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Pakistan expecting multi-billion dollar support from Saudi Arabia: sources

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  • Pakistan to likely secure a multi-billion dollar financial support.
  • Package to include deposits and oil on deferred payments.
  • FinMin Dar hopes talks with Saudi Arabia would materialise soon.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will likely secure a multi-billion dollar financial support package from longtime ally Saudi Arabia this month, two sources told Reuters.

The two finance ministry officials said the package will include deposits boosting the country’s foreign reserves, and oil on deferred payments.

Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar said earlier during a press conference hoped talks with Saudi Arabia would materialise soon — and Pakistan would not “default”.

Saudi Arabia Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan last week said the kingdom would help Pakistan’s finances as it looks to help shore up alliances with countries struggling due to soaring inflation.

Addressing a press conference in Riyadh, Al Jadaan said the Saudi government will “continue to support Pakistan as much as we can.”

Earlier this month, Saudia Arabia extended the term of a $3 billion deposit to boost foreign currency reserves and help Pakistan in overcoming the economic repercussions of the cataclysmic floods.

It should be noted that Pakistan is in dire need of funds as the country’s foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank fell $784 million to $6.7 billion as of December 2.

The decline means the reserves have fallen further from November’s barely one month of import cover, even as it battles decades of high inflation and scrambles to secure International Monetary Fund (IMF) funds.

The country’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen below the $7 billion level for the first time since January 2019. The current reserves stand at around $6.7 billion — almost equal to $6.6 billion on January 18, 2019.

A top official of the Finance Division told The News that in a bid to secure a breathing space amid the depleting foreign currency reserves, Pakistan is likely to secure a $4.2 billion additional package from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — including $3 billion deposits and a $1.2 billion oil facility on deferred payment.

With the materialisation of the augmented financial package, the total financial assistance from the KSA for Pakistan would go up to $8.4 billion in total.

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An increase in tax was made on restaurant card payments.

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After 15 years, the SRB reduced the service tax that 58 hotels and restaurants in Karachi could have charged on debit and credit card purchases to 15%. This action is a part of the Sindh budget, which was designed to make eating out less expensive for customers.

Prior to this, Sindh’s tax on credit and debit card purchases was lowered from 15% to 8%.

Officials from the SRB have further stated that the service was made available for input adjustment of restaurant tax payments. With this step, businesses will be able to efficiently handle their tax responsibilities and the tax process would be made simpler.

Only a few eateries have been given authority to remove the lower tax rate, even though this tax facility has been reversed.

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The KSE-100 Index rises following a sharp decline in the previous session.

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The government is considering filing a treason case under Article 6 against PTI founder Imran Khan, former president Arif Alvi, and former deputy speaker Qasim Suri. On Tuesday, the KSE-100 Index was up more than 1.3% during early trading, following a day of roughly a 2 percent loss due to growing political unrest and the potential banning of the party.

However, the benchmark index of the Pakistan Stock Exchange was trading at 79,074.63 by 11:49 a.m., having gained 535.45 points, or 0.68 percent, after reaching an intraday high of 79,578.04.

Market analysts said that political tensions were the primary cause of the KSE-100’s earlier Monday decline of 1578.71 points, or 1.97 percent.

They did point out, though, that a correction was a reasonable reaction to the protracted upswing that allowed the benchmark mark index to reach 81,839.86 on July 18.

As a result of interest rate cuts and the possibility of another IMF program, the Pakistan Stock Exchange has gained 22.97 percent so far this year. The cycle began on June 10 with a 1.5 percent decrease in borrowing costs.

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In interbank trade, the US dollar crushes the Pakistani rupee.

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During interbank trade on Tuesday, the US dollar’s value increased by 15 paisas, reaching Rs 278.45.

It is important to remember that Fitch Business Monitor International expressed concern about the possibility that Pakistan’s economic stability may be jeopardized by the ongoing political unrest.

The fragile situation of Pakistan’s economic recovery was emphasized by Fitch in its most recent Pakistan Country Risk Report, which also noted that economic activity has been impeded by urban protests.

(PTI),In spite of multiple successful judicial appeals, the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) is expected to stay behind bars, the article notes, underscoring the fragile political environment.

With no urgent plans for new elections, this scenario suggests that the coalition administration will remain in office for the next 18 months.

Fitch also described an eventuality in which the government could change and be replaced by a technocratic administration. This suggests that the government of Pakistan would carry out the reforms demanded by the IMF, contributing to the 3.2% GDP growth expected in 2024–2025.

The policy rate has stabilized above projections, while the research predicted it may reach 16 percent this fiscal year and 14 percent the following year.

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