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Experts seek proper energy infrastructure

Speakers at a conference titled “Renewing Pakistan’s Energy Vision” hosted by Pakistan-based think tank Renewables First (RF) called for a more sustainable and inclusive energy landscape in Pakistan, emphasising the need for an evidence-based, long-term approach.

The Conference challenged conventional energy narratives and dispelled myths related to renewable energy. Renewables First’s Basit Ghauri underscored the urgency of adopting a data-driven and unbiased approach to expedite Pakistan’s energy transition.

Experts spotlighted issues causing wind curtailment and capacity surplus in the power sector, stressing the importance of proper transmission infrastructure. Wind Expert, Fozan Waheed, noted that curtailment undermines renewable energy objectives, while Aqeel Jafri, Director (Policy) at Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB), emphasised, “No transition is possible without proper transmission.”

Textile exports continue downward spiral

Pakistan’s textile sector, a key contributor to export revenues, continues to face a negative trajectory in the third month of the fiscal year 2023-24, with a month-on-month decrease of 12 percent.

Provisional data released by the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) on Wednesday revealed that textile exports for September 2023 amounted to $1.35 billion, compared to $1.53 billion in the same month of the previous year.

Throughout the calendar year, textile exports have been following a negative trend, witnessing an 18 percent decline. They amounted to $11.90 billion compared to $14.53 billion in the corresponding months.

For the first quarter of the current fiscal year, textile exports dropped by 10 percent, totalling $4.12 billion, in contrast to $4.53 billion in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year.

1.0 pc rate hike adds PKR 600 bn to debt cost

A senior official from the finance ministry claimed, on Wednesday, that a 1 percent increase in the interest rate adds a whopping Rs600 billion in annual debt servicing costs. If accurate, this figure could have a significant impact on this fiscal year’s budget.

This Revelation was made during a session of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, which also requested a report from the central bank regarding the relationship between interest rate increases and a slowdown in the inflation rate.

Chaired by Senator Saleem Mandviwalla of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, the standing committee criticised the central bank’s policy of curbing inflation by raising the monetary policy rate as “ineffective,” citing heavy losses incurred by businesses.

The Government’s debt servicing cost increases by Rs600 billion with a 100 basis point increase in the monetary policy rate, said Amjad Mehmood, the additional secretary of the Ministry of Finance.

In winning run, rupee stands below 285/$

Pakistani currency is displaying strong signs of maintaining its powerful rally as on Wednesday it smoothly surpassed the much talked about resistance level of Rs285 against the US dollar to a new three-month high in the inter-bank market.

According to central bank’s data, the rupee notched up fresh gains of 0.37 percent, or Rs1.04, and reached Rs284.68 against the greenback in a winning streak that continued for the 20th consecutive working day.

The Currency strengthened further on the back of a number of measures undertaken by the caretaker government to control foreign currency leakages under the Afghan transit trade (ATT) mechanism.

The Interim administration on Tuesday banned the import of smuggling-prone goods by Afghanistan through its territory and made the import regime stringent, moving decisively to stop the damage inflicted to its economy and external sector due to the misuse of ATT.

The Rupee has cumulatively regained 7.84 percent, or Rs22.32, in the past 20 days as the supply of foreign currencies remained higher compared to their demand in the country following a crackdown on the illicit currency traders and smugglers.

Alvi calls for gender-responsive policies

President Dr Arif Alvi emphasised the importance of gender-responsive policies to empower women and stressed the integration of women into entrepreneurship for a sustainable economy. Speaking at the ‘Rising Women 2023’ event organised by the Women’s Business Network (WBN) on Wednesday, Alvi called for equal opportunities for women in education, employment, and politics to enable their participation in mainstream entrepreneurship.

He urged the development of demand-driven policies, a supportive institutional environment, and workplaces free from harassment to encourage women to pursue their businesses. The president also highlighted the need to make information about entrepreneurship more accessible to women, as only 5 percent of women utilised the reserved quota of business loans from the State Bank due to a lack of guidance.

Minister charts ambitious course

Caretaker Minister for Energy, Muhammad Ali, has unveiled an ambitious strategy aimed at ensuring the nation’s future energy needs are met efficiently. Ali highlighted the importance of ramping up hydrocarbon exploration activities across potential areas in the country to secure Pakistan’s energy future. Speaking during an interview with the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi International Progressive Energy Congress (ADIPEC) in Abu Dhabi, Ali shared insights into the government’s multifaceted approach to addressing energy challenges.

The Minister revealed that Pakistan is preparing to introduce comprehensive policies for tight gas and shale gas. Additionally, the country has already announced bids for onshore exploration and plans to initiate offshore exploration bids in December. Ali expressed confidence in Pakistan’s presence at ADIPEC this year, with approximately ten companies participating, representing various sectors, including exploration, oil marketing, and related industries.

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