February 23, 2020 (MLN): The departed week observed several important developments on the regional and international front that serve as a gateway for Pakistan to economic development. These developments include;
On Friday, The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) during its plenary meeting held in Paris has agreed to maintain Pakistan’s status on FATF’s Compliance Document, normally referred as the Grey List till June 2020.
The same day, Pakistan and Japan agreed to enhance mutual collaboration in myriad fields including infrastructure development, higher education, and cultural and academic exchanges. The understanding came during a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and President of Japan International Cooperation Agency Shinichi Kitaoka in Islamabad.
Furthermore, to provide maximum relief and facilities to the masses, the Federal Cabinet decided not to increase the prices of gas and electricity for domestic, industrial consumers and Tandoors.
On Thursday, the Competition Commission of Pakistan approved the Uber-Careem merger through a Phase-II Order, imposing pro-competitive and tough conditions ensuring a level playing field for the new entrants/competitors in the app-based Ridesharing market.
Besides, the Standing Committee on Privatization of the National Assembly in its meeting on Thursday considered few amendments in Privatization Commission Ordinance2000, which are necessary for swiftly pursuing active privatization plan. The proposed amendments empowered Prime Minister to appoint chairman, secretary or any board member. The Prime Minister may appoint a special medical board to determine the health of chairman, secretary or any board member of PC and, lastly the Privatization Commission may be able to open accounts in any of high credit rating banks.
In addition to this, ECC in its meeting on Wednesday, approved public sector procurement of 8.25 million tons of wheat Rs 1365 for the coming season. If the need arises, 0.5 million tons will be imported around the year to cater for any shortages.
Meanwhile, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood said that the government was committed to removing all the obstacles in way of enhancing pharmaceutical exports up to the US $5 billion with the special focus on increasing the exports volume through tariff rationalization, trade-related investment, institutional reforms and easing of business regulations.
On the energy front, Exploration and Production (E&P) companies, operating in Pakistan informed that they, have so far drilled 18 offshore oil and gas wells including Kekra-I to discover hydrocarbon deposits in the deep-sea waters but could not get the required results.
Moreover, Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) director-general Shahzeb Khan Kakar said the upcoming oil city project in Gwadar was going to host a multibillion-dollar Saudi Aramco refinery and expressed hope the process of land allocation for the $10-billion Saudi oil refinery project and a $1-billion petrochemical complex would be completed within a couple of months.
On the upside, Mr Ahmad Hanif Orakzai, Acting Secretary, Economic Affairs Division, Government of Pakistan and Prof. Andrew Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Center for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR) signed Memorandum of Subsidiary Agreement on “Understanding the Drivers of Successful and Inclusive Rural Regional Transformation and Sharing Experiences and Policy Advice in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia and Pakistan”. Under this agreement, Australia will provide AUD 1.2 million for a programme to be completed in three years till 2022.
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