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Tax the rich to protect the poor, IMF tells Pakistan

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has advised Pakistan to tax the wealthy and protect the poor.

Speaking to a Pakistani private media channel after her meeting with Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Thursday, Georgieva said “what we are asking in our programme is that please collect more taxes from the wealthy and please protect the poor people of Pakistan”.

Her comments come amid soaring inflation in Pakistan after the country secured a last-minute bailout from the Fund last July.

“Of course, it is difficult but Pakistan has to do it in line with the IMF programme as we stand by the people of Pakistan,” she said.

Highest inflation in Pakistan

Pakistan’s economy stands out as an outlier in Asia, according to a new report that predicts the country will have the highest inflation rate but the fourth lowest economic growth rate among all 46 economies in the region.

The Asia Development Outlook, the flagship publication of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has slightly revised downward the economic growth forecast to 1.9 percent, but it has significantly increased the inflation projection to 25 percent for the current fiscal year.

The Report anticipates further increases in interest rates and calls for a fiscal consolidation plan that includes limited spending on defence and energy subsidies.

Defaulters owe Discos over pkr 2 trillion

The Government appears to be highly concerned about the runaway circular debt that amounts to a staggering Rs2.3 trillion but habitual defaulters have caused no less damage to the power sector as they owe over Rs2 trillion.

These Defaulters have widespread influence and are still receiving electricity from power distribution companies (DISCOs), though they have not paid bills since long.

The Government has only been able to reduce electricity supplies to such customers so that DISCOs could somewhat curtail their losses.

In addition, independent power producers (IPPs) are receiving billions of rupees in capacity payments while the government is shielded from political backlash through an increase in consumer bills.

According to the Power Division, the consumers will be paying Rs1.3 trillion to the IPPs that will not operate during the current financial year.

In 2023 rice exports expected to exceed $3 billion

The Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) expressed optimism on Wednesday, stating that rice exports for the current year are expected to surpass the record $3 billion mark, marking a significant boost to the country’s economy.

Chairman of REAP, Chela Ram Kewlani, shared this positive outlook, attributing the anticipated growth in rice exports to improved rice crop production during the current year, especially when compared to the previous year. In 2021-22, the rice crop had suffered substantial losses due to devastating floods, resulting in a decline in rice exports.

Highlighting the significance of exploring new markets in emerging regions, Kewlani emphasised that while the government provides support to rice exporters, high tariffs imposed by various countries have posed challenges to the industry. He called for the negotiation of agreements with these countries to facilitate smoother rice exports.

United Arab Emirates bans meat imports from Pakistan via sea

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has banned the import of frozen meat from Pakistan through sea route after allegedly finding fungus in a consignment of meat.

The Meat consignment had been sent by a Karachi-based company by sea and the whole shipment was destroyed by the UAE authorities, while a ban was imposed on all further imports of frozen meat from Pakistan through maritime channels at least up till Oct 10.

However, meat exports by air will continue without any break.

Pakistan exports meat worth around $144 million per year to the UAE.

IT exporters increase hell with bankers

IT Professionals working for overseas clients unleashed a barrage of remittance-related complaints on Wednesday at a seminar attended by representatives of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and commercial banks.

Organised by the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) and the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication in collaboration with the SBP and the Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA), the seminar let IT freelancers confront officials from the banking industry on the perceived effectiveness of the regime governing inward and outward dollar payments.

Cotton production spikes 80 pc

Supported by favourable weather conditions, Pakistan’s cotton production spiked 80 percent to 3.93 million bales in the first two months of the current season, increasing the availability of the commodity to textile makers and cutting the nation’s import bill significantly during times when there is a foreign exchange reserves crisis in the country.

The Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) reported on Monday that the commodity output had stood at 2.18 million bales this time last year.

While speaking to source, the former chairman of PCGA, Jassu Mal Leemani, said the favourable weather conditions supported this high production. “Otherwise, we (farmers) have done no wonders.”

ADB trims growth viewpoint amid lingering uncertainty

While the South Asian region will be growing at 5.4 percent and maintaining single-digit inflation (at 6.6 percent), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) forecasts Pakistan limping at 1.9 percent growth rate and its population will continue reeling under elevated cost of living, reflected by a 25 percent rate, during the current fiscal year.

In its flagship Asian Development Outlook (ADO) released on Wednesday, the ADB lowered the growth rate and increased the inflation outlook for Pakistan.