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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.