Dar Urges IMF and Multilateral Donors to Offer Greater Policy Support

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Sunday called for greater policy support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and multilateral donors.

The finance minister urged IMF to tailor its response to the situation in Pakistan and similar countries, by taking into consideration the serious economic, social and political challenges that these countries face in the backdrop climate induced calamities.

The finance minister was addressing meeting of MENAP (Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan) Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors with the IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva in in Washington DC.

The IMF Managing Director highlighted challenges facing regional economies including from climate change events citing Pakistan’s damaging floods. She expressed her deep sympathies with Pakistan and assured Fund’s full support.

The finance minister committed to complete the Fund program despite challenges and welcomed new IMF instruments (Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST) and Food Shock Window under Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to support countries.

Source: Pro Pakistan

Promotion of knowledge-based economy vital for economic progress: Punjab Governor

Punjab Governor Muhammad Balighur Rehman has said that economic progress cannot be achieved without promoting knowledge-based economy.

He was addressing 18th convocation of Islamia University, Bahawalpur on Saturday.

He said that government of PML (N) is determined for the wellbeing of youth despite financial constraints.

He asked the students to devote their energies and skills to the country and the nation.

While lauding the performance of Islamia University, he congratulated the faculty members, students and staff of the university that globally, IUB has improved from 1000-1200 to 801-1000 position.

Earlier, Vice Chancellor Islamia University, Bahawalpur Engineer Prof Dr Athar Mehboob in his welcome address said that twenty thousand students of the university are getting scholarships worth more than one billion rupees during the current financial year.

According to Radio Pakistan’s Correspondent Sajjad Parvez, Punjab Governor Muhammad Balighur Rehman also distributed degrees among eight PhD and 71 MPhil scholars while awarded sixty seven gold medals, fifty four silver medals to the students of BS, BSc, MA, MCs, disciplines.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Senate introduces five bills, adopts two resolutions

The Senate resumed its session at Parliament House in Islamabad on Monday with its chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in the chair.

Five bills were introduced in the Senate.

These include: “The Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (Amendment) Bill, 2022”, “The National Disaster Management (Amendment) Bill, 2022”, “The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2022”, “The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2022” and “The Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2022”.

The chair referred the bills to the standing committees concerned.

The Senate has adopted a resolution recommending the government to allow Public-Private Partnership and Private Sector to install their own energy parks of solar, wind, and local coal-based in the country with minimum thirty Mega Watts electricity generation capacity.

The resolution, moved by Taj Haider and Saleem Mandviwalla, also recommended that the said energy parks may be authorized to sell electricity to the consumers on pre-determined tariff formula and install their own captive transmission and distribution grids for domestic, commercial and industrial consumers.

This will help end the longstanding electricity crisis and high electricity tariffs in the country causing heavy burden on domestic, commercial and industrial consumers.

The Senate has adopted a resolution that the Chairpersonship of the Public Accounts Committee shall be rotated or shared amongst the Members of Senate and National Assembly for its half terms.

The resolution moved by Raza Rabbani and others stated that rotation of Chair of Public Accounts Committee amongst the both Houses of parliament will ensure that no part of the country is left without adequate representation in the state institutions, more so, in the ethnically diversified state like Pakistan.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Companies Not Allowed to Open Bank Accounts Without Digital Verification: SBP

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has directed all banks to enhance the utilization of the digital portal developed by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) for the verification of companies’ documents seeking to open accounts in bank branches.

According to a circular issued to banks, SBP has stated that its regulated entities including banks and financial institutions should consider documents verified through the portal as certified true copies. It further stated that physical certified companies are no more valid for account opening purposes.

The SBP has conveyed the SECP rule of the bank that the facility of physical verification is discontinued by SECP as only digital verification would be possible going forward.

It further directed all banks to ensure the compliance of the system at the branch level and facilitate customers, including companies within the applicable legal and regulatory framework.

SBP and SECP had arranged extensive awareness campaigns earlier including regional and branch levels to emphasize the importance of companies’ data verification through the SECP portal.

SECP has been working to upgrade its digital portal which will make available the record of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs), form -45, foreign companies’ data, and the option to download the details of the transactions. The SECP will charge a one-time fee to access the record of the same company by the same user of the bank within one hour.

In order to facilitate banks and companies, SECP has designated two focal persons for guidance and addressing issues.

Source: Pro Pakistani

8 Banks Being Investigated for Role in Exchange Rate Manipulation: SBP Governor

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Jameel Ahmad informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Tuesday that eight banks are being investigated for their alleged role in exchange rate manipulation.

The central bank governor said that in the first phase the investigation is being conducted against Habib Bank Limited, United Bank Limited, Allied Bank Limited, National Bank of Pakistan, Bank Al Habib, Standard Chartered, Meezan Bank, and HabibMetro Bank.

The governor added that more banks will be investigated in the second phase. He said that the licenses of two exchange companies have also been canceled for their role in exchange rate manipulation. He mentioned that the central bank monitors the activities of banks as well as exchange companies.

The committee members said that banks involved in exchange rate manipulation have played with the country’s economy and questioned why the central bank didn’t act earlier against the banks.

Members of the committee mentioned that even a difference of Rs. 10 was seen in the interbank rate and open market rate on some days in the previous weeks.

The committee’s chairman, lawmaker Qaiser Ahmad Sheikh, instructed the central bank to take appropriate action against banks and exchange companies found involved in this manipulation.

Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha assured the committee that the central bank will take action against banks guilty.

The meeting was attended by members of the committee, Minister of State for Finance, Secretary Finance, Federal Board of Revenue Chairman, SBP Governor, and other senior officers
Source: Pro Pakistani

CPEC set to enter into second phase; Senate informed

The Senate was informed that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is set to enter the second phase with special focus on industrial cooperation, especially in the Special Economic Zones.

Responding to a question during Question Hour today, Minister for Investment Chaudhry Salik Hussain said several local and Chinese companies have shown their interest to invest in SEZs across Pakistan.

He said most of the early harvest projects under the first phase of CPEC relating to power and infrastructure have been completed. He further said that despite the decrease in Chinese investment in the last two years due to Covid-19 pandemic, China has the largest share of foreign investment in Pakistan.

Replying to another question, Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik said the government is charging zero percent General Sales Tax on petroleum products. He said at present, the government is collecting per litre levy of 12.56 rupees on diesel, 32.4 rupees on petrol, 15 rupees on kerosene oil and ten rupees on light diesel oil instead of 50 rupees, which were agreed with the IMF.

Answering a question, Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Mufti Abdul Shakoor said Pakistan Sikh Gurdawara Parbandhak Committee arranges langer and accommodation for yatrees inside Gurdawaras through its donations and does not claim any public money.

Minister of State for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan has urged all the lawmakers to join hands in helping the flood affected people.

Winding up discussion on a motion moved by Dr Shahzad Waseem and others, he said the floodwater has inundated one-third of the country and it is not time to play politics. He said the flood affected people need support from all countrymen in this critical time.

Later, the House was adjourned due to lack of quorum and now it will resume on Friday at 10:30 a.m. 

Source: Radio Pakistan

FM proposes creation of separate loss & damage financing window by int’l financial institutions

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has proposed creation of a separate loss and damage financing window by the international financial institutions for generating an immediate response to climate induced natural disasters in the developing countries.

He was chairing a high level event on Loss and Damage: New and Additional Financing organized by Pakistan on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly session in New York today.

The Foreign Minister emphasized that over the years, the developing countries have disproportionately suffered from the vagaries of climate change while contributing a miniscule amount to the Green House Gas Emissions. He expressed the hope that a decision would be reached for a financial mechanism to compensate developing countries for loss and damage.

In his remarks, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry agreed that loss and damage is a reality that would need to be addressed at the upcoming Climate Change Conference.

Source: Radio Pakistan