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Pakistan records 11.3% growth in remittances in July-Dec 2021

Remittances in terms of growth increased by 2.5% on month-on-month basis and 3.4 % on year-on-year basis in December

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Pakistan records 11.3% growth in remittances in July-Dec 2021
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Karachi: The workers remittances grew by 11.3 percent during the first half of the current fiscal year as compared to the corresponding period of last year, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has reported.

The workers remittances during July-December of fiscla year 2021-22 were recorded at $15.8 billion.

With $2.5 billion of inflows during December 2021, workers’ remittances continued their strong impetus of remaining above $2 billion since June 2020.

In terms of growth, remittances increased by 2.5% on month-on-month basis and 3.4 % on year-on-year basis in December 2021.

Remittance inflows during December 2021 were mainly sourced from Saudi Arabia ($626.6 million), United Arab Emirates ($453.2 million), United Kingdom ($340.8 million) and United States of America ($248.5 million).

The proactive policy measures by the government and SBP to incentivize the use of formal channels and altruistic transfers to Pakistan amid the pandemic have positively contributed towards the sustained inflows of remittances since last year, the SBP statement added.

The Jul-Nov FY22 data of workers’ remittances has been revised upward to reflect inflows into Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA) that are related to local consumption (like payment of utility bills, transfer to local PKR account, etc.).

SOURCE: APP

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.

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‘Austria to make COVID vaccines compulsory for adults from Feb’

Nehammer, a conservative who took office in December, said those who didn t comply would face a hefty fine

Published by Faisal Waqas

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‘Austria to make COVID vaccines compulsory for adults from Feb’

Vienna: Austria will become the first European country to make Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for adults in February, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said Sunday, acknowledging that it was a “sensitive topic.”

Nehammer, a conservative who took office in December, said those who didn t comply would face a hefty fine.

“We will decide on compulsory vaccination as planned. It will come into force at the beginning of February for adults,” he told a news conference.

Since plans for compulsory jabs were first announced last year, Austria has seen impassioned debate both in parliament and beyond on the issue.

To date 71.5 percent of eligible Austrian residents have had their jabs -- several percentage points below many of the country’s EU neighbours.

Nehammer acknowledged the decision covered "a totally sensitive topic" but said it followed careful consideration.

He warned that after an "entry phase" for the policy, restrictions would be "tightened accordingly" in mid-March on those holding out against the jab, including fines of between 600-3,600 euros ($684-$4,100).

Saturday saw some 27,000 people demonstrate in Vienna against the measure which opponents dub an attack on personal freedoms.

On Thursday Parliament is due to pass into law a bill which initially was set to cover all people from 14 upwards but now will cover adults only.

Exceptions will be made for pregnant women and those who can show they have a medical exemption.

The government has widespread support for a policy which only the far-right is opposing.

Austria has to date seen almost 14,000 Covid-related deaths and 1.4 million cases in a population of some nine million.

Compulsory vaccinations against Covid remain rare worldwide, though Ecuador, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Indonesia and Micronesia have introduced such schemes.

Source: AFP

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PM Imran Khan to launch Pakistan’s first-ever digital city in Haripur today

The project aims to serve as a state-of-the-art facility to enable collaborations and innovation among academia, research, industry and planners from within country and abroad

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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PM Imran Khan to launch Pakistan’s first-ever digital city in Haripur today

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to visit Haripur today (Monday) to perform the groundbreaking of Pakistan Digital City Special Technology Zone project, the country’s first such venture.

The prime minister will be accompanied by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, federal and provincial ministers.

The Pakistan Digital City project will be completed at a cost of Rs1.31 billion and scattered over 86 kanals of land.

Pakistan Digital City Haripur is a flagship project of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government being launched to provide all facilities to the IT industry in one place.

The project aims to serve as a state-of-the-art facility to enable collaborations and innovation amongst academia, research, industry and planners from within country and abroad.

It will benefit other allied industries like electronics, software houses, mobile phone industry, technology incubators, and computer industry in the province.

Last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan had inaugurated Lahore Technopolis, a special technology zone, to create jobs and boost Pakistan’s tech exports.

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Taliban pledge to open all schools for girls after March 21

Taliban say they hope to be able to open all schools for girls across the country after late March.

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Taliban pledge to open all schools for girls after March 21

Kabul: Afghanistan s new Taliban rulers say they hope to be able to open all schools for girls across the country after late March, their spokesman told The Associated Press, offering the first timeline for addressing a key demand of the international community.

Since the Taliban takeover in mid-August, girls in most of Afghanistan have not been allowed back to school beyond grade 7. The international community, reluctant to formally recognize a Taliban-run administration, is wary they could impose similar harsh measures as during their previous rule 20 years ago. At the time, women were banned from education, work and public life.

Zabihullah Mujahid, who is also the Taliban s deputy minister of culture and information, said their education departments are looking to open classrooms for all girls and women following the Afghan New Year, which starts on March 21. Afghanistan, like neighbouring Iran, observes the Islamic solar Hijri Shamsi calendar.

Education for girls and women “is a question of capacity,” Mujahid said in the interview.

Girls and boys must be completely segregated in schools, he said, adding that the biggest obstacle so far has been finding or building enough dorms, or hostels, where girls could stay while going to school. In heavily populated areas, it is not enough to have separate classrooms for boys and girls — separate school buildings are needed, he said.

“We are not against education,” Mujahid stressed, speaking at a Kabul office building with marble floors that once housed Afghan attorney general s offices and which the Taliban have adopted for their culture and information ministry.

The Taliban dictates so far have been erratic, varying from province to province. Girls have not been allowed back to classrooms in state-run schools beyond grade 7, except in about 10 of the country s 34 provinces. In the capital, Kabul, private universities and high schools have continued to operate uninterrupted. Most are small and the classes have always been segregated.

“We are trying to solve these problems by the coming year,” so that schools and universities can open, Mujahid said.

The international community has been skeptical of Taliban announcements, saying it will judge them by their actions — even as it scrambles to provide billions of dollars to avert a humanitarian catastrophe that the UN chief this week warned could endanger the lives of millions.

With a breakdown of services and only sporadic electricity in the bitterly cold Afghan winters, most people rely on firewood and coal for heat. Among the hardest hit are some 3 million Afghans who live as refugees within their own country, having fled their homes because of war, drought, poverty or fear of the Taliban.

Earlier this month, the United Nations launched a $5 billion appeal for Afghanistan, the single largest appeal for one country.

Washington has spent $145 billion on reconstruction and development projects in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion that ousted the Taliban regime. Yet even before the Taliban recaptured the country, the poverty rate was 54 per cent —and a 2018 Gallup poll revealed unprecedented misery among Afghans.

Mujahid appealed for economic cooperation, trade and “stronger diplomatic relations.” So far, neither Afghanistan s neighbours nor the United Nations seem ready to grant formal recognition which would help open up the Afghan economy. However, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for greater economic development, saying it s critical to rapidly inject liquidity into the Afghan economy “and avoid a meltdown that would lead to poverty, hunger and destitution for millions.”

The international community has called for a more representative government that includes women as well as ethnic and religious minorities. While all members of the new Taliban Cabinet are men and most are Taliban members, Mujahid said there are exceptions, such as the deputy finance minister and officials in the economics ministry who are holdovers from the previous, US-backed administration.

Mujahid also said 80 per cent of civil servants who have returned to work were employees under the previous administration. Women are working in the health and education sector and at Kabul International Airport in customs and passport control, he added. He did not say if or when women would be allowed to return to work in government ministries.

He also told the AP that most of the new government s revenue will come from customs that the Taliban will collect at border crossings with Iran, Pakistan and the Central Asian nations to the north. Without offering figures, he claimed the Taliban have brought in more revenue in their first four months in power than the previous government in over a year.

He appealed to Afghans who have fled to return to their homeland. Since the takeover, there have been cases of opponents arrested, journalists beaten, rights workers threatened and demonstrations by women dispersed by heavily armed Taliban troops firing in the air.

Mujahid acknowledged incidents of Taliban members harassing Afghan civilians, including humiliating young men and forcibly cutting their hair.

“Such crimes happen, but it is not the policy of our government," he said, adding that those responsible were arrested.

“This is our message. We have no dispute with anyone and we don t want anyone to remain in opposition or away from their country.”

SOURCE: AP

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