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Pakistan not planning to freeze foreign currency accounts: minister

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  • Minister says no plans being considered to freeze forex accounts.
  • Pasha says IMF asked to conclude ninth review at the earliest.
  • “All our friendly countries have also given their assurances to IMF.”

ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Finance and Revenue Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha said Monday the federal government had no intention of freezing foreign currency accounts despite the nation facing a severe dollar crunch.

“We do not plan on freezing foreign currency accounts and there have been no proposals to take such an action,” the state minister told journalists outside the parliament in Islamabad.

In May 1998, the then-government of prime minister Nawaz Sharif froze all currency accounts after the country’s first nuclear tests.

Pakistan’s foreign reserves today, standing at rock bottom, cover less than a month’s imports as the economy creaks under twin deficits and record-high inflation.

The risk of default remains high, and the struggling nation remains in a deadlock with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a much-needed bailout programme.

The minister said the government had shared the fiscal year 2023-24 budget numbers with the lender, and the IMF is still negotiating with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar unveiled a Rs14.5 trillion (around $50.5 billion) budget last Friday, with over half set aside to service 7.3 trillion rupees of debt, and experts believe it would not help the government’s case mich in unlocking the loan.

“We have told IMF to conclude the ninth review at the earliest. We have less time and a lot of tension for completing the ninth review,” the state minister noted.

The minister said the Fund will not have any issues with the budget.

Pasha said IMF MD Kristalina Georgieva had assured the Pakistani authorities that her organisation would complete the latest review.

“All our friendly countries have also given their assurances to the IMF.”

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April FDI in Pakistan increased to $358.8 million, according to SBP

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The inflow for April was $358.8 million, up 177% from $132 million in April FY23. Still, that was 39% more than the $258 million from March.

China was the largest investor, with $439.3 million in FDI from the nation between July and April of FY24—the greatest amount—as opposed to $604 million during the same period of FY23. In April, China accounted for $177 million of the total investment.

With $51.93 and 51.89 million invested in Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Canada came in second and third, respectively.

The power industry was the main draw for foreign investors in FY24, which ran from July to April. This period’s FDI in the power industry was $637.5 million, compared to $776.2 million the previous year. From $338 million to $460 million this year, Hydel Power garnered more attention.

Continue reading: In FY23–24, Pakistan’s per capita income increased to $1680.

According to a separate data released on Wednesday, Pakistanis’ per capita income increased to $1680 in FY2023–2024.

The size of the national economy grew from $341 billion to $375 billion in the current fiscal year, according to figures made public by PBS.

Throughout this fiscal year, Pakistanis’ yearly per capita income increased by Rs 90,534; the monthly rise was Rs 7,544.

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OGRA forbids the purchase or sale of inferior LPG cylinders.

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The 313 LPG marketing and 19 cylinder-producing companies received notices from the OGRA, which described the act of refilling inferior LPGO cylinders as harmful.

Avoid supplying LPG to unlicensed distributors, the OGRA has cautioned LPG marketing companies. Only approved distributors will be able to sell and buy LPG going forward, per the notification, which states that new SOPs have been developed for the LPG industry.

Additionally, the warning said that the decision was made in an effort to preserve both lives and the business in response to an increase in cylinder blast occurrences.

Price reductions of Rs 20 per kilogramme for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) were implemented in Quetta on May 3.

There is a reduction of Rs 20 on LPG prices, which means that the price per kilogramme drops from Rs 280 to Rs 260.

The costs of LPG were reduced by Rs 20 per kilogramme earlier, bringing the total decrease to Rs 40 per kilogramme over a few weeks. This is something worth noticing.

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PIA announces a significant student discount.

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According to an airline spokesman, the national flag carrier has recently raised the baggage allowance to 60 kg.

Currently, PIA flies one flight per week on Sundays between Islamabad and Beijing.

The discount may be useful to students who intend to spend their summer vacations in Pakistan or who wish to return home after earning their degrees.

Before, students who wanted to visit China could now receive a 27% reduction on their fares through PIA.

On Eid ul Fitr, the national flag airline also reduced the cost of domestic flights by 20% for both economy and executive economy classes.

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