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Flood impacted Pakistan’s economy by $10b: Miftah Ismail



  • Minister of Finance Miftah Ismail says flash floods caused at least $10 billion in damage.
  • Says various sectors of country’s already struggling economy have been impacted.
  • Islamabad will first seek financial assistance from the international community.

Minister of Finance Miftah Ismail has said that the flash floods have caused at least $10 billion in damages to various sectors of the country’s already struggling economy.

Talking to the media, Miftah said that these were preliminary assessments that could change after conducting field surveys. Miftah stated that he does not currently have details on the losses suffered by each sector of the economy.

When asked if the country had taken the donors’ initial assessment of damage seriously, the minister replied in the negative. According to top officials, Islamabad will first seek financial assistance from the international community, and then it will assess the damages separately or jointly with the donors to determine the exact figures, but first and foremost, the government will focus on all-out relief efforts to rescue the victims.

In 2005 earthquake and 2010 floods, Pakistan and donors assessed the losses caused to different sectors of economy, and then the donors helped Islamabad during the reconstruction phase after relief and rehabilitation.

Now, the same strategy would be adopted. Initial assessments show that more than 1,000 people and millions of livestock have died in different parts of the country, besides damage to an untold number of houses, hotels and roods in major flood-hit areas of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and KP.

Miftah says PTI has put country’s economy at risk for politicking; hits back at Fawad, Hammad; says IK’s lust for power knows no bounds News Desk adds: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail on Sunday fired back at PTI leaders Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Hammad Azhar, saying the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has put the country’s economy at risk and PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s lust for power has no bounds.

The finance minister, firing back at PTI leader Chaudhry Fawad Hussain for his critical remarks, tweeted: “Chaudhry sb, you have endangered Pakistan’s economy just for the sake of politics. This is very saddening. You were not like this before but the PTI has left very bad impact on you.”

Earlier, PTI leader Chaudhry Fawad Hussain tweeted: “It is simple that we can’t chop off our hands and give them to the IMF. No one trusts your corrupt government. Therefore put all the conditions of IMF programme before the nation. After getting the loans, you will run away, while the nation will have to bear the brunt. Therefore, there should be full disclosure of the IMF programme.”

Hitting back at PTI leader Hammad Azhar, Miftah tweeted: “You know this is absolutely untrue. Fawad said on TV a day before that such letters would be coming. Your successor called KP’s & Punjab’s finance ministries for these letters. Punjab refused. KP complied. Then, PTI leaked it. Shame really. IK’s lust for power knows no bounds.”

Earlier, Hammad Azhar tweeted: “From Miftah leaking Jhagra’s letter just before IMF meeting to the entire PDM doing nothing but photoshoots on the flood catastrophe. These artificial rulers are not only incompetent but also disgraceful.”


Gold rate declines for second consecutive day




  • Rate of gold reaches Rs232,800 per tola. 
  • International rate up by $11 per ounce. 
  • The silver price remains unchanged. 

Despite an increase in the international rate, gold’s value declined in Pakistan for the second consecutive day Tuesday.

Data provided by the All Pakistan Sarafa Gems and Jewellers Association (APSGJA) showed the price of gold (24 carats) decreased by Rs1,700 per tola and Rs1,458 per 10 grams to reach Rs232,800 and Rs199,588, respectively.

The gold rate cumulatively lost Rs1,100 per tola last week, and a further Rs1,700 on the opening day this week.

Meanwhile, the international price went up $11 to settle at $1,956 per ounce. 

The safe-haven bullion’s value has remained volatile in the international market recently. However, it bounced back from its lowest level in over two months Tuesday after the US dollar’s value declined from a high and investors remained anxious about negotiations on the US debt ceiling.

If the debt ceiling — which is currently capped at $31.4 trillion — is not raised in the next few days, it would trigger the first-ever US default.

Investors also remained wary about a possible hike in the interest rate, which would negatively affect gold’s value.

Meanwhile, the gold rate has been volatile in Pakistan recently amid continued political and economic uncertainty, high inflation, and currency depreciation. People prefer to buy the yellow metal in such times as a safe investment and a hedge.

The rupee gained Re0.07 or 0.02% against the US dollar in the interbank market Tuesday, closing at Rs285.35, according to State Bank of Pakistan data.

Data shared by the jeweller’s body showed that the rate of silver remained unchanged at Rs2,850 per tola and Rs2,443.41 per 20 grams, respectively. 

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France launching electric car battery factory to dent Chinese dominance




Under a plan of reindustrialisation by President Emmanuel Macron, France is to inaugurate a factory for manufacturing batteries for electric cars Tuesday in Billy-Berclau — the first of its kind — challenging the Chinese dominance in the industry, according to an AFP report.

Battery industry buildup is a component of the plan by Macron with a clutch of factories set to emerge in the north of the country over the next three years.

The “gigafactory” is owned by Automotive Cells Company, a partnership between French energy giant TotalEnergies, Germany’s Mercedes-Benz and US-European automaker Stellantis, which produces a range of brands including Peugeot, Fiat and Chrysler.

The inauguration will be attended by French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire and the country’s energy transition and industry ministers along with German and Italian officials.

The heads of Mercedes, Stellantis and TotalEnergies will also be at the event.

The factory is as large as football pitches in which production will commence this summer.

Elected officials and business leaders intend to turn the Hauts-de-France region into “Battery Valley” — the electric car industry’s answer to Silicon Valley.

AESC-Envision — a Sino-Japanese group — is building a plant near the city of Douai which will supply French automaker Renault from early 2025.

French startup Verkor is scheduled to begin production at a facility in Dunkirk from mid-2025 while Taiwan’s ProLogium has also chosen the coastal city for its first European factory, with output to start in 2026.

Competition between US and China

As European Union (EU) has marked a deadline of 2035 to phase out fossil fuel-run cars, the countries are racing to step up the production of batteries and electric vehicles to meet the target of electric vehicles within the deadline.

In recent years, around 50 battery factory projects have been announced in the EU and the French government has set a target of producing two million electric vehicles per year by 2030, as per the economy ministry.

The ministry said that “the ACC plant will supply 500,000 vehicles per year by then.”

China is the world leader in electric car battery production and also dominates the production of the raw materials needed to make them.

Europe also faces stiff competition from the United States, which is heavily subsidising the sector through the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $370 billion in clean energy incentives.

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Govt mulls slashing duty on mobile phones in budget




ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is mulling options to reduce the duty on mobile phones in the federal budget for the fiscal year 2023-24 — which is expected to be unveiled on June 9 — keeping in view the suggestions of Pakistan Mobile Phone Traders, The News reported Monday.

Previously, the government was obliged to raise the duty on mobile phones by 100% to 150%, and resultantly, only Rs5 billion to Rs10 billion were being deposited in the national exchequer instead of Rs85 billion.

The number of mobile phone users in Pakistan has exceeded 186.9 million. 

In order to cope with the financial crisis of the current financial year, in the new budget, a proposal for a conspicuous reduction in the rates of duties on cellular phones is under consideration, which is about 100% to 150% at present on small and big mobile phones. 

The mobile industry is on the brink of collapse due to an increase in taxes. It not only affected traders but also made the life of millions of people difficult to earn a livelihood.

It has been learnt that a delegation of the Mobile Phones Traders Association has given recommendations to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and other senior officials. 

The delegation ensured that efforts would be made to include the recommendations in the budget. These proposals and recommendations are being reviewed to make them a part of the new budget.

It has been learnt that a 75% duty was imposed on cellular phones in Pakistan as compared to other countries of the region like Singapore, Bangladesh and Turkey where it is not at that level. That is the reason people are using smartphones without paying duties in connivance with FBR.

The additional 100% to 150% duty on cell phones has made it out of reach of the poor, labourers, daily wagers, students, professionals, the lawyer community, and civil society. 

All Pakistan Mobile Phones Traders Association General Secretary Munir Beg Mirza said that due to the ban on the import of used mobile phones, smuggling has increased to give favour to a few companies. 

Also, people are using smartphones illegally without paying heavy taxes to enjoy all functions of smartphones, which is inflicting a loss on the national kitty.

He said that not only every consumer would pay tax but also the government would get Rs100 billion instead of Rs5 billion on phones if an appropriate duty was imposed in the new financial year.

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