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Was not supposed to announce petrol price hike on TV, Miftah Ismail says

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Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail on Friday said that he was “not supposed to” appear on national television the night before to announce a hike in the prices of petroleum products but he did so after being asked by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

His clarification on Twitter came after a clip of his appearance on a television show was shared. In it, he can be seen saying he will not be appearing on television again that night.

Speaking on Dawn News show “News Wise”, the finance minister said: “It is said whenever Miftah Ismail comes on TV, petrol prices go up. But I will not be appearing on television after this (show).”

In the show, which airs at 7pm, Ismail said that the “government will decide” whether prices will be raised July 1 onwards and that as of that point in time he has not been informed of any such decision. “And neither do I have this in my mind that I have to go announce it on TV.”

He also spoke of the petroleum development levy which the International Monetary Fund has advised be brought up to Rs50 per litre. The finance minister said that there are plans to impose the levy “gradually” and that “there is no deadline”.

About four hours later, Ismail and Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik briefed the media on a raise in petrol prices, to be effective starting midnight.

Explaining in his tweet what had occurred, the finance minister said: “I was not supposed to go on TV last evening to announce this. Another colleague was supposed to do this. But PM sahib decided that Musadik Malik and I should do that.”

With the fresh hike, the price of petrol will be Rs248.74/litre, diesel will be Rs276.54/litre, kerosene oil will be sold for Rs230.26/litre, and the price of light diesel oil will be Rs226.15/litre.

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In a first for history, PSX crosses the 77,000 milestone.

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At 77,213.31, the benchmark KSE-100 hit an all-time high, up 1,005.15, or 1.32%, from the previous close of 76,208.16.

The government’s readiness to seal an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following the budget was cited by analysts as the reason for the upward trend.

Experts anticipate that in an attempt to bolster its position for a fresh bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the budget for the fiscal year ending in June 2025 would set aggressive fiscal goals.

Budget for Pakistan, 2024–2025
Pakistan’s budget for the fiscal year 2024–25, with a total expenditure of Rs18.877 trillion, was presented on Wednesday by Minister of Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb.

The Finance Minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, outlined the budget highlights. He stated that the GDP growth target for the fiscal year 2024–25 is set at 3.6 percent, while the inflation rate is anticipated to stay at 12 percent.

He stated that while the primary surplus is anticipated to be 1.0 percent of GDP during the review period, the budget deficit to GDP is forecast to be 6.9 percent over the period under review.

According to the minister, tax income collection increased by 38% in the current fiscal year, and the province will receive Rs7,438 billion. The Federal Board of income expects to earn Rs12,970 billion in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.

In contrast to the federal government’s projected net income of Rs9,119 billion, he stated that the federation’s non-tax revenue projections are set at Rs3,587 billion.

The federal government’s total outlays are projected to be Rs18,877 billion, with interest payments accounting for the remaining Rs9,775 billion.

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Pakistan currently has $14.38 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

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Pakistan’s commercial banks’ reserves, which stood at $5.28 billion at the conclusion of the week ending on June 7, rose by US$174 million, according to a central bank statement.

Reserving US$6.2 million less, the SBP now has US$9.10 billion in reserves. The causes for the decline in the reserves it had were not disclosed by the central bank.

The SBP released a statement that stated, “SBP reserves decreased by US$ 6 million to US$ 9,103.3 million during the week ended on 07-June-2024.”

The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) foreign exchange reserves were reduced by US$ 63 million as a result of repaying external debt, with the reserves standing at US$ 9.093 billion as of earlier on June 6.

The central bank spokesperson said in a statement that as of the week that concluded on May 31, the nation’s total liquid foreign reserves were $14.31 billion.

In terms of net foreign reserves, commercial banks have US$ 5.22 billion of the overall foreign reserves, according to the SBP.

SBP reserves dropped by US$ 63 million to US$ 9,093.7 million during the week that ended on May 24, 2024, according to the announcement.

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In the local market, the price of gold plummets to Rs240,700/tola.

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Gold with a 24-karat purity level has dropped by Rs1200/tola on the local market.

Each tola of 24-karat gold is now selling for Rs240,700, with a further drop of Rs1029 bringing the price of 10 kilos of gold to Rs206,361. These figures are courtesy of the All Sarafa and Jewelers Association.

Meanwhile, after a $2 decline on the global market, one ounce of gold will be valued $2315.

A tola of gold was worth Rs 600 more on Wednesday.

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