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US concerned about debt Pakistan owes China, official says

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  • Derek Chollet is in Pakistan leading a high-ranking delegation. 
  • We wouldn’t ask Pakistan to choose between US, China, says official.
  • Says Washington working with Islamabad to navigate through current crisis.

ISLAMABAD: The United States is concerned about the debt owed to China by Pakistan and other countries, US State Department Counselor Derek Chollet said on Thursday during a visit to Islamabad as the country dealt with an economic crisis.

Pakistan, historically a close ally of Washington, has become increasingly close to China, which has provided billions in loans and is Islamabad’s largest single creditor. Pakistan faces a crippling economic crisis, with decades-high inflation and critically low foreign exchange reserves depleted by continued debt repayment obligations.

“We have been very clear about our concerns not just here in Pakistan, but elsewhere all around the world about Chinese debt, or debt owed to China,” Chollet told journalists at the US Embassy in Islamabad after he met with Pakistani officials.

China and Chinese commercial banks held about 30% of Pakistan’s total external debt of about $100 billion, according to a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released in September last year.

Much of that debt has come under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Cholett said Washington was talking to Islamabad about the “perils” of a closer relationship with Beijing, but would not ask Pakistan to choose between the United States and China.

Relations between Islamabad and Washington had turned frosty over the war in Afghanistan, but there has been a thaw in recent months, with an increasing number of high-level visits.

Officials from China and the United States will be part of a multi-country meeting of a new sovereign debt roundtable on Friday.

G7 and multilateral lending institutions have long pushed for broad efforts to deliver debt relief to heavily indebted nations to help them avoid cuts in social services that could spur social unrest.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other G7 officials see China, now the world’s largest sovereign creditor, as a key stumbling block in debt-relief efforts.

Chollet said the US was working with Pakistan to navigate through the current crisis.

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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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