IMF: Misplaced expectations?

Prime Minister Imran Khan while remarking on (the United Nations Development Programme’s) UNDP’s Pakistan National Human Development Report stated it is time for a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) package given the economic disruptions ahead due to a “very scary” third wave of Covid-19. These sentiments, be they coincidental or by design, mirror the sentiments expressed in a report titled ‘Pakistan Development Update’ released by the World Bank the same day wherein it was stated that “Pakistan’s economic growth is expected to recover slowly, given heightened uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19…

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Unlocking Pakistan’s destiny — One SMB at a time

As a nation, Pakistan reigns as master of its potential yet buckles in the face of prevailing challenges. The country is confronted by uncertain geo-political realities. It shares borders with nations that are home to the second- and third-largest defence budgets globally, while the world’s lone superpower and biggest military spender retains key interests in the region. Closer to home, trade imbalances and debt intricacies continue to be a factor in macro-economic conversations. Elsewhere, UN projections regarding Pakistan’s ongoing population explosion makes for grim reading. The world body predicts: by…

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OGRA hikes April LNG prices by at least Rs24 per mmbtu

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has Wednesday announced a revision in the imported LNG prices for the month of April hiking $0.17 for the Sui Northern system and $0.16 for the Southern, ARY News reported. For the month of April, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) shall sell the imported gas against $9.763 per unit, according to the notification while for the Sui Southern Gas Company, the per unit rates will be $9.477 from now on. The previous rates were $9.59/unit and $9.31/unit for SNGPL and SSGC respectively…

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CAA negligence costs PIA over Rs19 billion

In the last 9 months, the national flag carrier – the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) – has suffered a loss of over Rs19billion on account of a ban imposed on its flight operation by the European Union (EU) primarily due to the negligence of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Sources in the PIA said the airline has to incur a loss of Rs2.2billion every month since July 2020 when the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) placed a six-month ban on the PIA flights in the wake of PIA plane…

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The Future of Travel in the Covid-19 Era

We may not know much about when it will be safe to resume traveling internationally, or how soon after that countries will begin to lift travel restrictions. What we do know is that travel will be fundamentally different on the other side. Airlines, airports, cruise lines, and hotels will all need to develop and adhere to new guidelines about social distancing, cleaning, and food service. Transparency, which hasn’t been the industry’s strongest suit—think ineffective travel insurance policies and cryptic passenger protection rules—will become essential. And companies will need to shift…

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Fuel adjustments remain high

Another 64 paisas per unit gets added to the monthly Fuel Charges Adjustment (FCA) for February 2021. This takes the average monthly adjustment in FY21 so far to 82 paisas per unit, of Rs1 per unit sought originally. February is historically the month with lowest electricity demand, and invariably the month with least economic merit order violations. Low power demand, coupled with easing domestic and imported gas demand pressure, ensures the system runs rather smooth in February. That said, there were still deviations from the reference monthly tariff, as power…

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Power division asked for cost-effective solution to pensions

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Wednesday directed the power division to deliberate further and present options for cost optimisation regarding pension liabilities of surplus employees of closed power plants. Power division presented a summary for a one-time grant to power generation companies for onward payment to distribution companies regarding the actuarial value of pension and pensionary benefits of surplus employees and also taking over the liability for payment of pension to existing pensioners of power plants which were decided to be closed immediately by the…

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Despite ‘no objection’ from NAB: Bureaucracy refuses to execute revised deals with IPPs

ISLAMABAD: After the NAB letter to the Power Division which says the government has the full authority to execute its revised deals with IPPs, the top bureaucracy of both the power and finance divisions is not ready to implement the altered contracts, arguing the anti-graft body didn’t so far validate the process of negotiations and agreements inked with the IPPs. The NAB in February 2021 took suo moto of the whole negotiations and signing of MoUs, Master agreements and revised power purchase agreements (PPAs) and got hold of all records…

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‘Banning of gas supply to Sindh’s industries deplored

Sindh Industries and Commerce Minister Jam Ikramullah Dharejo has deplored the federal government’s decision to ban the supply of gas to Sindh’s industries and termed it a prejudiced move. “We strongly condemn the Centre’s biased attitude,” he said while speaking to the media in Hyderabad on Wednesday. He reiterated that Sindh accounts for 70 per cent of Pakistan’s total gas production from which industrial, commercial and domestic consumers are supplied gas across the country. But, he added, the province is not getting its due share of gas. He warned that…

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Power firms get 64-paisa tariff hike for February

ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Wednesday notified about 64 paisa per unit increase in electricity rates for ex-Wapda distribution companies (Discos) to generate about Rs4.4 billion additional revenue for the troubled power sector. The increase was allowed on account of monthly fuel cost adjustment (FCA) for electricity consumed in February. This would be charged to consumers in the current billing month. The tariff increase will be applicable to all consumers except lifeline consumers ie 50 units per month. This FCA is also not applicable to K-Electric…

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