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Pakistan on its way to econ reform!!!!!

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    Pakistan on its way to econ reform!!!!!

    Two articles from the Dawn and then my comments:

    Pakistan to export wheat to Afghanistan

    By Our Correspondent

    ISLAMABAD, May 20: Afghanistan for, the first time, has started wheat import from Pakistan at "the government -to-government" level and the latter has exported 15,000 tons of the commodity, worth about Rs8 million, to its neighbor.

    High-level sources said it was also for the first time that Pakistan had exported wheat from its indigenous resources. The sources in the federal government claimed on Saturday that Pakistan was also likely to export wheat to Zimbabwe. They said the export of wheat at the government level was a major achievement for Pakistan as in the past it had been pressing Afghan authorities to import the commodity through legal channels. But Afghanistan had always been reluctant to use these official arrangements for various reasons, including smuggling of the commodity.

    Pakistan has recently tightened security at the border to check wheat and flour smuggling to Afghanistan. The sources said Afghanistan was facing drought-like situation for the last couple of years and had almost no wheat to feed its population. This had compelled it to request Pakistan for the import of 15,000 tons of wheat. The Pakistan government had accepted its request and allowed export of the required quantity of wheat.

    The sources said, however, Afghanistan would pay the cost of imported wheat in the local currency. To a question, the sources said, unlike the established practice, no L/C was opened by the Afghan government in Pakistani banks for wheat import.

    Meanwhile, the sources disclosed that the Pakistan High Commissioner to Harare had informed the government that Zimbabwe was expected to face an acute shortage of wheat. The high commissioner pointed out that Zimbabwean authorities were interested in immediate import of the commodity from Pakistan which had harvested a bumper crop of over 21 million tons.

    The Zimbabwean govt has also asked Pakistan to give specifications and price of the commodity as early as possible so that import order may be placed.

    Pakistan Steel to avail of Chinese offer

    By Faraz Hashmi

    ISLAMABAD, May 20: Federal government has decided to avail a Chinese offer of 1.5 billion dollar investment for expansion of Pakistan Steel (PS) after stabilizing precarious financial health of the mills, Dawn reliably learnt.

    Chairman Pakistan Steel, Lt Col (retd) M. Afzal Khan on Saturday gave a detailed briefing to Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf about the strategy evolved by the new management to restructure the finances of the PS. He also explained the new financial formula worked out by the management in consultation with the banks for repayment of Rs. 19 billion outstanding loans of the PS.

    An official present at the briefing said that the Pakistan Steel would start re-payments to the banks from the next financial year. The liabilities of the PS would be cleared in 12 installments, he claimed.

    The PS chairman said at the briefing that Pakistan Steel had to pay Rs. 2 billion every year to Habib Bank, National Bank and Allied Bank on account of service charges for loans which were acquired at the time of construction of the mills. "Once the mills start repaying the loans, its financial health will start improving," he said. Chinese government at a recent meeting of Pakistan-China Joint Economic Commission in Beijing had offered to arrange a total of $1.5 billion for expansion of Pakistan Steel.

    As regard the over-staffing problem of the PS, the source said no compulsory retrenchment would be carried out but only those employees who would voluntarily accept the package would be laid off. There are around 20,500 employees in the PS against the sanctioned strength of 15,000 employees. The chairman also spelt out a number of measures being adopted to make Pakistan Steel a profit making organization, a press release said.

    The chairman said that the new management was laying emphasis on the procurement of local raw material. By encouraging local supplies of raw material, the mills dependence on imports would be reduced and help save foreign exchange. The mills was also adopting strict financial discipline besides ensuring implementation of rules and procedures in respect of good and transparent management, he said.

    An effort was also being made to reduce cost of production by improving logistic support, higher productivity yields, improved consumption ratios and energy conservation.

    Minister for Finance Shaukat Aziz, Minister for Commerce and Trade Abdul Razzak Dawood, Minister for Labour and Manpower Umer Asghar Khan, Secretary General Finance Moin Afzal, Secretary Industries Abu Shamim Arif and Chairman Central Board of Revenue and other senior civil and military officers were also present at the meeting.

    My comments:
    This is great.
    We are selling food to ZIM and Afghan while there is a drought situation in pakistan.
    I am not being sarcastic here.
    Selling the wheat to earn foriegn exchange is an excellent chance and we should grab what ever we can.
    But we must make sure that we have enough for our people.
    I read an article 2 or 3 days ago in the dawn which stated that NWFP needed more wheat than it had recieved.
    Now this is my question to the guys living in pakistan - do we have enough for our people that we can export??????
    And as usual our strongest allies china are forgoing international presure to help us out with a 40 billin rps investment in the country.
    And with that the restructuring development of our steel mill.
    I say the CE is doing good work for just 6 months into his job.
    You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!