IMF Angry With Pakistan for Not Announcing Gas Rates Twice a Year

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) isn’t happy with Pakistan’s failure to notify new gas rates every six months in a financial year.The IMF Mission during the ongoing first review of Islamabad’s $3 billion Standby Arrangement urged the caretaker go…

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) isn’t happy with Pakistan’s failure to notify new gas rates every six months in a financial year.

The IMF Mission during the ongoing first review of Islamabad’s $3 billion Standby Arrangement urged the caretaker government to impose biannual gas rate hikes to ease gas circular debt which had increased significantly since 2013.

The IMF was briefed that the caretaker government had increased gas tariffs effective November 1, 2023. Officials said this will generate Rs. 980 billion in revenue in eight months and the government may skip increasing gas rates due from January 2024 onwards.

According to the Fund, the previous government postponed raising gas prices due to political reasons, and the current caretaker regime must come up with a substantial increase to control the gas sector’s revolving debt which now stands at Rs. 2.9 trillion.

Meanwhile, the lender also met with OGRA and inquired why the regulator had not notified the gas tariffs after a 40-day interval. The Fund was informed that the regulator can’t do it without mandatory instructions from the government.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Chenab Limited Rises With HBL’s Support

Chenab Limited (PSX: CHBL) is now on its way to achieving its lost glory.Chenab was once Pakistan’s largest exporter of home textile products. The firm faced a complete meltdown after the industrial crises of 2008-10 for reasons beyond its control.Len…

Chenab Limited (PSX: CHBL) is now on its way to achieving its lost glory.

Chenab was once Pakistan’s largest exporter of home textile products. The firm faced a complete meltdown after the industrial crises of 2008-10 for reasons beyond its control.

Lenders to the company led by Habib Bank Limited (PSX: HBL), facilitated the implementation of a comprehensive rehabilitation plan in line with the vision of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to revive sick industrial units to re-contribute to the economy.

To showcase its revival, Chenab Limited organized an event with the theme “Chenab Rising”. The event was attended by Saleem Ullah, Deputy Governor – State Bank of Pakistan along with Presidents and representatives of more than 20 Banks. Participants at the event appreciated the regulator’s vision to revive the stressed/closed units.

They also commended the positive role played by HBL in converting this vision into reality. Due to these efforts, Chenab Limited successfully delivered Rs. 2.5 billion in revenue in the first 18 months of operation, employing 3,000 people, with the potential for further growth.

Speaking on the revival of Chenab Limited, Mian Muhammad Latif, Founder and Chairman-Chenab Limited, said,

Prior to today’s rise, some would argue that Chenab tried to grow too quickly with too much debt during the Musharraf years of easy money, and plummeted badly following the 2008 financial crisis.

Chenab Limited had revenues of more than Rs. 9 billion in 2006-07 and hoped to reach Rs. 15 billion the following year. However, a variety of challenges caught the Group off guard and plunged it into chaos.

The first setback occurred when the companies experienced gas cuts from October 15, 2007, to November 1, 2007. The damage had been done by the time the gas supply was restored. Long story short, the Group suffered losses of Rs. 4 billion in 2007-08; even the banks refused to lend a helping hand.

The company began losing its international customers due to a crisis, wherein a substantial number of 200-300 containers became stranded in Pakistan, leading to delayed deliveries.

In 2010, Chenab experienced a 2.6 percent decline in its revenue, followed by a significant drop of more than 50 percent in 2011. The company’s financial woes continued into 2012, with a 40.4 percent decrease in revenue. In 2013, their revenue took another hit, decreasing by 16.7 percent.

Legal actions were taken by banks to recover their outstanding debts from the company. After a prolonged legal battle, there are now signs of a positive change on the horizon for Chenab. Presently, the company is actively working on restructuring its debt, and within the past eighteen months since the factory’s reopening, it has managed to repay more than 10 percent of its debt to its creditors.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Govt is Working On New Mobile Phone Manufacturing Policy

The caretaker government is planning a new policy on manufacturing mobile devices and allied equipment.The Engineering Development Board (EDB) said in a letter on Tuesday that it has invited licensed mobile phone makers to a meeting on November 10 to …

The caretaker government is planning a new policy on manufacturing mobile devices and allied equipment.

The Engineering Development Board (EDB) said in a letter on Tuesday that it has invited licensed mobile phone makers to a meeting on November 10 to discuss the details of the new policy. The Chief Executive Officier of EDB will chair the meeting

According to the letter, the meeting participants will finalize the proposed policy’s localization plan, and the list of importable components for manufacturer quotas, and importable components.

The meeting will address sources of funding, collection, and disbursement for RandD allowance and export subsidies, ease of doing business, reduction of regulatory burden, timelines for completion, and approval documents.

The meeting would examine the current and proposed tariffs for local manufacturing of mobile phones including the selection of products and tariff structure for linked equipment such as point-of-sale (POS) machines, tablets, and so on, in order to promote the new policy.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Enforcement of Track and Trace System Pivotal to Curbing Illicit Tobacco Trade

The success of the Track and Trace system in Pakistan will depend upon the implementation of the system in its true letter and spirit across the board coupled with a sustained enforcement drive.This was stated by BAT Group’s Asia Pacific, Middle East …

The success of the Track and Trace system in Pakistan will depend upon the implementation of the system in its true letter and spirit across the board coupled with a sustained enforcement drive.

This was stated by BAT Group’s Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (WEST), Area Head of Legal and External Affairs, Mona Iskandarani here on Tuesday during a media briefing session on the efficacy of the Track and Trace System in the tobacco sector, organized by the Pakistan Tobacco Company (PTC) at a local hotel.

During the session, the representatives of the PTC, shed light on the implementation status of Track and Trace in Pakistan and highlighted that delay in implementation and enforcement across the board was causing a significant loss of volume for the legitimate industry.

Mona added, “In order to ensure that the quantum of illicit trade is controlled within the country, it must be coupled with strong enforcement and fiscal measures”. “We acknowledge the recent enforcement initiatives undertaken by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in Pakistan but we need sustained enforcement efforts across the supply chain to curb the menace of illicit cigarette trade in Pakistan,” she concluded.

Asad Shah, Director of Legal and External Affairs pointed out that Track and Trace has been implemented in various countries in one form or another, but the system does not offer a silver bullet solution to fight illicit trade, and only serves as a tool to facilitate law enforcement agencies to carry out raids and seizures of tax evaded products.

While talking to the participants, Shah apprised them that despite a lapse of 15 months since the implementation deadline, only 2 out of over 40 cigarette manufacturers have implemented Track and Trace in true letter and spirit. The incidence of illicit trade has only grown ever since the implementation of a Track and Trace System which was supposed to reduce duty and tax evasion in the tobacco sector.

Participants were also informed that since the implementation of Track and Trace in Pakistan, i.e. 1st July 2022, the illicit sector will grow from approximately 37% in FY 2021/22 to approximately 63% by the end of FY 2023/24.

The illicit manufacturers are openly flouting laws by using counterfeit stamps, by placing stamps over the polypropylene wrapping on a pack of cigarettes. Some players are even applying stamps on cigarette packs manually, which defeats the whole purpose of a Track and Trace System in Pakistan, which is to monitor production volumes. Illicit cigarette packs without a Graphical Health Warning and without Track and Trace stamps are being sold in the market openly.

The majority of Duty Not Paid (DNP) cigarettes are being manufactured in AJK and strict enforcement measures need to be taken at entry and exit points of AJK to ensure that no tax-evaded cigarettes make their way into the country.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Gas Bills Set to Skyrocket as OGRA Notifies New Gas Prices

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) notified the new natural gas sale prices effective from November 1.The federal government under sections 7(1) 8(3) and 21(2)(h) of the OGRA Ordinance, 2002 advised the revised category-wise natural gas sale …

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) notified the new natural gas sale prices effective from November 1.

The federal government under sections 7(1) 8(3) and 21(2)(h) of the OGRA Ordinance, 2002 advised the revised category-wise natural gas sale prices to OGRA for notification.

The federal government has the sole jurisdiction to fix sale prices for different categories of consumers of natural gas considering socioeconomic agenda and sectoral policies while making adjustments in cross-subsidy and Gas Development Surcharge.

OGRA, in accordance with the policy guidelines of the federal government, has notified the natural gas sale prices effective from November 1, 2023. The revised prices are as follows:

Fixed monthly charges

It is pertinent to mention here that domestic consumers under the protected category will pay a fixed monthly charge of Rs. 400 while non-protected category consumers will have to pay a fixed monthly charge of Rs. 1,000 up to 1.5 hm3 while for consumers exceeding consumption of 1.5 hm3 will have to pay monthly charges of Rs. 2,000.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Pakistan Attracted $16 Billion in Visitor Spending in 2022

Pakistan attracted $16 billion in visitor spending in 2022 which is projected to touch $30 billion in 2033, says the World Bank.The bank on its website stated that the travel and tourism sector’s total contribution to Pakistan’s GDP was 5.9 percent in…

Pakistan attracted $16 billion in visitor spending in 2022 which is projected to touch $30 billion in 2033, says the World Bank.

The bank on its website stated that the travel and tourism sector’s total contribution to Pakistan’s GDP was 5.9 percent in 2022 and 4.2 million jobs. This is sub-optimal considering the diverse tourist sites located across the country.

Pakistan experienced an unprecedented surge in domestic tourism immediately after the COVID-induced travel restrictions were lifted: In 2021 and 2022, over 1.2 million domestic and international tourists visited the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province alone.

To manage this increasing all-season footfall of visitors while harnessing its understated economic potential, the local authorities, communities, and private sector require resources, equipment and training without losing focus on green and inclusive tourism.

Travel Responsibly for Experiencing Eco-tourism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TREK) initiative – a partnership between the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the World Bank (WB), and Nestlé Pakistan to promote and support responsible tourism initiatives, complements the ongoing activities of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Integrated Tourism Development Project (KITE) project for heritage preservation and tourism infrastructure development.

Since 2020, it has completed awareness campaigns for tourists, and training of local communities and hospitality businesses on waste management.

TREK has trained over 650 participants from more than 150 hotels and restaurants in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s tourist areas. The beneficiaries also included local communities, local authorities and academia of Peshawar, Nathiagali, Abbottabad, Swat, Naran, and Chitral districts.

These trainings concentrated on solid waste minimization, segregation, management, and recycling techniques.

Public service messages on responsible tourism were also launched through social media and radio campaigns in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the cities of Islamabad and Lahore. Most country’s domestic tourists are concentrated in these geographies and were thus, able to receive communication on tourist helplines on the importance of keeping the sites litter-free.

10,000 reusable bags were distributed to tourists and the hotel association in tourist hotspots aiming to encourage their use and minimise littering.

In parallel, the IDA-financed KITE project provided waste bins, garbage collection and compacting machinery to the local authorities in Nathiagali, Naran, Chitral, and Kumrat districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and a few locations in Punjab province, and installed 50 tourist information signboards to complement the awareness campaigns.

Source: Pro Pakistani