April 12, 2020 (MLN): The outgoing week witnessed many such actions taken by the local government and international institutions that could lead to lessening the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on households, businesses and domestic economy.
On Friday, Resident Representative of International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Pakistan Ms. Maria Teresa Daban Sanchez said that Pakistan would receive $ 1.4 billion through Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) from the fund by coming week to support the country to combat the economic uncertainties resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19, as well as to support budgetary imbalances.
In addition to this, to provide liquidity to Businessmen to look after their workers during these challenging times, the Ministry of Commerce released Rs. 20.5 billion for the textiles & Rs. 828 million for the non-textile sector under the Drawback of Local Taxes and Levies (DLTL) scheme.
Meanwhile, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced plans to issue Market Treasury Bills (MTB), Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIB) and Ijara Sukuk (GIS) worth Rs. 3.005 trillion during April – June 2020.
Additionally, to support the employment of workers in the face of economic challenges posed by the spread of COVID-19, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), has introduced a temporary refinance scheme for businesses entitled Refinance Scheme for Payment of Wages and Salaries to the Workers and Employees of Business Concerns.
The same day, the National Steel Advisory Council (NSAC), an association of major iron and steel producers of Pakistan’s Steel Manufacturing Industry, has sent a letter to the Chief Minister of Sindh pointing out the impact the extended lockdown is having on the general business activity of the steel industry.
Furthermore, the government announced Ramazan package worth 2.5 billion rupees for the provision of essential commodities to the masses at reduced rates through the Utility Stores Corporation during the holy month.
Also, Pakistan pledged three million US dollars towards SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund to support regional efforts in the fight against Coronavirus.
On Thursday, the Economic Coordination Committee approved the deferment of monthly and quarterly fuel adjustments in the electricity bills of the consumers until June 2020.
ECC also approved four technical supplementary grants worth Rs13,811.212 million during the current fiscal year (2019-20).
In the meantime, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has repurposed $50 million from Pakistan’s National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) to support the Government of Pakistan’s preventive and response efforts to fight the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
On the upside, the overall Consumer Confidence Index rose by 3.44 points to 44.03 in March 2020 when compared with the previous reading of 40.59 of January 2020.
Moreover, the Asian Development Bank projected that Pakistan’s inflation rate would slow down to 8.3 percent in the fiscal year 2020-21.
On Wednesday, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) provided Pakistan with a leeway of 5 additional months, for compliance with the 13 outstanding conditions for money laundering and terror financing. The step was taken after taking into consideration the outbreak of COVID-19 across the globe.
On Monday, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) notified revised prices of Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) for the SSGC and SNGPL for the current month, as per which there is $ 1.80 and $ 1.78 per mmbtu (Million British Thermal Unit) decrease in the sale price of imported RLNG on the system of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Company Limited (SNGPL) respectively for the month of April as compared to March.
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