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ECONOMIC TIMES OF PAKISTAN
PKR touches new all-time low at 147.87 in inter-bank

The rupee once again dropped around 1percent and closed at a new all-time low of 147.87 to the US dollar in the inter-bank market on Friday, the central bank reported.

Earlier during the day, the local currency hit a record intra-day low of 149.55 per dollar. It was the second successive day when the rupee lost ground against the greenback in a fresh round of depreciation.

Cumulatively in the past two days, the local currency weakened 4.58percent, or Rs6.48, from Wednesday’s close of Rs141.39.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said it was the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) monetary policy committee which was responsible for determining the rupee-dollar exchange rate keeping in view the foreign currency demand and supply situation in the country.

Kuwait plans big investment in Pakistan

Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) has said that it has designed a mega investment programme for Pakistan with initial investment fund of $20 billion.

Talking to Sindh Minister for Works, Services and Irrigation Syed Nasir Hussain Shah in a meeting, KIA representative Dr Ahmad Idrees emphasised that the investment authority was interested in investing in various sectors of Sindh including infrastructure, energy and desalination.

“KIA desires to invest under different modes ie public-private partnership, independent power producer (IPP), build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis and build operate and own (BOO) basis,” he said.

“The mode of investment will depend on the viability of projects,” he said, adding that the projects might require guarantees and a recovery mechanism.

He recalled that Kuwait had been investing in Pakistan since 1960 and had entered into collaboration with many companies including Meezan Bank, Careem and Pak-Kuwait Investment Company.

“Now, it is the second phase of major investment,” he said.

Idrees pointed out that KIA had also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Balochistan government for setting up a 500-megawatt power plant.

For streamlining projects and strengthening the investment programme, a three-member coordination committee, headed by Special Assistant to Chief Minister Ashfaq Memon, was also constituted. It was tasked with finalising the projects after due consultations with the stakeholders.

Gas production declines 5 to 7 pc in Pak

Gas production in the country is witnessing a decrease of 5-7percent because the previous government awarded no oil and gas exploration blocks during its five-year tenure, said Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Petroleum Nadeem Babar.

“Energy is an essential driver of the country’s economy and to achieve high gross domestic product (GDP) growth, the economy needs reliable, uninterrupted and affordable supply of energy for which the government is making efforts,” he said during a meeting with Ambassador of Denmark Rolf Michael.

According to statement of the Petroleum Division on Friday, the special assistant apprised that the government would ensure all possible facilities for interested manufacturers.

Sharing details of upcoming projects of the Petroleum Division, Babar revealed that the government was also drafting new exploration and production (E&P) policy by introducing seven major amendments to accelerate exploration activities in potential areas of the country.

It would be placed before the Federal Cabinet by August 2019 for approval, he said.

SECP body accepts renewal of licences of four brokerage houses

The oversight committee of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) policy board has taken notice of non-renewal of licences of six brokerage houses.

Following a review, four of them have been permitted to get their licences renewed.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had cases against two of the brokerage houses cleared for renewal– Access Global Securities and Adam Securities – which were withdrawn after the oversight committee directed the SECP to conduct an in-house investigation.

The licences of two brokerage houses have been approved for immediate renewal while approval for the remaining two brokerage houses would be given following clearance by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

However, the committee has upheld the decision on non-renewal of licences of the remaining two brokers.

 

OGRA recommends 47pc hike in gas tariff

The gas prices in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa may further increase by 47 per cent, while in Sindh and Balochistan by 28 per cent from the next fiscal year (July 1, 2019) due to the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar.

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) on Friday sent a summary to the government in this regard.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has already hiked the gas prices up to 143 per cent during the ongoing fiscal year.

The rupee hit a new all-time low of 149.35 to the US dollar in the interbank market on Friday.

However, Ogra had taken Rs150 per US dollar exchange rate to determine the prices of gas for the consumers for next fiscal year 2019-20.

The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL)– which supplies gas to Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – had recommended an average increase in gas prices by 144 per cent. However, Ogra allowed 47 per cent average hike.

Similarly, the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL)– which supplies gas to Sindh and Balochistan – had recommended an increase in gas prices by 30 per cent. But the regulator allowed a 28 per cent average increase in prices.

IMF deal at comparatively low mark-up: Hafeez

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to lend $6 billion at comparatively cheaper mark-up rate, which would help in acquiring another $2-3 billion from World Bank and Asian Development Bank at low interest rate.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said this while addressing a press conference at the Sindh Governor House on Thursday.

He said that the loan agreement would send a strong message to countries around the world that Pakistan has decided to implement fiscal and monetary discipline, while the loan programme would help collect higher revenue.

Govt seeks to deposit karkey review security fund in SBP

Pakistan has proposed that it would open an escrow account in the State Bank to deposit $150 million as a partial security payment to seek a stay in the enforcement of the award in the Karkey rental power plant case.

The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) had imposed the payment condition on Pakistan to extend a stay on the enforcement of the multimillion-dollar award given against the government of Pakistan.

Officials said that the proposal sent to the international court for consideration requests that Pakistan may open an escrow account in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) rather than in foreign or local commercial banks. Officials said ICSID has set June 30 as the deadline to deposit the security amount.

Government seeks export-driven economic growth

The policy objectives of the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2019-24 are aimed at ensuring an export-driven economic growth and they will also help move towards efficiency-driven exports, said Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood.

Briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile on Thursday, Dawood was of the view that under the STPF 2019-24, the target of innovation-driven exports would be achieved in the long term to improve competitiveness of the industry.

The meeting of the standing committee was held under the chairmanship of MNA Syed Naveed Qamar.

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