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ADB credits $1.5 billion to SBP’s account, Dar says

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  • ADB says recovery from COVID-19 impeded by external shocks.
  • Increasing business, living costs affecting millions of Pakistanis.
  • Loan to help manage inflation, food insecurity, slow commerce.

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Wednesday announced Asian Development Bank (ADB) had released $1.5 billion to Pakistan to help boost social protection, promote food security, and create jobs in the wake of super floods as well as global supply chain disruptions.

“Asian Development Bank has released funds $1.5 billion to Pakistan under BRACE program for the credit of Govt of Pakistan’s account with State Bank of Pakistan. AlhamdoLilah!” Dar said in a Twitter post.

The loan, provided under ADB’s Building Resilience with Active Countercyclical Expenditures (BRACE) Program, will help fund the government’s $2.3 billion countercyclical development expenditure program designed to cushion the impacts of external shocks, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Pakistan’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has been impeded by external shocks,” said ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov in a statement. “Increasing business costs and rising living expenses are affecting millions of Pakistanis, especially the poor and vulnerable. ADB’s program will help the government manage the impacts of high prices, increasing food insecurity, slowing business activity, and reducing income for vulnerable groups, many of whom are also reeling from the devastating floods.”

ADB’s financing will provide the fiscal space needed for the government to implement its countercyclical development expenditure package, which is designed to target the poorest families in Pakistan who are often disproportionately affected in times of crisis. The government’s support includes specific measures to promote gender empowerment and climate change adaptation, which have become even more important in light of the recent floods.

ADB’s assistance will help to expand the number of families receiving cash transfers from 7.9 million to 9 million, increase the number of children enrolled in primary and secondary schools, and enhance geographic coverage of health services and nutritional supplies for pregnant and lactating mothers and children under 2 years old.

ADB’s $1.5 billion countercyclical support is part of a significant response package to support people, livelihoods, and infrastructure in Pakistan in the wake of the recent floods which have affected over 33 million people and caused extensive damage to infrastructure and agriculture.

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Bulls Reenter PSX: The KSE-100 Rises More Than 886 Points

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As the market surged more than 800 points in the early morning trade, bulls grabbed control at the Pakistan Stock Exchange.

During the first trading session, the benchmark KSE-100 index increased by 886 points to 61,350.48 points.

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Pakistan’s steel prices are rising; get the latest figures here

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Another increase in steel prices has resulted in higher construction expenses in Pakistan. The economic downturn and continuous shipping delays have resulted in sharp price increases for building supplies, which has an effect on those who are planning to construct homes.

Due to increased manufacturing costs and supply chain interruptions brought on by the Middle East crisis, the price of iron, commonly known as steel rebar, has increased by Rs5,000 per ton. Local and imported steel rebar now costs between Rs240,000 and Rs260,000 per ton as a result of this most recent rise.

The cost of branded iron went from Rs255,000 to Rs260,000 per ton, while the cost of local iron climbed from Rs236,000 to Rs240,000. Furthermore, the cost of scrap or unprocessed iron has increased to Rs160,000 per ton inin the iron and steel markets.

The impact of the skyrocketing steel prices will be exacerbated by any more interruptions in the raw material supply chain. The cost of cement, on the other hand, has somewhat decreased and is at Rs 1,246 per bag.

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Up 30% to Rs 5.1 trillion by mid-February, FBR collected

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The total increase in domestic taxes has been around 40%, whilst import duties and associated levies increased by 16% between July 2023 and January 2024.

With the recovery of the GDP and increased inspection of FBR collection, the growth in revenues accelerated.

Up to mid-February, FBR receipts increased by 30% to Rs. 5.1 trillion. Nevertheless, decreases in import tariffs over time and, more recently, import license limits implemented by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to manage the country’s balance of payments in the aftermath of foreign exchange shortages, were mostly responsible for the decline in the rise of import taxes.

However, the impact of improvements in import valuation, which resulted in collections of Rs 151 billion, as well as the anti-smuggling campaign, which saw a surge of about 69% in the current fiscal year over the previous one, are also included in the income collected from imports.

The statement said that there was room to improve anti-smuggling operations by considering expanding Baluchistan’s customs force, which now only has 378 anti-smuggling employees out of 20,000 total.

The mobilization of domestic tax income, which accounted for more than 64% of all revenues received in the current fiscal year, was hailed in the statement as a welcome change.

In parallel, the percentage of import duties has decreased to 36% from over 50% just three years prior. The main drivers of this increase in revenue were the several taxes sources. From Rs. 1,751 billion to Rs. 2,447 billion, income tax receipts increased significantly—by 40%.

Banks, the petroleum and oil lubricants (POL) business, the textile industry, the electricity sector, the food industry, and a number of service industries were among the major income tax payers. Up to mid-February, FBR receipts increased by 30% to Rs. 5.1 trillion. Notable rise was also seen in sales tax receipts, which increased by 19% from Rs. 1,480 billion to Rs. 1,766 billion.

POL, the electricity sector, the food sector, the automobile sector, the iron and steel sector, and the chemical sector were important growth drivers.

The amount collected in federal excise taxes increased significantly by 61%, from Rs. 190 billion to Rs. 307 billion.

Taxes on tobacco goods, the cement industry, drinks, airlines, fertilizers, and the automobile sector were the main causes of this increase. The amount collected in customs duties increased by 14%, from Rs. 552 billion to Rs. 629 billion.

The POL, automobile, iron and steel, electronics, and food industries were among the main donors to customs duties.

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