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Pakistan economy related news

Zeeman

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Even after this increase the price of oil is still lower than 2019 levels.
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Zeeman

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As usual WB projections are way off and Pakistan is defying expectations.

WB sees 23pc cut in Pakistan’s remittances

but we actually did a lot better.


FY20 remittances soar to record $23bn

KARACHI: Pakistan received record $23 billion in remittances in 2019-20 while the inflows jumped by 51 per cent year-on-year to $2.466bn in June, data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) showed on Monday.
Despite economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19, the remittances in the last quarter of the fiscal year 2019-20 i.e. March-June increased significantly helping the country get more than expected inflows.
“Workers’ remittances rose by a significant 50.7pc during June to reach record high of $2.466bn compared with $1.636bn in June 2019,” said the SBP press release.
The inflows in the month grew significantly compared to May when the country received around $1.866bn, rising despite the negative outlook due to the impact of coronavirus on the global economy.

“On a cumulative basis, workers’ remittances increased to a historic high level of $23.120bn during FY20, witnessing a growth of 6.4pc over $21.739bn during FY19,” said the SBP.
June sees 51pc increase
Policy makers had earlier feared remittances to slump in the last quarter of fiscal year 2020 because of the impact of Covid-19 on the economic activity around the world, but the inflows increased by 7.8pc.
During June, major chunk of the workers’ remittances were from Saudi Arabia at $619.4 million, USA $452m, UAE $431.7m and UK $401m recording increases of 42pc, 7.1pc, 33.5pc and 40.8pc respectively as compared to May.
Highest remittances during the 12 months ending June 30 were received from Saudi Arabia, rising 6.8pc to $5.432bn against 3pc growth in FY19.
Meanwhile, despite 0.98pc growth, the remittances from UAE were second highest in terms of total inflows reaching $4.662bn in FY20. In FY19, remittances from the UAE grew by 6pc.
The highest growth in remittances was witnessed from the United States as it jumped by 25pc to $4.163bn compared to 16.6pc in FY19.
On the other hand, remittances from the UK increased by 1.5pc to $3.465bn in FY20 compared to 18pc in FY19.
The remittances from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries were up by 2pc to $2.162bn while inflows from Malaysia were down 8pc to $1.426bn in FY20. The growth in remittances from Malaysia was 35pc in FY19.
The SBP said the significant increase in remittances during June can be attributed to a number of factors.
“Since many of the countries eased lockdown in June, overseas Pakistanis were able to transfer accumulative funds, which they were unable to send earlier,” it said. Further, it is also believed that they sent remittances to support extended families and friends due to Covid-19, it added.
Seasonal inflows in the month of Ramazan coupled by zakat and charity funds collectively increased the inflows during the last fiscal year.
In addition to these, the government and the SBP also played their role in increasing inflows during the FY20 in general and Covid-19 period, said the SBP.
Supportive government policies in terms of extension of Reimbursement of TT Charges Scheme (Free Send Remittance Scheme) to small remitters by reducing threshold amount from $200 to $100. In addition, financial institutions also increased the incentives for sending remittances through regular channels.
“Financial institutions were motivated to use effective marketing campaigns with particular focus on digital channels for sending and receiving remittances to promote the use of legal channels,” said the SBP.
Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2020
 

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SC dismisses SHC stay order, allows government to take action against sugar mills

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the stay order issued by the Sindh High Court and allowed the federal government to take action against sugar mills accused of raising the price of sugar to make illegal profits.

The apex court in its order stated that the government should take action according to the law and directed it not to take any unnecessary action against the sugar mill owners.

The top court also directed the Islamabad and Sindh High Courts to pass a verdict on the plea filed by the sugar mills within three weeks. The court also barred the government officials from making statements on the sugar commission report.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had dismissed the federal government’s plea to stop the implementation on the recommendations of the Sugar Inquiry Committee (SIC).

The apex court’s three-member bench under Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed dismissed the plea while hearing the case today on the plea filed against the Sindh High Court’s decision which had stopped the government from taking action against sugar mill owners held responsible for the sugar price hike earlier this year.

Last month, the interior ministry had approached the apex court to challenge the SHC's decision barring the federal government from taking action on the recommendations of the Sugar Inquiry Commission report.

The SHC had suspended the operation on the Sugar Inquiry Commission report to the extent of as many as 20 sugar mills owners in Sindh.
The interim order came on the petition of Mirpurkhas Sugar Mills and others, which sought quashing of the Sugar Commission Inquiry report.

The sugar inquiry commission report which came out as a bombshell has been already rejected by the main opposition party PML-N. Meanwhile, the government has repeated multiple times that it will hold everyone accused of benefiting from the scandal accountable.

'Damning revelations in Sugar Inquiry Commission's report'

The Sugar Inquiry Commission report had laid bare some startling revelations about how the price of sugar is fixed, how exports of the commodity are faked to avail rebates on sales taxes, and how billions of rupees are overcharged by sugar mills owners.

According to sources, the report mentioned in depth how the amount of sugar exported to Afghanistan is routinely inflated to show as if 75 tonnes of the commodity were being exported per truck.

However, this is barely possible, given that the maximum capacity of a truck, even when overloaded, does not exceed 30 tonnes.

The scam also seemingly has another purpose: laundering money. If sugar is being exported to Afghanistan, the payment should also be coming in from the same country.

However, it was found by the commission that many sugar mill owners were receiving telegraphic transfers for payments for sugar sold to Afghanistan from the US and Dubai, therefore seemingly whitening money and earning dollars at the same time.

Another important finding highlighted in the report is that sugar mills paid an estimated Rs22bn in taxes to the Government of Pakistan, but out of that total amount, Rs12bn was reclaimed in rebates. Hence, the net contribution was close to around Rs10bn.
 

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Some details from the second half of this article:
Supreme Court allows govt to take action against sugar mill owners

The Sugar Inquiry Commission report had laid bare some startling revelations about how the price of sugar is fixed, how exports of the commodity are faked to avail rebates on sales taxes, and how billions of rupees are overcharged by sugar mills owners.

According to sources, the report mentioned in depth how the amount of sugar exported to Afghanistan is routinely inflated to show as if 75 tonnes of the commodity were being exported per truck.

However, this is barely possible, given that the maximum capacity of a truck, even when overloaded, does not exceed 30 tonnes.

The scam also seemingly has another purpose: laundering money. If sugar is being exported to Afghanistan, the payment should also be coming in from the same country.

However, it was found by the commission that many sugar mill owners were receiving telegraphic transfers for payments for sugar sold to Afghanistan from the US and Dubai, therefore seemingly whitening money and earning dollars at the same time.

Another important finding highlighted in the report is that sugar mills paid an estimated Rs22bn in taxes to the Government of Pakistan, but out of that total amount, Rs12bn was reclaimed in rebates. Hence, the net contribution was close to around Rs10bn.
 

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‘NAB recovers over Rs466b since its inception’

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (R) Javed Iqbal Friday said the NAB’s major focus is on corruption and corrupt practices of money laundering, cases of cheating the public at large, willful bank loan defaults, misuse of authority and embezzlement of state funds.

“Since the NAB’s inception, one of NAB’s major achievements has been the recovery of around Rs466.069 billion which is a great achievement as per the annual report of 2019 of NAB,” he said in a statement.

The NAB chairman said starting from the year 2017 which can be called basically a year of reinvigoration of the NAB, the Bureau has moved with new zeal and effort after through introspection and overhaul of procedures and all pillars of the organisation i.e. operations, prosecution, human resource management, training and research and awareness and prevention have been reactivated.

He said the overall complaints in 2019 were 53,643 and 42,760 were processed, whereas complaints in 2018 were 48,591 and 41,414 were processed. “Increase in the number of complaints also reflects enhanced public trust in the NAB,” he said.

He said the NAB during 2019, processed 1,308 complaint verifications, 1,686 inquiries and 609 investigations and recovered Rs141.542 billion from corrupt elements.

The NAB chairman said the present management of NAB has chalked out an effective and proactive anti-corruption strategy which has started been acknowledged by Transparency International (TI) Pakistan, World Economic Forum, Pildat and Mishal Pakistan.

He said the initiatives taken by the present management of NAB started yielding excellent results. “Similarly, Gilani and Gallop recent survey indicated that 59 percent people of Pakistan have full faith upon NAB which is ample evidence of NAB’s across the board accountability,” he said.

Justice (R) Javed Iqbal said due to the NAB’s proactive anti-corruption strategy, overall conviction ratio is about 68.8 percent. He said that NAB has geared up and rejuvenated to eradicate corruption within all its forms and manifestations.

He said that NAB has introduced a new concept of Combine Investigation Team (CIT) in order to benefit from the experience and collective wisdom of senior supervisory officers, a system of CIT consisting of director, additional director, investigation officer and a senior legal counsel has been put in place.

He said Pakistan is committed to United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in eradicating corruption through its three pronged anti corruption strategy of awareness, prevention and enforcement which has started yielding excellent results.

‘NAB recovers over Rs466b since its inception’
 

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Pakistan Pharma Among World's Top 3 Fastest Growing

Pakistan pharmaceutical industry and market are among the world's top 3 fastest growing, according to IQVIA health market research firm based in the United States. Pakistan’s domestic pharmaceutical firms sales have grown 13.1% compounded annually in the last 4 years, outperforming multinational companies (MNCs), which saw global growth of 9.34% CAGR. Pakistan's pharma sector is growing faster than in other emerging markets like Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Russia and Vietnam.

Emerging faster than the MNCs, the quarterly revenues of the local Pakistani pharmaceutical companies surged to Rs. 320 billion in the quarter ending March 31, 2020, compared with Rs. 195.75 billion as of March 31, 2016. Similarly, MNCs increased their quarterly sales in Pakistan to Rs. 143.2 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2020, up from Rs. 100.2 billion in Q12016, according to Pakistani media reports. Pakistan exported $217.04 million worth of pharma products during 2019, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.

Medicine spending growth in the emerging pharmaceutical ("pharmerging") markets continues to slow compared to the past five years and is projected to grow at 5–8% through 2023, according to US-based global market research firm IQVIA.

Although China, Brazil and India have the largest medicine spending within the pharmerging markets, Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan are forecast to have the greatest growth between 2019 and 2023. Pharmerging market growth continues to derive primarily from increasing per capita use, but some markets are seeing wider uptake of newer medicines as patients’ ability to afford their share of costs improves with economic growth.

Pakistan's top 5 pharma companies, including GSK, Abbott, and AGP Pharma, saw their profits jump 37% in Q1/2020 over the same period last year, to Rs2.6 billion. In the same quarter, profits of 13 consumer giants, including Nestle, Packages, Pakistan Tobacco and Colgate, remained flat amid COVID19 pandemic.

In growing recognition of Pakistan's pharmaceutical sector, the US-based Gilead Sciences recently chose to license COVID19 drug Remdesivir to Pakistan's Ferozsons pharmaceutical company. Other Remdisivir licensees include pharma companies in India. Gilead said it signed non-exclusive licensing pacts with 5 generic drugmakers based in India and Pakistan, allowing them make and sell Remdesivir for 127 countries.

Pakistan Pharma Among World's Top 3 Fastest Growing
 

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