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Oil at discounted rate: Russian team to visit Pakistan next month, says minister

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  • A Russian delegation will arrive in Pakistan on Jan 20.
  • Pakistan closes to strike a deal for Russian oil at discounted rate.  
  • US will not impose sanctions on Pakistan for the proposed deal, says govt.

The coalition government is moving ahead with its plans to strike a much-anticipated deal for Russian crude oil at a discounted rate as Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik on Tuesday said that a high-level delegation from Moscow will arrive in Islamabad on January 20.

A day earlier, the minister 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.” 

In a statement, Malik claimed that the US will not impose sanctions on Pakistan for the proposed deal.

Brushing aside claims of former prime minister Imran Khan about his alleged talks with Russia on oil import, Malik took credit for the proposed deal and said that the minutes of their meetings with Mosco officials can prove their claims.

Responding to a question about the financial crisis in the county, the minister said that the government is not deliberating on imposing any economic emergency. He maintained that the government recently paid $1 billion for Sukuk bonds.

He maintained that the country would not default.

‘Russia agreed to export petrol, diesel to Pakistan’

A day earlier, Malik said Moscow was agreed to provide crude oil to Pakistan at discounted rates.

Malik said Russia did not have Liquefied Natural Gas (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 has been in talks over the pipeline projects with Moscow.

Last week, The News, quoting sources, reported that Pakistan’s delegation 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.

Talking to the journalists, Malik said the country required one percent additional energy to meet the demand.

To a question, he said the government would ensure uninterrupted gas supply to households during cooking hours. “More gas is being supplied to the domestic sector in December 2022 compared to the last year,” the minister said

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Significant surge in the price of gold in Pakistan

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On Friday, the price of gold in Pakistan continued to increase.

According to the All-Pakistan Gems and Jewellers Sarafa Association, the price of 24-karat gold per tola has risen by Rs2,200, reaching Rs249,000.

The price of 10-gram 24-karat gold increased by Rs1,886, reaching a total of Rs213,477. On Thursday, the cost of 10 grammes of 22-karat gold was Rs195,687.

The global gold market likewise had a rising trajectory. As per APGJSA, the worldwide rate was $2,404 per ounce, showing a decline of $24 during the course of the trading day.

The local market witnessed constant silver prices at Rs2,900 per tola.

Market observers attribute the increase in gold prices to other variables, such as volatility in the global market, currency exchange rates, and economic conditions. The ongoing surge in gold prices is likely to impact investment choices and consumer behaviour in the near future.

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Gold prices in Pakistan have risen by Rs 1,200 per tola.

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The price of one tola of 24 carat gold rose by Rs1,200 and reached Rs246,800 on Thursday, compared to its previous sale price of Rs245,600 on the last trading day.

According to the All Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association, the cost of 10 grammes of 24 karat gold rose by Rs1,029 to reach Rs211,591, compared to the previous price of Rs210,562. Similarly, the price of 10 grammes of 22 carat gold jumped from Rs193,016 to Rs193,959.

The price of silver remained unchanged at Rs2,900 per tola and Rs2,486.28 per ten grammes.

According to the association, the international market price of gold rose by $10, reaching $2,382 from $2,372.

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The federal government has declared wage and pension increments for its employees.

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The Ministry of Finance has formally declared a rise in the remuneration and retirement benefits of personnel working for the federal government, offering substantial economic alleviation.

According to the notification, personnel in grades 1 to 16 will experience a 25% increment in their salaries, while officials in grades 17 to 22 will be granted a 20% rise. The implementation of this modification will commence on July 1, 2024, and will be applicable to the employees’ fundamental remuneration.

In addition, retired federal government employees would receive a 15% rise in their pension payments. This increase is applicable to retirees from both the civilian and military sectors. It is important to mention that employees who retire on or after July 1, 2024, will also qualify for this pension rise.

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The 15% increase in pension will be computed based on the amount of pension received by retired employees after deductions. Nevertheless, the letter specifies that ad hoc aid will not be factored into the calculations for pension and gratuity.

Moreover, this increment will have no effect on the calculation of housing rent allowances for employees.

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