MUSHARRAF URGES PLAN FOR ISLAMIC
President General Pervez Musharraf has
urged the Muslim leaders to work out a strategy for Islamic revival and
renaissance, and proposed a mandatory contribution by each member state for
scientific and technological advancement. He asked extremists to shun violence.
In a wide-ranging address at the 3rd
extraordinary summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC),
President Musharraf called for adopting a conciliatory course in the interest of
progress and prosperity of Muslim peoples.
He said that a confrontationist course
could only lead to further destruction and deprivation and exhorted the need for
a conciliatory approach for the wellbeing of the future generations.
"From this holy city of peace and
tolerance, I appeal to all extremists in our society to see reason, and shun the
path of violence, which offers no salvation and will only lead to more pain and
more misery," he emphasized.
The president said that most Muslim
societies were struggling to evolve stable institutions for governance and
remained far removed from the frontiers of knowledge, education, science and
"Our economies remain fragile and
mostly dependent on raw material production. Even the rich among us are
consumers of the fruits of modernization and innovation of other advanced
nations who are shaping the direction of progress and future of the world."
Advocating mandatory contributions, he
cautioned that all dreams would remain unfulfilled if not fully backed by
collective will and adequate financial resources.
"We must commit to subscribe 0.01
per cent of our GDP which will amount to around $180 million or at least 0.005
per cent of our GDP, which works out to be $90 million," the president
VEHICLES SURPASS ALL IMPORT ITEMS
Contrary to the general perception it
was not textile machinery but the cost of vehicles that topped the category of
machinery import in terms of value over the last two years, the break-up of the
import bill revealed.
The rising trend in imports of motor
vehicles surpassed all items being listed in the machinery group in terms of
value, even the textiles sector that received over $5 billion investment in the
last four years.
The current fiscal year 2005-06 is
again stretched with import bills of motor vehicles as in the last three months
the total import was 89 per cent higher than the textile sector.
Textile machinery bills for three
months were $191.215 million while that of motor vehicles were $361.187 million.
The auto sector has been booming for
the last three years and was among the top performing sectors of the economy but
its role looks negative as far as the widening trade deficit is concerned.
Machinery group is the highest user of
the foreign exchange and was the main reason for the country's widening gap in
balance of payment.
The rising trend in imports of motor
vehicles was noticed in 2002-03 when the import of this sector was just close to
the import bills of textile machinery. In 2003-04, imports of motor vehicles
reached $625.7 million while textile machinery, which increased to $597 million,
still remained below the auto sector.
In the fiscal year 2004-05, imports of
motor vehicles reached close to $1 billion, giving red signals to economic
managers facing immense pressure to meet the growing challenge of increasing
balance of payment problem.
The first three months of the current
fiscal has already indicated the trend (average per month import $120 million)
and it might cross the $1 billion mark by the end of the year. The country
expects a trade deficit of $6 billion this year, which is just close to the
import bill of machinery group the previous year ($5.8 billion in 2004-05).
NEW BUYER TO INVEST $800M IN KESC
KESC chief executive office Frank
Scherschmidt has said the new management will invest $800 million to increase
its power generation capacity. Talking to a three-member delegation of the FPCCI
committee on public utilities, he promised them that load-shedding problems
would be over by March 2006.
The overhauling of machinery is being
done on priority basis to do away with the voltage fluctuation. He said problems
being faced by the consumers would be resolved in the next three months, says an
FPCCI press release.
About litigation cases of defaulters,
he said the out-of-court settlement committee, which functioned previously with
the representation from KESC and the private sector and consumers, had the
option for an amicable settlement outside the court. He assured the delegation
that the committee would be reactivated.
Mr Scherschmidt said consumer centres
on the type of call centres would be set up in various parts of the city,
including the FPCCI head office, to provide various facilities to the consumers.
Regarding the relief package for
overdue bills of KESC, he said the package for common man was under
BANKS SEEK HIGHER RETURN ON T-BILLS
The State Bank could not raise the
liquidity it targeted through the selling of treasury bills mainly because the
banks were asking for higher return.
The SBP had set a target of Rs35
billion through the auction of T-bills and wanted to pick up the whole inflows
of Rs35 billion but the bidders (banks) were not ready to purchase the bills at
the prevailing prices.
Following the tight monetary policy,
the SBP refused to sell the T-bills at any higher prices and rejected all bids
of 3 and 6 months maturity.
However, the bids offered were below
the target and total bids reached Rs34.472 billion. Bids offered for 3-month
started from 8.1 per cent to 8.29 per cent while the 6-month T-bills received
offers at 8.29 per cent to 8.55 per cent. These rates were higher than the
prevailing rates which prompted rejection from the SBP.
FREE TRADE PACT
Pakistan and China started a second
round of negotiations on free trade agreement, with a pledge to make it an
effective document giving boost to their bilateral trade and establishing a
mutually beneficial cooperative partnership.
Pakistan's side was being represented
in the meeting by a six-member delegation led by Shahid Bashir, a senior
official of the ministry of commerce.
GERMANY,UK TRYING TO RESOLVE DUMPING
Germany and Britain are trying to
resolve the issue of anti-dumping duty on Pakistani bedlinen to facilitate its
textile exports to European Union. German Ambassador Dr Gunter Mulack disclosed
this during a meeting of the 30-member businessmen delegation from his country
with Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Mian Shafqat Ali.
Former LCCI President Mian Misbahur Rehman also attended the meeting.
He said that the German businessmen
were visiting Pakistan to explore the possibility of investment and joint
ventures. A German group has already finalized an agreement with a business
concern for setting up business in Karachi.
Economic relations between Germany and
Pakistan have strengthened following a number of high-level business visits
carried out recently , the ambassador added.
HBFC TO OPEN OFFICES IN 35 TOWNS
The House Building Finance Corporation
(HBFC) has appointed 50 service agents for opening up new representative offices
in small towns and tehsils to extend its lending activities to those areas which
hitherto could not obtain financial assistance from the corporation.
In the first phase, 35 small cities and
towns would benefit by getting prompt service from these agents appointed by the
HBFC for opening of representative offices. This will take the total number of
the HBFC network to over 100 branches.
During 53 years of its existence, the
HBFC opened 58 district offices in cities and major towns. But it was always
felt that the people in far-flung areas have to travel long distances to obtain
financial assistance from the Corporation.
EXPORT CARGO RATES REDUCED
The Sialkot Dry Port Trust has reduced
the bonded cargo transport rates by Rs6,000 and Rs3,000 for a 40-ft and 20-ft
container respectively. The new rates reduced under a special package of
incentives for exporters will come into effect from December 10.
NIT TO BE SPLIT FOR SELL-OFF
The National Investment Trust (NIT) -
Pakistan's largest mutual fund that holds Rs75 billion under management - would
be split into six parts, three would be distributed to three banks - Faysal
Bank, Bank of Punjab and National Bank of Pakistan - that hold the letter of
comfort (LoC) and the remaining would be put on public auction.
An executive officer at the NIT
recalled that in March this year, the proposal was to split the fund into five
parts, with two going to the LoC holding institutions and three under the
hammer. Did the three institutions with LoC then ask for a bigger slice of the
GOLD PRICES ON RISE
Domestic gold prices continuing their
upward trend rose to Rs9,957 on Tuesday last from Rs9,865 per 10 grams a day
earlier owing to persistent increase in gold prices at the global level.
Consumers buying gold jewellery sets
paid Rs11,615 per tola on Tuesday as compared to Rs11,560 on Monday.
International gold prices maintained
the rising trend; touching over $510 per ounce (a 23-year record high) over
reports of inflation worries in the United States creating alarm that gold
prices may further go up in coming days.
RICE PRICES STEADY
Pakistani rice prices were steady over
the past week, but dealers said prices could come down in coming weeks because
of low exports and rising stocks.
"Domestic prices have fallen in
the last few weeks, but steadies slightly as some growers held back supplies to
support the market," a Karachi-based dealer was quoted as saying. "But
there have hardly been any fresh export orders, and prices are expected to ease
to attract international buyers," he said.
The Karachi Port Trust has deepened the
draught of terminals up to 11 metres of the Pakistan International Container
Terminal (PICT), allowing bigger vessels to take berth from December 1, 2005.
The KPT has carried out the required dredging through its own resources and
planned to extend this facility to container carriers call at the PICT, says a
ATMS: SBP GUIDELINES
The State Bank has developed detailed
guidelines for account holders using debit, credit or smart cards and advised
them that after darkness, only use ATMs that are well-lighted. The SBP in its
dozen advices asked all banks to provide maximum information to card-holders for
their protection, theft of cards and cash robbery.
The rising frauds against card-holders
and increasing hacking problem in case of internet transactions have created
serious problems for the account holders. The robberies against the ATM card
holders especially when they draw cash from the machines, has turned into a
serious law and order problems.
EOIS INVITED FOR LTM MACHINERY
The Privatization Commission has
invited expressions of interest (EoIs) for the sale of assets, including plant,
machinery and equipment of Lasbella Textile Mills (LTM), a project of Iran
Pakistan Industries (Pvt) Limited (IPI).
The interested parties have been asked
to apply along with a non-refundable processing fee latest by December 31. The
parties submitting the EoIs will be given the list of machinery.
The parties can inspect the machinery
on any working day during office hours on prior appointment with Privatization
Commission or Iran Pakistan Industries, Karachi.
The machinery, to be sold on 'as is
where is' basis, is part of fully integrated units of 50,000 spindles and 1,100
looms with complete dyeing and finishing facilities. The plant was set up in
1976 and started production in January 1980 but was closed down in 1983.
A pre-bid conference will be
tentatively held in the last week of January 2006 for better understanding of
the transaction and bidding process.
PLASTIC RAW MATERIAL PRICES UP
The rising trend in prices of raw
material for plastic goods in the international market is expected to adversely
affect the local market where its price has already surged from Rs4 to Rs5 per
pound, Pakistan Consumer Traders Association chairman Muhammad Haroon Agar was
quoted as saying.
He said the raw material for plastic
had risen to $180-$200 per ton and no order had so far been placed by Pakistani
importers during this week. This raw material is being sold in the international
market at $980 to $1,000 per ton after declining by $200, but the international
market again entered into the bullish zone where the price bounced back to
$1,150 to $1,200 per ton.