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World Bank approves $1.69bn financing for Pakistan’s flood rehabilitation efforts

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  • WB says Sindh was the worst-affected province by floods.
  • Two projects worth $500 million and another is worth $292 million. 
  • Two projects of $200 million also approved.

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on Tuesday approved $1.692 billion in financing for five projects in the flood-hit province of Sindh, announced the global lender in a statement.

Out of the five, three projects support rehabilitation and housing reconstruction and the restoration of crop production for vulnerable communities. Out of the three, two projects are worth $500 million and another is worth $292 million. 

While the other two projects support health services for mothers and children. Both projects are worth $200 million.

“Sindh was the province worst affected by the 2022 floods. There were huge damages to the housing, health, and agriculture sectors and people lost their livelihoods. Beyond the rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged houses and infrastructure, our engagement in the flood response effort is an opportunity to strengthen resilience, and reform institutions and governance structures”, said World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine.

The $500 million “Sindh Flood Emergency Rehabilitation Project” will focus on providing short-term livelihood opportunities and strengthen the provincial government’s capacity to respond to disasters.

“The project will help restore and improve critical irrigation and flood protection infrastructure, water supply schemes, roads, and related infrastructure,” said the global lender in the statement. It has forecast that close to 2 million people, out of which 50% are women, will benefit from the restoration and resilient reconstruction of critical infrastructure.

A community-level cash-for-work program will provide short-term income support to approximately 100,000 households.

On the other hand, the $500 million “Sindh Floods Emergency Housing Reconstruction Project” will support owner-driven and multi-hazard resilient reconstruction of core housing units.

Meanwhile, the $292 million approved for the “Sindh Water and Agriculture Transformation Project” will increase agricultural water productivity, improve integrated water resources management, and restore crop production by flood-affected farmers.

“More than 885,000 households (approximately 4.4 million people) are expected to benefit from the project. As an immediate response to the floods, the project will provide cash transfers to 800,000 flood-affected farming households to help restore crop production through the purchase of seeds, fertilizer, and other critical inputs,” the WB said.

The lender has also approved $200 million for the “Sindh Strengthening Social Protection Delivery System Project” that will strengthen the provincial social protection delivery system and enhance access to and utilization of mother and child health services.

Another $200 million was also approved for the “Sindh Integrated Health and Population Project” to improve both the quality and utilisation of basic reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition services.

“It will also help in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of health infrastructure that was damaged in the floods, disrupting the delivery of these services. The project will improve access to quality healthcare services for, the population of the selected government dispensaries in remote and peri-urban areas especially women, girls, and children, and in the flood-affected settlements in Sindh,” said the lender.

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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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