Yet Another Pakistani Becomes Instant Millionaire in UAE

A Pakistani expat, who works in Saudi Arabia, has hit a jackpot in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He has become an overnight millionaire after winning AED 1 million in the Mahzooz 145th draw on 9 September 2023.Zain, 41, has always called Saudi Arabi…

A Pakistani expat, who works in Saudi Arabia, has hit a jackpot in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He has become an overnight millionaire after winning AED 1 million in the Mahzooz 145th draw on 9 September 2023.

Zain, 41, has always called Saudi Arabia home and works there as an IT Support specialist. Preparing for a family outing, Zain saw an email from Mahzooz and he thought he had won only AED 250. But after a closer look, he was stunned to find out that he had won a whopping AED 1 million.

“I’m over the moon! This win has changed my life completely,” said an elated Zain. He first heard about Mahzooz from a UAE news site about a year ago and has been trying his luck every week since, hoping for a big win.

That same draw saw many others get lucky, with 1,202 winners sharing a total prize of AED 1,494,750.

Earlier this month, a 27-year-old Pakistani expat in the UAE also won an AED 1 million prize in the Mahzooz 144th lucky draw held on 2 September 2023.

Muhammad, a finance manager, was a die-hard cricket fan and bodybuilding enthusiast. He migrated to the UAE last year with his wife and frequently participated in Mahzooz.

Expressing his excitement, he stated that he found this win unbelievable because he bought a Mahzooz water bottle only 25 minutes before the deadline.

Note here that the participants can take part in the draw by purchasing a Mahzooz water bottle worth AED 35, which enlists the buyer in the draw.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Recoveries From Electricity Thieves Hit Rs. 1 Billion

The Senate Standing Committee on Power was informed on Thursday that approximately Rs. 1 billion worth of recovery has been made in the last few days.The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Power was held here at Old PIPS Hall Parliament Lodge…

The Senate Standing Committee on Power was informed on Thursday that approximately Rs. 1 billion worth of recovery has been made in the last few days.

The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Power was held here at Old PIPS Hall Parliament Lodges on Thursday with Senator Saifullah Abro in Chair.

The Senate Committee applauded the Power Division for taking swift action against the line losses and electricity theft in different DISCO’s. Additional Secretary, Power Division, Arshad Majid apprised that approximately Rs. 1 billion worth of recovery has been made in the last few days and the Power Division has also reshuffled the officers of various DISCOs to ensure its efficiency.

Chairman committee Senator Saifullah Abro stated that the Power Division should also reshuffle CEOs of DISCOs and BoDs of various authorities, who allegedly have acted malafide and diminishing the capacity of the power sector.

Earlier in a tweet, Secretary Power Division Rashid Langrial said the interim government’s anti-power theft campaign will cross Rs. 1 billion in recoveries today. However, the figure is negligible compared to transmission and distribution (T&T) losses, which reportedly stood at over Rs. 520 billion in the previous fiscal year (FY23).

“Will cross first billion recovery mark today, although all nuts and bolts of anti-theft campaign are still not fully in place,” the official said in a tweet on Thursday.

“An iterative process: learning by doing in place. Fully-evolved model by end of the month Insha Allah,” he added.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Severe Financial Crisis Hits More Than Half of Government Universities in KP

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Governor, Ghulam Ali, sounded the alarm on Wednesday, revealing that a staggering 20 out of the 34 public sector universities in the province are grappling with severe financial difficulties during the current fiscal year.Gover…

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Governor, Ghulam Ali, sounded the alarm on Wednesday, revealing that a staggering 20 out of the 34 public sector universities in the province are grappling with severe financial difficulties during the current fiscal year.

Governor Ali, who also serves as the chancellor of government universities in the province, expressed his concern over the mounting budget deficits that have begun to imperil the stability and continuity of higher education institutions. Speaking to reporters at the Governor’s House, he urged immediate attention to this pressing issue.

Among the universities facing significant financial challenges, the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Peshawar reported a deficit of Rs. 977 million, followed by the University of Peshawar at Rs. 469.5 million, and Gomal University D.I. Khan at Rs. 434 million, among others.

The governor attributed the financial woes to the proliferation of universities over the last 15 years without proper planning or adherence to criteria. He stressed that the problem lay in the failure to follow established laws for their establishment and the recruitment of staff.

Governor Ali further lamented that, despite a total expenditure of Rs. 40 billion by the 34 public sector universities in the current fiscal year, only Rs. 1.1 billion had been allocated for research, far from the global standards where research plays a pivotal role in driving industries.

He also raised concerns about the appointment process and eligibility criteria for vice-chancellors (VCs), noting that these issues were affecting the quality of higher education. Governor Ali revealed that a detailed report on VC appointments had been submitted to the chief minister for approval.

In closing, he called on VCs to prioritize improving educational standards and emphasized the need to halt the establishment of new universities in light of the existing surplus. Minister Prof Qasim Jan echoed these sentiments, highlighting the universities’ potential role in the country’s industrial and economic development.

Source: Pro Pakistani

FBR Collects Advance Tax From Big Companies to Achieve Annual Revenue Target: Report

The Large Tax Offices (LTOs) of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) take advances from the big companies to meet their annual revenue collection targets.This has been reportedly stated by the Pakistan Business Council in a report prepared by the FBR on…

The Large Tax Offices (LTOs) of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) take advances from the big companies to meet their annual revenue collection targets.

This has been reportedly stated by the Pakistan Business Council in a report prepared by the FBR on new reforms in consultation with the World Bank (WB).

The FBR report (Stakeholder Engagement Plan) issued under the World Bank-funded Pakistan Raises Revenue Project (PRRP) said that another area of concern is that of advance tax in the Large Tax Offices (LTOs). The LTOs have to meet collection and get the advance tax for the next financial year. Hence large businesses face considerable harassment from tax officials in the LTOs, the report referred to the PBC.

The report said that the Pakistan Business Council (PBC) encourages the need for documenting the economy and that also serves business interests. PBC representatives believe that the tax system needs to be simplified so that their members can focus on the growth of their business and enhancing revenues.

The PBC members are responsible for 25 percent of the taxes in the country, in other words, every ninth rupee and are therefore directly impacted by the project initiatives. PBC representatives concurred with most of the above perspectives of SRB.

Following the 18th Amendment, FBR is responsible for taxes on goods and services that have been devolved to the provinces. However, the center and provincial authorities do not have a common understanding of goods and services. There has been a lack of clarity on which sector qualifies as “service”- for instance in the hospitality industry, the restaurants/food industry is considered good by FBR and service by the provincial authorities.

As a result, there is a possibility of double taxation by provinces and/or federal government for the same good or service. Issues with the principle for taxation of services also persist, should it be destination, based, origin, or a mix.

The issues arise in the case of industries such as the telecom sector, which has a nationwide presence. Now under the forum of the National Tax Council, the major issues have been addressed. Provincial sales tax rates differ across the provinces and there should be a consistent tax policy on sales tax on services.

Moreover, procedures for input-output adjustments are complicated. Respondents were of the view that FBR needs to enhance its understanding of business supply chains.

They need to consult with the private sector organizations and this could be through the business associations. Given the different contexts and tax structures in the provinces, it would be critical to consult with the other provincial authorities to achieve the harmonization of taxes single GST return.

The issue of withholding tax was also highlighted by PBC. Businesses are forced to act as withholding tax agents. The process should be automated and available online so it can be crosschecked by both the FBR as well as the withholding tax agents. Processes should be transparent and consistent and changes in policies, which would impact businesses, should follow a consultative process so that there is buy-in from businesses at the outset.

For instance, the Pakistan Business Council collaborated with tax authorities on several occasions to help shape the policy environment and improve tax compliance. But FBR made changes to most of these, without engaging with or holding any discussions with stakeholders when making these changes.

PBC representatives recommended that the project must approach PBC institutionally and form a joint committee which could then review and advise the project, through each of its stages from preparation/formulation, and implementation to monitoring and evaluation. In general, high support and interest was confirmed in the project by the PBC, the FBR report added.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Pakistan Has to Make Net Debt Repayments of $8 Billion in Remainder of FY24: SBP Governor

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Jameel Ahmad on Thursday said that the country’s total external financing requirement for the current fiscal year (FY24) stands at $24.6 billion, which includes interest payments of $3.4 billion and $21 billion in…

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Jameel Ahmad on Thursday said that the country’s total external financing requirement for the current fiscal year (FY24) stands at $24.6 billion, which includes interest payments of $3.4 billion and $21 billion in principal repayments.

However, the governor said that out of this amount $2.8 billion has already been paid ($2.2 principal and $0.6 interest) and the central bank has received commitments for rollovers worth $8 billion, with an additional expectation of $3 billion to be rolled over. This leaves the net payable amount at $8 billion for the remainder of FY24.

The governor said that the current account deficit (CAD) target is 0.5-1.5 percent of GDP for FY24. He also pointed out that the CAD for August will be $160 million, much better than earlier estimates.

Ahmad highlighted that all quantitative targets set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which includes NDA, swaps, and net international reserves have been met. He added that now all depends on how the government performs on remaining performance criteria like primary budget deficit, government guarantees, and targeted cash transfers.

The SBP attributed the recent T-bill auction, where cutoff rates surpassed the policy rate, to a backdrop of economic uncertainty, depreciation of the Pakistani rupee, and market expectations of a potential policy rate hike.

Earlier, contrary to market expectations, the central bank decided to keep the policy rate unchanged at 22 percent.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Current Account Deficit Shrinks to $160 Million in August

Pakistan’s current account deficit improved by $615 million to $160 million in August 2023 compared to a deficit of $775 million recorded in the previous month.According to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the current account deficit…

Pakistan’s current account deficit improved by $615 million to $160 million in August 2023 compared to a deficit of $775 million recorded in the previous month.

According to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the current account deficit (CAD) was also substantially down compared to deficit of $774 recorded in the same month of the previous year.

The current account deficit during the first two months of the current fiscal year (FY24) stood at 935 million, compared to deficit of $2.03 billion recorded in the same period of FY23.

It is pertinent to mention here that the July was the first month in 5 months when the country’s current account posted a deficit. In the previous four months, i.e. March, April, May and June, the current account posted a surplus.

The surplus in March stood at $0.79 billion, April saw a surplus of $0.08 billion, May’s current account surplus stood at $0.22 billion while the surplus in June was recorded at $0.50 billion. The deficit in the last two months is primarily due to the easing of import restrictions.

Source: Pro Pakistani

SBP Reserves Slump by $140 Million to $7.6 Billion

The foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank declined for the fourth consecutive week, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday.On September 8, the foreign currency reserves held by the SBP were recorded at …

The foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank declined for the fourth consecutive week, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday.

On September 8, the foreign currency reserves held by the SBP were recorded at $7.639 billion, down $140 million compared to $7.779 billion on September 1. In a statement, the central bank said that the decline was mainly on account of debt repayments.

Overall liquid foreign currency reserves held by the country, including net reserves held by banks other than the SBP, stood at $ 13.079 billion, down $48 million over the previous week. The net reserves held by banks stood at $5.440 billion, registering an increase of $93 million during the week.

According to Arif Habib Limited, the current reserves are enough for import cover of just over 1.5 months. The reserves held by the central bank have fallen by over $1 billion since July 14 when reserves stood at $8.727 billion.

Source: Pro Pakistani