Pakistan In Focus

Pakistan, Afghanistan to trade in PKR

Pakistan may trade with Afghanistan in rupee, a move that can ease the country’s burgeoning current account deficit. Minister of Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin told the Senate Standing Committee on Finance that trade with Afghanistan would be in rupee now as the new government wanted to save its dollar reserves. Commenting on the development, Pakistan Businesses Forum Vice President Ahmad Jawad said it was a good move for Pakistan’s importers too, to deal in rupee. “In a currency swap arrangement, countries that buy from each other pay in their respective currency at a pre-determined exchange rate instead of trading in US dollar. This helps save foreign exchange and strengthens their currencies.”

SBP reserves decline $123mn to $20bn

The foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank fell 0.61 percent on a weekly basis, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday. On September 3, the foreign currency reserves held by the SBP were recorded at $20,022.6 million, down $123 million compared with $20,145.6 million recorded on August 27. The decrease came on the back of external debt repayments, stated the central bank. Overall liquid foreign currency reserves held by the country, including net reserves held by banks other than the SBP, stood at $27,102.6 million. Net reserves held by banks amounted to $7,080 million.

Mobile phone exports probable to cross $1bn

Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood has voiced hope that mobile phone exports will surpass the target of $1 billion owing to incentives given by the government during current fiscal year 2021-22. Talking to members of the Pakistan Mobile Phone Manufacturers Association, he said that the only way forward was the

“Made in Pakistan” philosophy. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce on Friday, the aim of the meeting was to discuss export opportunities available to the local manufacturers and assemblers of mobile phones. The adviser highlighted the incentives offered by the government to the mobile phone industry stakeholders through the Mobile Device Manufacturing Policy 2020. It was also highlighted that additional incentives had been extended to the mobile phone industry to promote localisation in a bid to generate much-needed growth in job opportunities.

Traders laud reduce in port charges

Traders have appreciated the government for taking measures to develop the export sector and reduce port charges by 50 percent.

“We fully endorse positive efforts of the government aimed at removing impediments to export enhancement in the country,” said Towel Manufacturers Association Chairman Feroze Alam Lari in a statement on Wednesday. He praised Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood for supporting the export sector and turning Pakistani goods competitive in the international market. According to him, these measures will help boost economic activities in the country, generate employment and reduce poverty.

KE gives NOC for PSM sell-off

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has achieved a major milestone towards reviving Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation (PSMC), as K-Electric has agreed to issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) for the privatisation of Steel Corp with management control. K-Electric gave the go-ahead despite dues of around Rs2 billion owed by the mill. Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar has played a key role in achieving this milestone as he is on his maiden two-day visit to Karachi since getting the new portfolio in April this year, said an official source. Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, K-Electric Chief Executive Officer Moonis Alvi and Pakistan Steel Mills CEO Shujah Hassan Khurazmi are scheduled to hold a press conference to announce the development on Friday.

FTO directs FBR to review 103 tax credit cases

The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to re-examine 103 tax credit cases from 2014 to 2021 in light of Section 65D of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 and process the pending 281 tax credit claims. In an investigation initiated by the FTO, it was found that the authorities allowed undue tax credit to companies formed as new industrial undertakings without laying down any standard operating procedures (SOPs) for such credit allowance. The FTO has also issued a checklist for FBR’s field formations to collect complete data in each case and re-examine the same in terms of provisions of Section 65D. As per Section 65D of the ordinance, tax credit is admissible equal to 100 percent of the income tax payable on income by a new industrial undertaking for a period of five years. It was, however, observed that upon introduction of the Universal Self-Assessment Scheme (USAS), the returns of income filed by taxpayer companies automatically became assessment orders, under Section 120(1)(b) of the ordinance, on the day the same were furnished.

ECC approves 120,000 tons of wheat import

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Thursday approved a tender for procurement of 120,000 tons of wheat for building strategic reserves. On the recommendation of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, the ECC approved the tender in compliance with the directive of the cabinet to procure 4 million tons of wheat to build reserves during the ongoing fiscal year. Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin chaired the ECC meeting at the Finance Division. Meeting participants urged the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) chairman to expedite efforts for wheat import to stabilise prices and ensure a smooth supply of the commodity across the country. The committee also directed the TCP chief to present a detailed report to the Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood regarding the timeline of wheat import and other details at the earliest.

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