World bank wants end to ‘unsustainable’ energy subsidies
The World Bank has made improved economic growth projections for Pakistan but sees deterioration in the external debt repayment capacity and called for urgent measures to avoid risks of running large fiscal and current account deficits. The Washington-based lender also asked Pakistan to immediately withdraw energy subsidies, terming these
“unsustainable and ineffective”. The new government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will make a decision on Friday (tomorrow) whether it wants to continue these fuel subsidies at their current levels. In the latest South Asia Economic Focus report, the Washington-based lender also reported a sharp rise in loan default cases on former prime minister Imran Khan’s Kamyab Jawan Programme. The Bank warned that Pakistan could not afford to have large external imbalances. It cautioned that rising interest rates in the developed countries could also lead to capital outflows, putting pressure on the currencies in countries grappling with high external indebtedness.
Diesel set to increase above Rs200
The price of diesel is set to cross Rs200 per litre for the first time in history on the back of soaring crude oil prices in the global market and sharp depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar. In the second fortnight of current month starting April 16, the newly formed government would be required to either jack up the price of diesel by Rs60.54 per litre or enhance subsidy to maintain the existing price, officials said. If the leadership chooses to increase the price, the per-litre diesel cost will jump to Rs204.69. Earlier, former prime minister Imran Khan announced a reduction of Rs10 per litre in petrol and diesel prices and a price freeze till the announcement of budget for 2022-23.
Telecom group seeks WHT reduction
The Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) group has urged the newly established government to cut withholding tax (WHT) in the upcoming budget. In a statement on Wednesday, PTCL Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Nadeem Khan stressed the need for continuation of the policy which the previous government embarked upon. He recalled that the previous government had announced a reduction in WHT in two phases. Giving details, he said that the government slashed WHT from 12.5 percent to 10 percent in the previous budget, while committing to reducing it further to 8.5 percent in July 2022. However, the government withdrew its decision midway and increased it again to 12.5 percent in January 2022. It caused an impact of around Rs3 billion to Ufone alone “from Rs15 billion to Rs18 billion”, he underlined.
Rice export to China rises 3.9pc in Jan-Feb
Pakistan’s rice export rose by 3.9 percent to $132.59 million in the first two months of this year, according to the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC). During the first two months (Jan-Feb) of 2022, bilateral trade has increased significantly and China imported more than 347,434 tons of different types of rice, increasing 18 percent by volume and rising to $132.5 million by worth, while last year in the same period, it was 294,240 tons worth $127.61 million. Commercial Counsellor of Pakistan Embassy in Beijing Badaruz Zaman said, “I hope this year Pakistan will achieve the target of one million tons of rice export to China and within a few years, Pakistan will be the largest rice exporter in the Chinese market”.
K-P signs pkr 7.2bn deal with banks
An agreement of Rs7.2 billion has been inked for the speedy completion of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa energy projects, said Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Finance and Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra.
“For the first time, the projects will be funded by taking loans from banks through corporate commercial financing,” Jhagra told media during the signing ceremony of the agreement between Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (PEDO) and commercial banks on Wednesday. The provincial government would start work on energy projects of 1,200 MW capacity. Jhagra stated that PEDO would start work on another 1,200 MW of energy projects over the next few years.
Chinese automobile firm to unveil first model by month end
Recently, Chery Automobile Company Limited completed the body shop trials for its Tiggo series, which is the company’s first body trial out and assembly trial out in Pakistan. This means that Chery’s first model will complete its standard operating procedure and be presented to consumers by the end of this month, after three months since production started in January. Like other Chinese brands that have invested in vehicle manufacturing factories in Pakistan, Chery is optimistic about Pakistan’s advantages in developing the auto industry.
Women entrepreneurs urged to enhance products
Women entrepreneurs of Pakistan should improve their products to move forward in economic sector, said Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) women wing convener Romana Tanveer Sheikh. Speaking at an exhibition on Tuesday, she said that women of the region were quoe industrious and promised that MCCI would continue to guide them in right direction as per their potentials. Tanveer informed the participants that exhibitions would be organised at national and international levels so that women owned businesses could make their identity in markets by polishing their products.
High policy rate threatens SMEs
The business community has termed high interest rates threat to the survival of small and medium enterprises and cited that it caused significant increase in the cost of doing business for industries. In a joint statement, Pakistan Yarn Merchants Association (PYMA) Chairman Saqib Naseem and Vice Chairman for Sindh Muhammad Junaid Teli urged the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to announce an immediate reduction in interest rates. According to them, such a decision would be in the best economic interest of the country. They urged the State Bank of Pakistan to formulate a policy that did not harm business and promoted industrial and trade activities.