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Electricity price hike is unavoidable in coming months: Shaukat Tarin

The power tariff hike in months to come is unavoidable as Pakistan has already agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to increase the price of electricity, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin Monday said.

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Electricity price hike is unavoidable in coming months: Shaukat Tarin
GNN Media: Representational Photo

He told a press confernece that after receiving a confirmation from the IMF regarding the staff-level agreement, it is an "uphill task to back out from the programme after the receipt of $500 million from the Fund."

Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar was also present.

Tarin said negotiations with the IMF have ended successfully, adding the fund has called for tax reforms to continue.

"The Asia Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank will also provide us with funds," he maintained.

Tarin stated that the Fund has directed Pakistan to improve the tax system, stabilise spending, and fiscal discipline in order to continue the provision of tax reforms.

"Further improvement is needed in the tax reforms," Tarin said, citing the conditions of the Fund.

The adviser further added that the transparency of the state-owned enterprise needs to be enhanced.

Shedding light on the IMF's condition regarding the autonomy of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the PM's aide said that reforms have been introduced to clarify the duties of the central bank.

"We have to amend the SBP Act," Tarin said, adding that Pakistan had already agreed to the condition regarding the autonomy of the SBP when they had imposed the condition earlier in March.

"Hence, it was important for us to give autonomy to the State Bank. I had said earlier as well that increase in tariff is not the solution," Tarin said, adding that if prices are raised the pressure on the poor will increase.

Mentioning the details of the prolonged talks with the global lender, he said that during the negotiations, the delegation from Pakistan tried to save some of the sectors, including agriculture.

He, however, added that there is still room for improvement in tax laws and ease of doing business.

The PM's aide also mentioned that the IMF had asked Pakistan to increase the petroleum levy to Rs10 billion, "which we will not be able to do so."

"Moreover, they have asked us to impose tax worth Rs700 billion," he added.

Hammad Azhar congratulated the adviser on the successful conclusion of the IMF talks, saying the basic electricity prices will be jacked up in the coming months.

"These are difficult times and people around the world are facing problems due to COVID-19," he said, adding that inflation around the world is at its 30-year high level.

Endorsing his views, Tarin stated that the international financial institutions appreciated Pakistan's economic growth during the pandemic.

The adviser was of the view that the monetary policy should be free.

"Petroleum development levy should be increased by Rs4 per litre every month, he said, adding that the government aims to take the petroleum development levy up to Rs30.

He further mentioned that the IMF acknowledged the tremendous work done in the energy sector. 

Faisal Ali Ghumman

Mr. Ghumman is a seasoned journalist who has 19 years of diversified experience in print, electronic and digital media. He has worked with 92 News HD, Daily Pakistan Today, Daily The Business, Daily Dawn, Daily Times and Pakistan Observer as News Reporter, Feature Writer, Editor, Web Content Editor and Article Writer. Mr Ghumman has graduated from the Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan and is currently enrolled in M.Phil in Mass Communication at the University of Punjab.

Sports

Former Pakistan Pacer Umar Gul Appointed Bowling Coach

The 37-year-old is widely regarded as one of the finest pacers, particularly in T20 cricket

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Former Pakistan Pacer Umar Gul Appointed Bowling Coach

Kabul: Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has appointed former Pakistan speedster, Umar Gul, for a period of one year. Gul’s first assignment with the Afghanistan side will be on their limited-overs tour of Zimbabwe next month.

The former pacer has earlier worked with the board as a bowling consultant for their three-week training camp held in Dubai in April alongside mate Younis Khan as the batting coach.

However, on seeing his performance with the team, ACB is delighted to announce the extension in the role.

This will be Gul’s first coaching assignment in international cricket after serving as the bowling coach of Quetta Gladiators in the 2021 season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

The 37-year-old is widely regarded as one of the finest pacers, particularly in T20 cricket. Gul had an exceptional record in T20Is as he picked up 85 wickets at an average of 16.97 and an economy rate of 7.19 in 60 matches in a T20I career spanning almost 9 years. Gul retired from all forms of cricket in 2019 and has since worked as a coach.

The former pacer has previously coached in Pakistan’s premier T20 tournament, Pakistan Super League (PSL), as a bowling coach for Quetta Gladiators. He has also worked as a coach in the Kashmir Premier League (KPL) and was the head coach of Galle Gladiators in the previous edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL).

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Pakistan

NA passes election amendment bill; scraps electronic voting

Law Minister rejected the impression that the amendment is aimed at depriving overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote.

Published by Mehak Javed

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NA passes election amendment bill; scraps electronic voting

Islamabad: The National Assembly on Thursday passed "The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022" to conduct pilot projects in bye-elections before using I-Voting and Electronic Voting Machines in the general elections.

Speaking on the occasion in the House, the Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar rejected the impression that the amendment is aimed at depriving overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote.

He said overseas Pakistanis are precious asset of the country and the government does not believe in snatching their right to vote.

Regarding use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), the Law Minister said we are not against use of technology, but we have concerns about misuse of technology as Results Transmission System had failed in last general elections to favour a particular political party.

He said the Election Commission of Pakistan had also expressed its inability to hold elections through I-Voting and EVMs in a short span of time and without proper homework.

He said two amendments are being brought to revive the Elections Act 2017, enabling the ECP to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections.

Under the amendment in Section 94 of the Election Act, 2017, the Commission may conduct pilot projects for voting by Overseas Pakistanis in bye-elections to ascertain the technical efficacy, secrecy, security, and financial feasibility of such voting and shall share the results with the government, which shall, within 15 days from the commencement of a session of a House after the receipt of the report, lay the same before both Houses of the Parliament.

Under Amendment in Section 103 of the Election Act, 2017, the ECP may conduct pilot projects for utilization of EVMs and biometric verification system in the bye-elections.

Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Raja Riaz Ahmed has said the Assembly should complete its tenure and elections should be held on time.

Responding to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's remarks, he assured that the opposition will play its positive and constructive role in running affairs of the House.

Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, while speaking on the floor of the House, congratulated Raja Riaz Ahmed for becoming Leader of the Opposition.

He assured the Leader of the Opposition of his government's full cooperation in running business of the House in an amicable manner.

The Prime Minister said the treasury benches will pay utmost attention to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition by burying the bad traditions of the past.

Responding to a Calling Attention Notice, Minister of State for Interior, Abdul Rehman Khan Kanju assured the House to make every possible effort for the maintenance of government accommodations in Sector G-6 and F-6 of Islamabad.

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Pakistan

Govt hikes per litre price of petrol and diesel by Rs30

New prices will go into effect at midnight

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Govt hikes per litre price of petrol and diesel by Rs30

Islamabad: The federal government Thursday announced hike in per litre price of petrol and diesel by Rs30 each.

The announcement came after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) emphasised abolishing the subsidies on the commodities.

Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail announed raise during a press conference.

In a tweet, the minister said: "Government has decided to increase the prices of Petrol, High Speed Diesel, Kerosene Oil and Light Diesel Oil by Rs 30 per litre from Friday May 27, 2022. New prices will go into effect at midnight. The new price of petrol will be Rs 179.86 & diesel will be Rs 174.15 per litre."

Petrol will now be available at Rs179.86, diesel Rs174.15, Kerosene oil Rs155.56 and Light diesel Rs148.31.

Ismail said the government had no other option but to raise the prices, adding that "we are still bearing a loss of Rs56 per litre on diesel" even under the new pricing.

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