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S&P Global Ratings downgrades Pakistan’s credit score

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  • S&P decreases Pakistan’s credit score from B- to CCC+.
  • Agency maintains Pakistan’s outlook stable.
  • Fitch and Moody’s have already ranked Pakistan’s bonds below investment grade.

KARACHI: S&P Global Ratings has downgraded Pakistan’s credit score due to the series of shocks — from flooding to surging inflation — that has deteriorated the country’s external, fiscal and economic metrics, reported The News.

The nation’s credit score was downgraded from B- to CCC+ by S&P, which expects Pakistan’s dwindling foreign reserves to remain under pressure in the coming year, just as political risks linger, according to a statement.

“Pakistan’s already low foreign exchange reserves will remain under pressure throughout 2023, barring a material decline in oil prices or a step-up in foreign assistance,” S&P analysts Andrew Wood and YeeFarn Phua wrote.

The country also faces elevated political risks which may affect its policy trajectory over the next year.

Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service already rank the nation’s $7.8 billion in foreign bonds at seven notches below investment grade, the equivalent of S&P’s CCC+ rating, on par with El Salvador and Ukraine. S&P also raised the outlook for Pakistan to stable from negative on Thursday.

The country is facing an economic crisis with only enough reserves to cover one month of imports, a dollar shortage and a delay in its loan programme with the International Monetary Fund. Investors are pessimistic about Pakistan’s ability to keep up with its foreign debt obligations, with long-term dollar bonds continuing to trade at distressed levels despite the payment of a $1 billion bond this month.

S&P said this year’s severe floods, surging food and energy inflation, as well as rising global interest rates, will further depress Pakistan’s economic and fiscal outcomes, with refinancing challenges over the medium term.

Pakistan’s unprecedented floods in the summer killed more than 1,700 people, inundated a third of the nation and cut the nation’s growth by half. The floods have left about $32 billion in damages and losses to the nation’s economy.

Meantime, the current administration is set to end by August of next year or earlier, meaning it has limited time to implement economic reforms.

“We expect political uncertainty to remain elevated over the coming quarters, with continued pressure from the opposition to hold early elections,” the S&P analysts wrote.

The agency maintained its outlook at “stable”.

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The inaugural flight of Azerbaijan Airlines is between Baku and Karachi.

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The national airline of Azerbaijan launched direct flights from Baku to Karachi today. There will be two weekly flights on this route, on Thursdays and Sundays.

The first flight will land in Karachi, and Azerbaijan’s ambassador, Khazar Farhadov, will be there to greet it.

This evening also marks the departure of the inaugural flight from Karachi to Baku in addition to the arrival of the flight from Baku.

Azerbaijan Airlines said last month that it would be growing its network and flight operations in Pakistan.

Aviation insiders have verified that Azerbaijan Airlines is preparing to launch service to Karachi in the coming month of April.

In addition to its current services in Islamabad and Lahore, the airline plans to launch its Karachi route on April 18, with the inaugural flight anticipated to depart on that date.

Azerbaijan Airlines has been given permission to operate flights on the Karachi route, according to sources within the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Following a bilateral agreement between the two nations, Azerbaijan Airlines has been given permission to extend its operations in Pakistan.

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Fly Jinnah opens a new route internationally.

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Two weekly flights will be the starting frequency of the new route, which will connect the two cities.

According to a representative for Fly Jinnah, the company is pleased to announce the opening of a third international route from Islamabad to Muscat, the capital city of Oman, marking another significant milestone after the successful debut of flights from Islamabad and Lahore to Sharjah.

According to him, this development is in line with our goal of giving our clients more options for reasonably priced, value-driven local and international air travel.

The airline serves five main cities in Pakistan: Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, and Quetta. Its fleet consists of five Airbus A320 aircraft, all of which are contemporary.

In addition to the current flight path to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, this new route expands Fly Jinnah’s network of foreign destinations.

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Tajir Dost app: traders don’t seem interested in registering

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To tax retailers in Pakistan, the Tajir Dost app was released. The sources stated that the government hopes to tax 3.5 million merchants through the app.

Ajmal Baloch, the president of All-Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran, stated that he made reservations with FBR on the SRO within a week.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), according to him, cannot be a “Tajir Dost” because of its unethical actions.

Baloch believed that since electricity bills allow traders to pay a predetermined advance income tax, further taxes are unnecessary.

The trader, according to him, is already paying thirteen different kinds of taxes on the commercial meter. “A trader already pays between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 20,000 in taxes annually, but you are requesting Rs. 1,200 per month in taxes.”

Mr. Ajmal summoned representatives of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to a meeting with the trade associations to talk about the indirect taxes that the merchants are paying.

Additionally, he claimed that FBR officers are charging the traders, the majority of whom are less educated, “monthly charges.”

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