer Development Centre (NFDC), year-to-date (Jan-August) urea off-take stood at 3,320 Kt - 13.84 per cent higher than the corresponding period last year.

Analyst at Arif Habib Securities, Hasnain Imam stated in his report on the sector that the urea off-take during August 2005 showed marginal increase of 0.7 per cent to 452 Kt while DAP off-take during the month jumped by 7 per cent to 114 Kt.

Similarly, year-to-date DAP off-take showed a significant jump of 33.40 per cent to 619 Kt. The average retail prices of urea witnessed a marginal decline of 0.7 per cent to Rs506.7 per bag while the average prices of DAP surged by 2.6 per cent to Rs1,058.10 per bag. "The international prices of DAP also continued to show an upward trend as the average price of 'Bulk US Gulf' at the end of the month rose to $263 per ton", said the analyst, adding: "The continuous increase in prices of DAP bodes well for Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim (FFBL) which is the only manufacturer of DAP in the country and fulfils around 35 per cent of the country's need for DAP".

PTCL PROFIT FALLS

The net profit of the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited fell to Rs26.6 billion during the year ended June 30, 2005 compared to Rs29.2 billion it earned a year ago, showing a decline of 8.9 per cent.

RICE PRICES MAY FALL ON SUPPLY RISE

Pakistani rice prices eased over the past week amid soft demand from exporters and dealers said increasing new-crop arrivals could pull prices further down in coming days.

"There seems to be little demand from the export side so both export prices and local prices are likely to fall in the coming days," a Karachi-based dealer was quoted as saying.

Irri-6 varieties were quoted between Rs1,240 and Rs1,260 for a 100-kg bag, compared with Rs1,300 and Rs1,305 the previous week. Traders quoted at $225/$228 for exports this week from $233/234 earlier in the month.

Pakistan expects a crop of more than five million tons - higher than last year's 4.8 million tons. Annual domestic consumption is about 2.3 million tons.

 
 

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