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Gold takes a breather in Pakistan, falls Rs2,800 per tola

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  • Russian delegation comprises 80 members. 
  • Team to arrive in Pakistan on January 17. 
  • Both sides to deliberate settlement of Pakistan’s debt to Russia.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is set to to hold bilateral talks with a Russian delegation, arriving tomorrow, on an oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade deal for a long-term basis and the much-touted flagship $3 billion Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline (PSGP) project, The News reported Monday citing senior officials of the Energy Ministry.

The delegation, comprising 80 members, will arrive in Pakistan on January 17 for three-day bilateral talks under the forum of the Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC).

“The Pakistani side will be headed by Federal Minister Sardar Ayaz Sadiq for the IGC talks. For the import of Russian oil and LNG on a GtG basis, both countries need to first negotiate the IGA (inter-governmental agreement) as had been finalised and inked in the case of the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project (PSGP), which was earlier called the North-South Gas pipeline project,” they said.

When former prime minister Imran Khan had visited Moscow on February 24, 2022, the draft of the shareholding and facilitation agreement for PSGP was not finalised. Both sides wanted to sign the PSGP deal during the Imran-Putin meeting but it did not happen because of a disagreement on some clauses of the shareholding agreement from experts from both sides.

Right now, the G7 countries have imposed a price cap of $60 per barrel on Russian crude oil with a ban on Russian ships for oil transportation. In return, Moscow said it would ban oil sales to countries that join a Western price cap on the country’s crude.

During the talks, the Pakistan side needs to discuss the shipping cost, the premium by shipping trader, insurance cover and mode of payment.

However, the agenda of the IGC unfolds cooperation in areas of trade and investments, including agriculture, energy, customs, industry, education, science and technology, information and communication technologies, communication, roads and postal service, railways, and finance. A settlement of Pakistan’s debt to Russia will also be deliberated.

Both sides will also discuss prospects of cooperation in the field of electric power, hydropower, renewable energy sources and oil and gas production.

Discounted crude oil

On December 5, 2022, Minister of State (Petroleum Division) Musadik Malik said Russia had agreed to provide crude oil as well as petrol and diesel to Pakistan at discounted rates.

“Our visit to Russia turned out to be more productive than expected,” Malik said. He added that Russia did not have LNG. “Talks with Russia private firms are underway for the import of LNG, while we have also engaged Russia’s state LNG producers,” Malik said.

According to the state minister, significant progress was made in talks over the pipeline projects with Moscow.

On its visit to Russia, Pakistan had asked for a 30-40% discount on Russian crude oil during talks in Moscow, but the Russians said they could not offer anything right now as all volumes were committed.

During talks on the gas pipeline projects, Moscow asked Pakistan to first honour its commitment to the flagship project of the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline (PSGP) to be laid down from Karachi to Lahore, Punjab.

In their response, the Pakistani team proposed to change the model of the PSGP project. The Russian side said that the model of the project under GtG (government-to-government) arrangement had already been settled, save for some clauses of the shareholding agreement, which would soon be finalised. 

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Donald Lu visits Finance Minister Aurangzeb at the World Bank headquarters.

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Wednesday saw Minister for Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb meet US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Horst.

The finance minister briefed US officials on Pakistan’s reform plan at the World Bank. Meeting both delegations decided to improve bilateral ties.

Meeting topics included alternative energy, agriculture, climate, and tech industry. Boosting the Pakistan-US economic partnership was another finance ministry priority.

With US officials, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb addressed IT, agriculture, and other business potential.

Pakistan would collaborate with the US International Development Finance Corporation and Exim Bank, according to Muhammad Aurangzeb.

His name is Donald Lu.
Over 30 years of US government service for Lu as a foreign service officer.

What Pakistan calls the “cipher” dispute involves the American official. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder claimed that a supposed official letter between Washington and Islamabad proved his ousting as PM was a US conspiracy.

Washington has strongly refuted Khan’s allegations.

The State Department’s top South and Central Asia diplomat is Donald Lu, assistant secretary of state.

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Huge investment potential exists in the telecom and IT sectors. Shaza Fatima

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According to Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Minister of State for IT and Telecommunication, there are numerous investment prospects in Pakistan’s IT and telecom sectors.

She noted that the current administration is dedicated to fostering foreign investment in the nation, in line with the Prime Minister’s goal.

According to a news release, CEOs Wateen Adil Rashid and Muhammad Shahbaz Khan of Taavun (Pvt) Limited, who paid her a visit on Tuesday, spoke with Minister of State for IT and Telecommunication Shaza Fatima Khawaja.

She declared that the private sector would receive complete support because it is essential to growing our exports.

Regarding youngsters, she stated that they are our greatest asset and that efforts are being made to further their growth.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates was thanked by Shaza Fatima for his particular interest in promoting additional investment in Pakistan’s telecom industry.

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WB pledges complete support for changes aimed at stabilizing Pakistan’s economy.

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Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Muhammad Aurangzeb, met with President of the World Bank Group, Ajay Banga, according to a press release from the ministry of finance here. During the meeting, the minister discussed Pakistan’s progress under the nine-month Standby Arrangement (SBA) program as well as ongoing reforms in priority areas of taxation, energy, and privatization.

According to the statement, the minister also extended an invitation to the president to visit Pakistan, and both parties acknowledged the necessity of a rolling 10-year country framework plan.

The minister also talked on safeguarding Pakistan’s eligibility for concessional funding and future project pipeline during a meeting with Masatsugu Asakawa, President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The chief executive officer of the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Scott Nathan, also met with the minister of finance.

They discussed during the conference how DFC may increase its investments in Pakistan after resolving unresolved conflicts in a cooperative manner.

According to the minister, the government is supporting creative financing strategies to maximize PPP potential and private sector participation.

According to the statement, he gave his word that the government will do everything in its power to assist investment projects by both foreign and local businesses in Pakistan.

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