May 23, 2020 (MLN): The highlights of the important economic and business events witnessed during the last week are in order to become acquainted with the recent developments in Pakistan’s economic and public policy.
On Thursday, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet approved Mobile Device Manufacturing Policy to promote local manufacturing and assembly of mobile phone handsets.
Meanwhile, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh told ECC that Pakistan will not go for commercial loans refinancing.
On Wednesday, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that for the first time, the government has raised 200 billion rupees through Sukuk at less than KIBOR rate through competitive book binding at Pakistan Stock Exchange.
On Tuesday, the book building process of Sukuk II of Power Holding Limited (PHL), a public sector entity fully owned by the Ministry of Energy, was successfully concluded by Pakistan Stock Exchange which attracted significant interest from investors and has been heavily oversubscribed, at very attractive rates for PHL.
The same day, Moody's Investors Service, (“Moody's”) placed on review for downgrade the B3 long-term local-currency deposit ratings of Allied Bank Limited (ABL), Habib Bank Ltd. (HBL), MCB Bank Limited (MCB), National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and United Bank Ltd. (UBL). The banks' foreign currency deposit ratings and baseline credit assessments were also placed on review for downgrade.
Furthermore, Businesses have started to benefit from SBP’s Rozgar Refinance Scheme as Commercial Banks have received applications from businesses to avail financing under the scheme for payment of wages and salaries of their employees.
Additionally, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $300 million emergency assistance loan to strengthen Pakistan’s public health response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and help meet the basic needs of vulnerable and poor segments of society.
On Monday, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired a meeting at the Finance Division through video link with Dr. Ikram-ul-Haq to discuss proposals on improving the tax structure of the country with the help of effective data gathering and reconciliation mechanism.
In addition to this, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that the government would not introduce any new tax in the upcoming budget to facilitate the industrial sector.
On the upside, World Bank will provide funding worth 371 million dollars for two projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. To this effect, an agreement was signed in Islamabad on Monday between the World Bank and Ministry of Economic Affairs Division in the presence of EAD Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar.
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