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Pakistan’s business confidence score drops to negative 4%



  • OICCI conducts Business Confidence Index Survey – Wave 22 from Sept-Oct 2022.
  • Survey reveals highest drop in confidence was recorded in “services sector”.
  • Manufacturing sector records net confidence level of positive 3% despite drop of 20%.

KARACHI: Pakistan’s business confidence score (BCS) decreased to negative 4% in September-October 2022, against positive 17% in March-April 2022, Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) announced on Wednesday.

The OICCI’s comprehensive Business Confidence Index (BCI) Survey – Wave 22 was conducted throughout the country from September to October 2022.

It revealed that the highest drop in confidence was recorded in the “services sector” (24%), followed by “retail and wholesale trade” (22%), and the manufacturing sector (20%). 

The survey sample consisted of 42% respondents from the manufacturing sector, 33% from the services sector, and 25% from the retail/wholesale trade.

Despite recording a significant drop in confidence of 20%, the manufacturing sector recorded a net confidence level of positive 3%, whereas the services and retail sectors stood at negative 8% and 14% respectively.

Commenting on the BCS, OICCI President Ghias Khan said, “The substantial decline in the overall Business Confidence to negative 4% is regrettable but not surprising considering the highly challenging political and economic situation during the past six months.”

Besides very high inflation and increased fuel prices, significant currency devaluation also dampened economic activity. 

“Record level of rains during August leading to severe flooding in Sindh and other parts of the country further restricted the business activities,” he added.

OICCI BCI Survey, conducted periodically face to face, across the country in nine cities, covering 80% of the GDP, with higher weightage given to key business centres of Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi-Islamabad, and Faisalabad.

The OICCI Survey feedback covers business environment at regional, national, sectorial, and own business entity levels in the past six months, as well as the anticipated business and investment environment in the next six months.

Overall, more than half (56% vs 19% in previous wave) survey respondents were negative about the business environment in the past six months, and going forward only net 2% (vs 18% in the previous survey) were positive for the next six months. 

Commenting on the business situation for the next six months, OICCI Vice President Amir Paracha said, “These are challenging times, and the authorities are doing all they can to navigate the enormous challenges in front including managing inflation, restricted availability of foreign exchange and resource constraints.”

Key stakeholders, especially foreign investors would continue to support the authorities in taking long-term policy measures to streamline the economic fundamentals including fair taxation for all, and facilitate business and investment in the country, he added. 

The sentiments of the OICCI members, the leading foreign investors, who were randomly included in the survey, stand at positive 6%, substantially lower than the positive 33% in the previous wave. Foreign investors have in the past also shown higher confidence than non-members.

Commenting on OICCI members’ survey feedback, Ghias Khan, observed that “foreign investors’ feedback could have been more positive but for serious concerns on few critical issues like the undue delay in revising the pharma pricing and the extreme delays in overseas remittances for goods, services, and dividends”.

Such actions were seriously counterproductive for attracting foreign direct investment in the country. “The three major threats to business growth identified in the survey are inflation (78%), high taxation (71%), and currency devaluation (70%) which could potentially slowdown business growth in Pakistan, he noted.

Looking ahead, only 18% (34% in Wave 21) expect expansion in business operations, 2% (21% in Wave 21) planning new capital investment, and 7% of respondents (positive 16% in Wave 21) expect increased employment in their respective businesses.

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Petrol, diesel prices likely to go down from April 1




  • Petrol rate likely to reduce by Rs4-5 per litre.
  • Rs15-20 per litre reduction expected in diesel price.
  • Sources hint at possibility of prices remaining unchanged.

Following a reduction in international crude oil prices, the rates of petroleum products in Pakistan are expected to decline from April 1, Geo News reported Wednesday.

According to estimates of oil marketing companies (OMCs), the price of diesel is likely to decline by Rs15-20 per litre while the price of petrol is expected to go down by Rs4-5 per litre.

However, well-placed sources in the industry said that there is a possibility that the Finance Division keeps the price unchanged.

In its last fortnight bulletin, the federal government raised the price of petrol to Rs272 per litre.

The Finance Division attributed the price hike to the depreciation of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar and an increase in the prices registered by Platts Singapore.

The price of MS (petrol) was increased by Rs5 per litre and the price of hi-speed diesel was increased by Rs13 per litre.

The increase in the price of kerosene oil was kept at Rs2.56 by reducing the government’s dues on it. Similarly, the price of light diesel oil was kept constant by adjusting the government dues as well.

The new prices came into effect on March 16 and will remain in place till March 31.

The Finance Division will announce the news rates on March 31 which will remain in place for the next 15 days. 

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Banks to observe extended working hours




At the request of the Federal Board of Revenue, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Wednesday directed all branches of banks to observe extended banking hours in order to facilitate the taxpayers in payment of government duties/taxes.

The central bank, in a statement issued in this regard, said that the direction is for all branches of banks including the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and field offices of SBP Banking Services Corporation (SBP-BSC).

“[…] all branches of banks including National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and field offices of SBP Banking Services Corporation (SBP-BSC) shall observe extended banking hours until 04:00 P.M. and 06:00 P.M. on 30th and 31st March 2023 respectively for collection of government taxes through ADC’s Over-the-Counter (OTC) facility,” the statement read.

It mentioned that National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (NIFT) shall arrange a special clearing at 6pm on March 31 (Friday) for the same-day clearing of payment instruments deposited at NBP’s authorised branches for customs collections.

“For this purpose, all banks shall arrange to keep their clearing-related branches open till such time that is necessary to facilitate the special clearing by NIFT on March 31, 2023 (Friday),” it read.

It should be noted that during Ramadan, banks observe reduced hours. Currently, the timings are:

Public dealing timings:

  • Monday to Thursday — 9am to 2pm (without break)
  • Friday — 8:30am to 1pm (without break)

Office timings:

  • Monday to Thursday — 9am to 3:30pm (with prayer break from 2pm to 2:30pm)
  • Friday — 8:30am to 1pm (without break)

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PM Shehbaz takes notice of gas loadshedding during sehr, iftar




  • PM Shehbaz says he has already taken notice of the matter.
  • Premier summons a meeting to discuss issue of gas loadshedding.
  • “We will leave no stone unturned to address this issue,” PM says.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday assured the members of the National Assembly that his government would address the issue of gas loadshedding during sehr and iftar as inflation-weary people have been registering complaints.

The prime minister, responding to a point of order raised by MNA Syed Agha Rafiullah, told the house that he had already taken notice of the matter.

PM Shehbaz shared that he had already summoned a meeting to be held later in the day, to discuss the issue of gas loadshedding.

“We will leave no stone unturned to address this issue,” the prime minister assured the house.

Earlier, a parliamentarian from Karachi’s Malir area drew the house’s attention to the problem of gas loadshedding being faced by the people, particularly those of Karachi, during sehr and iftar.

He said though the prime minister had already taken notice of the situation, the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) needed to be directed to resolve the issue and provide uninterrupted supply during sehr and iftar.

Last week, the SSGC said gas would be supplied to domestic consumers during the holy month of Ramadan, but for limited hours — a move that irked consumers who complained of not getting enough of this essential fuel during mealtimes.

The utility had said that the gas pressure would be low from 8am to 2:30pm as it was facing a shortfall of 250 million mmbtu.

According to the SSGC helpline, for iftar, gas will be supplied to consumers in Karachi from 2:30pm to 7pm, while for sehr it will be available from 2:30am to 5am.

The gas utility added that consumers would face complete suspension or low pressure during the rest of the hours. 

However, the people have been complaining that gas remained suspended during sehr and iftar which forced them to purchase meals from hotels and restaurants which burdened their pockets.

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