LOCAL CARS' SALE UP BY 50PC IN NOVEMBER
Despite rising imports of new and used
cars after the 2005-06 budget, a large number of consumers continue to prefer
locally assembled cars, which witnessed 50 per cent surge in sales in November,
2005 to 11,749 units, from 7,831 units in the same month last year.
Car sales, during July-November 2005,
rose by 28 per cent, to 58,859 units, from 46,047 units in the same period of
2004, industry sources revealed.
A major jump was seen in sales of Indus
Motors (makers of Toyota Corolla and Daihatsu Cuore) in November 2005, rising by
100 per cent, to 3,600 units from 1,790 units, in 2004, followed by 62 per cent
increase in sales of Honda Atlas cars, to 2,230 units from 1,380 units, in
Sales of Dewan Farooqui Motors and Pak
Suzuki increased to 1,392 and 6,776 units, respectively, in November 2004, from
1,012 and 5,127 units, in November 2004.
A 79 per cent increase was recorded in
sales of Honda Atlas cars, during July-November 2005, to 12,317 units from 6,886
units, in the same period of 2004, while Pak Suzuki sales registered a growth of
31 per cent to 36,423 units from 27,894 units. Indus Motors Sales rose to 14,932
units from 13,640 units, while five per cent increase was witnessed in Dewan
Farooqui Motors to 5,864 units from 5,589 units in July November 2004.
The sales figures, clearly, reveal that
the consumers still prefer to buy locally assembled cars because of easy
availability of their spare parts and their re-sale value. Many prospective
buyers appear quite confused in selecting the imported cars despite having a
wide variety of choice. The re-sale factor and non-availability of spare parts,
perhaps, are the two factors that keep the new buyers at bay from the imported
ADB APPROVES $1.33BN QUAKE AID PACKAGE
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said
it had approved $1.333 billion in grants and loans for Pakistan to rebuild
quake-hit areas and for other infrastructure and development projects. The
package includes $300 million in assistance to help it restore infrastructure
and the economy in Azad Kashmir and Northwest Frontier Province, the two areas
that bore the brunt of the October quake which killed about 73,000 people.
The quake left another 70,000 severely
injured or disabled in Pakistan. More than 2.8 million people have been left
without shelter and 2.3 million are without adequate food.
The cost of reconstruction and
restoring services is estimated at $3.5 billion, the Philippines-based lender
said in a statement.
"The project aims to quickly
reverse the devastating impact of the earthquake and revive economic activity to
enable people to resume their livelihoods and return to normal life," said
Fernando Garcia, an ADB transport specialist.
By far the largest component of the
total aid package is a multi-tranche financing facility (MFF) of up to $770
million and a related three million-dollar loan to upgrade the country's highway
"The MFF structure, the first to
be used in ADB's operations and in Pakistan, was deemed most appropriate to meet
the government's long-term needs, as it provides a flexible facility that
combines large-scale financing with promotion of reforms and adherence to
safeguard and oversight requirements," said ADB transport specialist Allan
The MFF assistance can be used over 10
years, during which individual financing requests will be converted into
separate loans. Most of them are expected to be at market rates.
ECNEC APPROVES RS183.6BN PROJECTS
The Executive Committee of the National
Economic Council has approved 29 development projects with an estimated cost of
The projects will be executed in the
next fiscal year as part of the Public Sector Development Programme-2006-07.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz presided
over the meeting which approved 24 new projects at a total cost of Rs157.3
billion, including a foreign exchange component of Rs87.8 billion.
It approved five old projects with an
increased cost of Rs26.3 billion having foreign exchange component of Rs3.3
billion instead of their original cost of Rs23.9 billion.
Ecnec also approved incorporation of a
disclosure clause in the procurement contracts to be awarded by the federal and
provincial governments to identify taxable money and the element of corruption.
Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr
Akram Sheikh told journalists after the meeting that the projects approved by
Ecnec included 17 infrastructure projects with an estimated cost of Rs118.2
billion, including foreign exchange component of Rs68.5 billion.
PAKISTAN JOINS CAIRNS GROUP
Pakistan has joined the Cairns Group
representing agriculture exporting countries belonging to developed and
developing nations in the ministerial meeting of the group, thus becoming 18th
The group brings together developed and
developing countries from Latin America, Africa and Pacific Asia region. It has
been an influential voice in the agriculture reform debate since its formation
in 1986, and has continued to play a key role in pressing the WTO members to
meet in full the far-reaching mandate set in Doha.
Pakistan is an important producer,
importer and exporter of agriculture products, and the sector is the main source
of national employment, because over 70 per cent of its population depends on
agriculture and lives in rural areas. Along with other Cairns members, Pakistan
will have a vital role to play, because it has been given the role of
facilitator in the non-agriculture market access (NAMA) group.
PROJECT TO COST RS784M
A Sindh disaster management agency is
being set up for putting in place in the next five years a comprehensive
disaster management plan at a total cost of over Rs784 million of which more
than 50 per cent - Rs434 million - will go towards staff salaries, allowances,
vehicles and office equipment.
However, the setting up of this agency
depends on availability of 90 per cent fund from a donor or the federal
government, as the Sindh government would be able to set aside only 10 per cent
cost. The current fiscal year's ADP provides Rs12 million for this purpose.
BRIGHT PROSPECTS FOR CEMENT EXPORT
There are enormous opportunities for
export of cement to the UAE market where construction activity is at its peak in
cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. "In this respect, cement intake in the UAE
can further add 3 per cent to 5 per cent, on an average, in the overall demand
generating for the local cement producers," said analyst Anwar Ahmed Khan
in the Capital One Research report.
Cement sector analysts, at almost all
research houses, have mentioned that the sector is undergoing an era of enormous
growth, where total dispatches for the first five months (July-November) of
2005-06, increased by 11.9 per cent. In numeric terms, total cement dispatches
of the industry stood at 7.23 million tons, as compared to the corresponding
period sales level of 6.46 million tons. The Local consumption of the commodity
surged by 13.7 per cent to 6.58 million tons from the preceding year's level of
5.78 million tons.
UN SEEKS $45M FOR SURVIVORS
The United Nations said that $45
million was urgently required to provide thermal protection to some 1.9 million
earthquake survivors living below the snowline of 5,000 feet (1,524 metres).
The amount required includes the cost
of transportation and distribution of relief items.
"Now our focus is on people below
the snowline and those who aren't living in tent camps. And we estimate that
about 1.9 million people live in those areas," UN humanitarian coordinator
Jan Vandermoortele told at a press briefing.
RAIL FARES RAISED
The Pakistan Railways has added a fuel
surcharge of up to Rs30 per ticket in its fares, effective from December 15.
According to railways officials, the surcharge would be charged at a rate Rs15
on a journey of 51 to 100 kilometres. From 101km to 500km, the surcharge would
be Rs25 and Rs30 from 501km and beyond. No surcharge would be charged on a
journey less than 50 kilometres.
SUGAR PRICE RISES
Taking advantage of the city
government's negligence, retailers and wholesalers have further raised the price
of sugar by Rs1.5 per kg during the last three days, setting the commodity price
at Rs32 per kg as compared to Rs26.50 last week. A total increase of Rs5.50 per
kg has been registered during the last week.
7PC GDP GROWTH MAY NOT BE ACHIEVED
The government is unlikely to achieve
its 7 per cent GDP growth rate in 2005-06 due to a decline in cotton and
sugarcane crops and is banking more on increased electricity production and
improved performance of the banking sector to achieve the desired results.
According to a newspaper report, the
government was depending more on better than the expected rice production, good
minor crops and Wapda's less dependence on Independent Power Producers (IPPs)
for generating enhanced hydel electricity to meet, what is being termed a
"somewhat difficult 7 per cent GDP growth target".
The government is expecting 12.5-13
million cotton bales this year compared to 14.3 million of the last year. The
target for the cotton production during the current year is 15 million bales,
which, the sources said, was very difficult to achieve due to various reasons.
The reduction in cotton production will
be managed by importing roughly 2 million bales. Textile mills, which used to
consume around 9.5 million bales, are now consuming 14-15 million bales.
The 'unexpected decline' in inflation
below 8 per cent has wiped out banks' hopes to get higher return on T-bills.
Despite outflow of Rs4.2 billion from the money market, the rates slipped
further on Tuesday indicating the presence of substantial liquidity. The SBP
carried out another open market operation (OMO), the fifth since December 7, and
mopped up Rs4.2 billion at a much lower rate of 7.65pc.
EOIS FOR SNGPL SHARES INVITED
The Privatization Commission (PC) has
invited Expressions of Interest (EoI) from strategic investors to divest 51 per
cent shareholding in Sui Northern Gas Company Ltd (SNGPL), said a statement.
SNGPL offers significant potential for
and earnings growth to an investor with the resources and expertise to operate
gas transmission, distribution, wholesale and retail bossiness.
HIGHER PAYMENTS PUSH DOLLAR RATES
Heavy buying of greenback by the State
Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and banks for making payment of oil bills, profits and
dividends of companies pushed the US dollar rate in the interbank market.
Currency dealers said that the last
three sessions witnessed heavy buying of the US dollars, which escalated its
demand and pushed the rates from Rs59.79 to Rs59.90.
GAS CUT HITS TEXTILE UNITS
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL)
stopped supply to about 40-42 captive power plants (CPP) for an indefinite
period in Sheikhupura and on Sheikhupura-Faisalabad and Gujranwala roads on
Thursday last, forcing closure of industrial units in the area.
INDUS MOTOR PROFIT
Indus Motor Company reported 27 per
cent growth in its 1QFY06 profit after-tax (PAT) of Rs466 million, compared to
Rs368 million earned in the same quarter last year. In an analysis of 1QFY06
accounts issued on Thursday by stock brokerage firm First Capital Equities
Limited, analysts noted that sales of the company grew by 9 per cent to Rs7.1bn
for 1QFY06 against Rs6.5bn for the same time the previous year. The company has
current capacity to produce 37,000 units per annum and it plans to enhance
capacity to 50,000 units per annum by the end of current fiscal.
MAURITIUS KEEN TO IMPORT MOLASSES,
Mauritius Foreign Minister Anil
Kumarasingh Gayan has showed interest in importing molasses and ethanol from
Pakistan. He stated this in a meeting with Commerce Minister Humayun Akhtar Khan
at the sideline of the ministerial conference.
An official said both the ministers
also discussed issues of mutual interests, specifically enhancing trade between
the two developing countries.
Fauji Foundation, which holds 52 per
cent shares in Fauji Cement Company Ltd (FCCL), intends to divest its entire
stake in the company. Fauji Foundation through a public announcement invited
Expressions of Interest (EoIs) from prospective buyers asking them to submit
EoIs latest by January 10, 2006 to be able to participate in the bidding
HBL OFFERS JOBS WITH VSS
Habib Bank has once again introduced
Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) for Non-Clerical staff but made it different
by offering them alternative jobs with shares holding of companies the Bank will
buy in future.
This is the first time such a scheme
has been offered in Pakistan by any organization with an option of alternative