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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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In four months, FBR found Rs 800 billion in fraudulent tax refunds.

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Over the last four months, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has discovered a Rs800 billion tax refund scam.

The Inland Revenue and Customs reforms were considered at a review meeting that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif convened. During this time, the board allegedly discovered the Rs800 billion tax refund fraud.

According to the conference, there are 83,579 outstanding tax cases totaling Rs3.2 trillion, of which about 63 cases, or Rs44 billion, have been settled as a consequence of various government measures.

In an effort to speed up the resolution of tax issues, the prime minister also ordered the creation of 100 tribunals.

The gathering also featured the identification of around five million new taxpayers, of whom fifteen thousand retailers have enrolled since April 1, 2024.

View more:More than 46,000 traders have signed up for the Tajir Dost Scheme: FBR.

The prime minister has instructed the tax authorities to promptly include the five billion tax evaders in the tax system and has placed a strong emphasis on working with merchants to improve system efficiency.

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PM Gives FBR Instructions To Speed Up Digitization Work: An investigation revealed a Rs. 800 billion tax refund scam.

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Noting favorable results of FBR’s digitization efforts, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif revealed an 800 billion rupee tax refund scam discovered in the last four months.

Shehbaz Sharif stressed improving the tax refund system further while presiding over an important meeting on FBR reforms and digitization in Islamabad.

Regretting the delays in putting various reform programs into action, he emphasized that FBR changes had the potential to increase income.

There is a total of 3.2 trillion rupees worth of ongoing tax cases in various courts and tribunals, according to the briefing given to the conference. With 63 lawsuits worth 44 billion rupees resolved in the last four months, the current government has taken action to resolve these outstanding matters.

The prime minister has directed that efforts be made to attract as many of the 4.9 million potential taxpayers who are wealthy into the tax system as possible without putting undue strain on the impoverished.

Fifty thousand merchants have enrolled so far for the mobile phone retailer registration effort, which began in April.

He also emphasized the necessity for a consolidated approach for continuing reform initiatives and the complete digitization of FBR’s fraud detection and investigation department.

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Mining in Balochistan: Mari Pvt Ltd Secures Exploration License

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Licenses for mineral prospecting in the Chagai District of Balochistan have been obtained by Mari Mining Company Private Limited.

501 square kilometers and 513 square kilometers, respectively, are covered by the licenses that the Directorate General Mines and Minerals Balochistan awarded.

Mari Petroleum Company Limited has formed Mari Mining Company as a subsidiary. Major player in Pakistan’s natural gas sector, Mari Petroleum manages the country’s largest gas deposits in Sindh’s Dakhri Gas Field.

With a success record of 70%, which is much greater than many of its peers both domestically and internationally, Mari Petroleum is a major oil and gas exploration and production business.

Because of the efforts of organizations like the International Monetary Fund, Balochistan, a region rich in minerals and natural resources, is developing quickly.

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