Economic & Political Weekly 10th February 2019

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World

Politics-

·    Brazil’s former president Lula convicted again of corruption.

Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was jailed in April on a corruption conviction, was sentenced on 6th Feb to nearly 13 more years in a new graft case, making it increasingly unlikely that a man once considered the lion of Latin America’s left would ever recover his political clout. Lula, a two-time president who left office in 2011 with a record-high approval rating, was leading in the polls last year to win another term even after he went to jail. But less than a month before the vote, electoral authorities barred him from running because of the corruption conviction.

·Climate change will melt vast parts of the Himalayas, study says.

At least a third of the ice in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region, an area that includes the world’s highest peaks Mount Everest and K2, could melt by the end of this century according to an assessment released 5th Feb — even if there is aggressive action to curb greenhouse gases and meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement. The report highlights previous studies that predicted glacier volumes in this region could decline between 45% and 90% through the 21st century. Rising temperatures are a serious threat to the eight countries including China, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. Fresh water from the region’s glaciers flows into 10 major river basins, contributing to the drinking water, irrigation and energy needs of approximately 1.9 billion people, or about a quarter of the world’s population.

·Earth just experienced one of the warmest years on record.

Last year was the fourth-hottest year ever recorded, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA, which means that the past five years have been the five warmest years in the modern record. 2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend, according to Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The average global temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit, or a little over 1 degree Celsius, since the 1880s. That puts us more than two-thirds of the way to the warming limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius that was set in the Paris climate agreement.”This warming has been driven in large part by increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases caused by human activities,” Schmidt says. Record warmth was seen over much of Europe for 2018, which saw summer temperatures well over 90 degrees Fahrenheit — over 32 degrees Celsius — all the way up to the Arctic Circle. Record warmth extended along the Mediterranean and the Middle East, as well.

·Pope Francis hailed by Gulf hosts for interfaith breakthrough.

The three-day visit of Pope Francis to the Arabian Peninsula, the first ever by a pope, has been heralded by his Emirati Muslim hosts as a major breakthrough in his mission to promote Christian dialogue with Islam. The pope was greeted on arrival on 3rd Feb by Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, who has proclaimed 2019 a “Year of Tolerance”, with the stated aim of countering brutal intolerance practiced by all faiths.

· Taliban and Afghan politicians hold talks in Moscow.

Senior Afghan politicians, including former president Hamid Karzai, began a meeting with Taliban representatives in Moscow on 5th Feb, weeks after the insurgents and US diplomats announced progress towards an end to the long war. But the two-day gathering, which will be the insurgents’ most significant contact with Afghan politicians in years, has drawn strong criticism from the government of President Ashraf Ghani, who sees such initiatives – at a time when the Taliban seem ready to meet with anyone but his own government – as undermining the fragile initiatives.

· Tens of thousands attend first papal Mass on Arabian Peninsula.

Tens of thousands of Catholics and several thousand Muslims attended an unprecedented public celebration of Mass on 5th Feb by Pope Francis, the first pontiff in history to visit the Arabian Peninsula. More than 120,000 worshippers packed Zayed Sports City stadium and its surroundings in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, to see the pope, who is in the Gulf country to promote inter-faith dialogue.

·     At least 21 killed in Taliban attack in Afghanistan.

At least 21 people including 11 police officers have been killed in a Taliban attack in Afghanistan, provincial officials said. Insurgents stormed a checkpoint in northern Baghlan province.

·   Yemen peace talks held on UN-chartered boat off Hodeidah.

Yemen peace talks were held on board an UN-chartered boat anchored in the Red Sea on 3rd Feb in an attempt to find a neutral venue acceptable to both sides. Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert, the head of the UN mission in Yemen, chaired the meeting on the ship moored off the port city of Hodeidah after Houthi rebel military officials refused to meet in government-held areas in southern Hode

· Seven killed after train derails in eastern India.

Seven passengers were killed and several others injured when a Delhi-bound train derailed in India’s eastern state of Bihar on 3rd Feb, railways officials said. Eleven coaches of the Seemanchal Express left the rails near Sahadai Buzurg railway station, about 50km from the state capital, Patna, early in the morning, the railways ministry said in a statement.

·  Egypt unveils ancient burial site containing 50 mummies.

Egyptian archaeologists have uncovered a tomb containing 50 mummies dating back to the Ptolemaic era, in Minya, south of Cairo, the ministry of antiquities has said. The mummies, 12 of which were of children, were discovered inside four, nine-metre deep burial chambers in the Tuna El-Gebel archaeological site.

·  Margaret Thatcher statue to be erected despite vandalism fears.

Plans for a statue of “divisive figure” Margaret Thatcher to be erected in the former British prime minister’s home town have been approved despite vandalism concerns. A planning committee unanimously voted in favor of the £30,000 statue which was originally intended for Parliament Square in Westminster.

· South Africa whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi charged with corruption.

The whistleblower who gave damning evidence to an inquiry in South Africa, implicating top ruling party officials in serious wrongdoing, has been charged with corruption. Police confirmed on Wednesday that Angelo Agrizzi, the former chief operating officer at facilities management company Bosasa, was one of four people arrested and charged with corruption, money laundering and fraud in the prison services sector.

  • US. President Donald Trump‘s Sate of the Union speech received mixed reactions from world leaders.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif took to twitter on 6th Feb morning to lash out at Trump for making “accusations against us” during his speech the previous night. “US hostility has led it to support dictators, butchers & extremists, who’ve only brought ruin to our region,” Zarif wrote in his tweet. South Korea applauded Trump’s announcement during his speech that he will attend a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong UN in Vietnam later this month. Japan also welcomed the announcement of a second meeting with North Korea and urged for the “complete and prompt implementation” of efforts toward full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, referring to the vague agreement Trump and Kim signed during their first summit in Singapore last June.

·   Sierra Leone’s president declares rape a national emergency.

The brutal rape of a young girl by her uncle in Sierra Leone became the rallying point for a campaign that on 7th Feb pushed President Julius Maada Bio to declare the prevalence of sexual violence a national emergency. The five-year-old girl, whose identity has been kept secret for her own safety, has been paralyzed from the waist down since a 28-year-old male relative raped her a year ago, crushing her spine.

· Ten people die in fire at Brazilian soccer club.

A fire at the training centre of Rio de Janeiro soccer club Flamengo killed 10 people and injured at least three teenagers on 8th Feb, firefighters said. The fire broke out at Ninho do Urubu, a state-of-the-art training centre that was expanded and opened only two months ago. The facility has accommodation for teenage players.=

· Aid for Venezuela arrives at border despite Maduro’s objections.

Trucks carrying US humanitarian aid destined for Venezuela arrived at the Colombian border, where opposition leaders vowed to bring them into their troubled nation despite objections from President Nicolas Maduro. Two semi-trailers loaded with boxed emergency food and medicine rolled into the Colombian border city of Cucúta, which is just across the river from Venezuela, on 7th Feb.

Thai princess’ party backs down on prime minister bid.

A political party in Thailand that nominated Princess Ubolratana Rajakanyaas its prime ministerial candidate said it accepted King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s command that her candidacy is “gravely inappropriate.”The Thai Raksa Chart party said in a statement 9th Feb that it will follow rules set by the Election Commission, the constitution and royal traditions. It also expressed its gratitude to the princess. Early on 8th Feb, the party said the princess had agreed to be its candidate in the March general election. Hours later, the king said it was inappropriate for his sister to seek office.

  • Dubai International Airport welcomed its billionth passenger in December 2018, and in January 2019. It was ranked the travelers for the fifth year in a row.

Whether on a layover or as a destination, Dubai has a lot to keep you busy, from its artificial islands to desert interior. And there’s plenty to places to update your Instagram and top up your cultural cachet too.

  • Two Palestinian teens killed by Israeli fire in border clashes: Gaza ministry

Two Palestinian teenagers were killed by Israeli fire on 8th Feb during clashes along the Gaza border, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said. Hassan Shalabi, 14, was killed by “live fire to the chest east of Khan Yunis” during protests along the frontier with Israel in the southern Gaza Strip, the ministry said. It announced the death of 18-year-old Hamza Ishtawi shortly after, saying he was shot in the neck during similar clashes east of Gaza City. Another 17 Palestinians were shot and wounded at different protest sites along the border, the ministry added. The Israeli army declined to comment on the deaths, but said 8,200 “rioters and demonstrators” had been protesting along the frontier.

·   Saudi Arabia’s al-Jubeir says crown prince did not order Khashoggi killing.

A top Saudi official on 8th Feb reiterated his government’s position that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did not order the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and he declined to comment specifically on a newspaper report that the crown prince in 2017 said he would use “a bullet” on the journalist. On 7th Feb, the New York Times reported that a year before Khashoggi was killed; the crown prince told an aide he would use “a bullet” on the journalist if he did not return home and end his criticism of the government.

· US officer at border shoots driver going to Mexico.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer shot and wounded a driver who was trying to enter Mexico at a crossing in Arizona, the agency said 8th Feb. The mayor of Nogales, Arizona, told a newspaper 7th Feb night that the man was killed, but CBP spokeswoman Teresa Small told The Associated Press Friday the man had not died. A CBP statement said he was wounded and taken to a hospital in Mexico. His condition and further details on the incident were not provided. CBP said it would release more information later Friday, but additional details had not been released by mid-afternoon. Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino told the Arizona Daily Star that the shooting occurred after the driver refused to stop and tried to run over the CBP officer. The CBP statement said the vehicle stopped just a few yards into Mexico.

.Young politicians pushing Africa’s old guards to become part of history.

Many called Chike Ukaegbu’s bluff when he announced he was running for the highest office in Nigeria at the age of 35. The New York-based tech entrepreneur was entering a world largely dominated by older politicians with deep pockets. Popular wisdom suggested he stood no chance at the polls. Despite its young population, Africa has been under the grip of older leaders, widening the gap and disconnect between the leadership and the electorate. In the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is sparking hope for a new reform. At 42, Abiy is the youngest head of government in Africa and has since championed radical changes since he came into power in 2018. Ugandan pop star turned lawmaker, Bobi Wine, who challenged Museveni is currently facing treason charges. His legal battles aside, the 36-year-old MP’s youth movement seeks to end Museveni’s long-time rule when the country heads to the polls in 2021. Banky Wellington is going door to door in Eti-Osa, an affluent neighborhood in Lagos, mobilizing young people to vote for his new party. The 37-year-old says nothing will change if young people remain apathetic and abstain from the polls and politics.

Girl, 5, abducted, raped and murdered in Mumbai.

A five-year-old girl has been abducted, raped and murdered in the Indian city of Mumbai — the latest in a series of sexual attacks on women and young girls to shock the country. The girl was abducted in the city’s Mahim neighborhood early 7th Feb while sleeping with her parents and three siblings in a pavement shack. An autopsy confirmed she had been raped. India has been rocked by a growing number of rapes involving both children and adults in recent years. The gang rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, who died of her injuries, on a New Delhi bus in 2012 sparked national outrage. Four men were sentenced to hang, one committed suicide in prison in 2013 and a juvenile attacker was sentenced to three years in detention.

Economy

·  Bank of America: Oil Demand Growth to Hit Zero within A Decade.

By 2030, oil demand could hit a peak and then enter decline, according to a new report. For the next decade or so, oil demand should continue to grow, although at a slower and slower rate. According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the annual increase in global oil consumption slows dramatically in the years ahead. By 2024, demand growth halves, falling to just 0.6 million barrels per day (mb/d), down from 1.2 mb/d this year. But by 2030, demand growth zeros out as consumption hits a permanent peak, before falling at a relatively rapid rate thereafter. The main driver of the destruction in demand is the proliferation of electric vehicles.

·  Why Alibaba Stock Jumped 23% in January.

Shares of Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) were moving higher last month after the Chinese e-commerce giant gained alongside other Chinese stocks on signs that trade talks between China and the U.S. could yield a desirable compromise and as the tech giant turned in a strong third-quarter earnings report at the end of the month.  According to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, the stock finished the month up 23%. As you can see from the chart above, the stock increased steadily over the course of the month as Chinese stocks broadly rose, and jumped at the end of the month after its earnings report. Alibaba, JD.com, and Baozun are doing even better, up around 20% since the start of the year, as they’ve benefited from the shift in investor sentiment. Despite data that showed Chinese economic growth slowing, investors were encouraged by apparent progress in trade negotiations between China and the U.S., though no deal has yet been reached.

·   Kuwait sees risk of oil supply shortage in 2019 due to Venezuela.

The head of state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp, Hashem Hashem, said on 5th Feb that global oil supply could be hit this year by big reductions in exports from Venezuela. The Trump administration has imposed sweeping sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA, aimed at severely curbing the OPEC member’s crude exports to the United States and at pressuring socialist President Nicolas Maduro to step down. “One of the known risks of supply shortage in 2019 would include the continuing decline of Venezuelan crude oil production beyond current expectations,” Hashem told an industry conference in Kuwait.

  • India’s central bank cut interest rates on 7th Feb, giving a surprise boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of general elections due this year.

The cut in borrowing costs in Asia’s third-biggest economy comes as the economy stutters and other central banks, most notably the Federal Reserve, have sounded increasingly cautious about the global outlook. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said the benchmark repo rate — the level at which it lends to commercial banks — would be reduced by 25 basis points to 6.25 per cent. It marked the first interest rate decision under new bank chief Shaktikanta Das, an ally of Modi who was appointed in December after his predecessor, Urjit Patel, quit following a public spat with the administration over alleged government interference.

  • Global indices as of 8th February 2019 as compared to IST February, 2019.

 

Global indices as of 8th February 2019
Name Current Value Prev. Close
US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (FEB 08) 7,298.20 7288.35     
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (FEB 08) 7,071.18 7093.58     
 CAC (FEB 08) 4,961.64 4985.56     
 DAX (FEB 08) 10,906.78 11022.02     
ASIAN MARKETS
 NIKKEI 225 (FEB 08) 20,333.17 20751.28     
 STRAITS TIMES (FEB 08) 3,202.04 3200.64     
 HANG SENG (FEB 08) 27,946.32 27990.21     
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (JAN 30) 9,932.26 9931.59     
 KOSPI (FEB 08) 2,177.05 2203.42     
 SET COMPOSITE (FEB 08) 1,651.68 1653.11     
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (FEB 08) 6,521.66 6536.46     
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (FEB 01) 2,618.23 2584.57     
 SGX NIFTY (FEB 09) 10,927.50 10946.50

 

 

Global indices as of ist February 2019
Name Current Value Prev.

Close

US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (FEB 01) 7,263.87 7281.74     
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (FEB 01) 7,020.22 6968.85     
 CAC (FEB 01) 5,019.26 4992.72     
 DAX (FEB 01) 11,180.66 11173.10     
ASIAN MARKETS
 NIKKEI 225 (FEB 01) 20,788.39 20773.49     
 STRAITS TIMES (FEB 01) 3,188.68 3190.17     
 HANG SENG (FEB 01) 27,930.74 27942.47     
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (JAN 30) 9,932.26 9931.59     
 KOSPI (FEB 01) 2,203.46 2204.85     
 SET COMPOSITE (FEB 01) 1,651.40 1641.73     
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (FEB 01) 6,538.64 6532.97     
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (FEB 01) 2,618.23 2584.57     
 SGX NIFTY (FEB 02) 10,885.00 10911.50    

 

Pakistan

Politics

  • The French government has awarded the prestigious Order of Arts and Letters to two Pakistani academicians for their rendered services.

The accolades have been conferred upon former director Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations Professor Dr Muhammad Ashraf Khan and former director-general Department of Archaeology and Museums Dr Fazal Dad Kakar. Both recipients had completed a PhD from Paris-Sorbonne University located in Paris. A ceremony on account of this recognition was held in Islamabad, which was also attended by Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood.

  • The prevailing unrest among domestic gas consumers due to excessive billing, mostly in Punjab and KPK, is creation of a combination of three critical policy decisions and improved gas supply, besides the usual higher winter consumption.

As public anger goes up, Prime Minister Imran Khan has instructed to resolve the issue. Interestingly, the gas price increase was first cleared in principle by the prime minister himself in September on a presentation by the petroleum division and then formally ratified as head of the federal cabinet the decision of the ECC that fixed specific rates for various categories. The impact is so evident that about 20pc consumers in December 2018-January 2019 move into the top three categories of domestic consumers with consumption of 300 cubic meters (3 hm3), compared to less than one per cent in those categories in normal months like September-October. On top of that is the impact of gas price increase from a maximum of Rs600 to about Rs1, 710 per unit including sales tax for the top two categories above 400cubic meters? About one million consumers fall in the category of 400 cubic meter consumption per month. As a consequence, the bill for 400 cubic meter that used to be about Rs5,534 per month in 2008-09 went up to Rs24,100 per month in January this year. The bill for 500 cubic meters also increased from Rs8, 850 to Rs30, 100. A final summary on the basis of which the ECC approved the gas price increase contained the exact number of consumers in each category and the average increase in their monthly bills.

  • Police in Karachi on 5th Feb arrested a woman for allegedly drowning her own two-and-a-half-year-old daughter in the sea.

According to the police, the 28-year-old woman’s husband had banished her and the child from their home a month ago and the woman’s family had refused to take them in. According to SSP South Investigation Tariq Dharejo, the woman told the police that she had drowned the child and was planning to take her own life as well since she had no place to live. The child’s body was found near Farhan Shaheed Park, said the police, and the mother was arrested after citizens informed law enforcers of her whereabouts.

  • LAND scams may not wreak immediate and devastating havoc on the general populace as do terrorist attacks, but they are equally destructive in the long run to a people’s sense of security and their faith in the system.

An investigative report in this paper yesterday detailed a case of illegal land acquisition, in which the Airports Security Force has joined hands with a leading business group to develop ASF Arabia Vista — a 40-acre residential and commercial project in Karachi. This case illustrates particularly well the tactics uniformly applied to bulldoze civilian authorities who show any resistance — even if they do so for self-serving reasons — to this wholesale loot and plunder. Ultimately though, these land grabs, which are found across the country — although Karachi’s pricey real estate is especially coveted — are the product of collusion between corrupt builders, their backers in the corridors of power, and a venal bureaucracy. Proceedings at the Supreme Court are only just beginning to plumb the depths of this cesspool. After a year-long judicial process, the verdicts held that Bahria Town Ltd had acquired land for its projects in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Islamabad through illegal means, and that the transfers were null and void. Hearings by a three-judge bench tasked with implementing the verdict are ongoing. There have been other promising developments. Last September, the principal accused in Lahore’s Eden Housing Society scam, who happens to be a son-in-law of former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, was arrested from Dubai. Then in December, several revenue officials and builders were indicted by an accountability court in a case pertaining to the illegal transfer of 731 acres of prime state land to DHA City, Karachi.

  • The nation on 5th Feb observed the Kashmir Solidarity Day in a befitting manner with renewed pledge to continue extending all possible support to people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IoK), who are struggling for more than seven decades to get their legitimate right to self-determination.

This year, the Day was observed in Pakistan, both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and other parts of the world at a time when Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir have reached a new level of oppression and human rights’ denial to crush the indigenous freedom movement against the subjugating forces. On the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that all freedom-loving people should stand by the Kashmiris in their struggle for freedom from Indian occupation. He said that the Indian army was not fighting insurgents but an entire population in the occupied territory.

  • Senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and the provincial minister for local government and community development, Aleem Khan, was taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on 6th Feb.

He was taken into custody after he appeared before the anti-graft watchdog in the offshore company case – revealed in the Panama Papers leaks – and for having accumulated assets beyond known sources of income. DG NAB Lahore dismissed the ‘favorites’ rhetoric and said the bureau was working in the national interest without bias. “Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal has directed NAB to take action against corrupt elements. All mega corruption cases are being dealt on merit and will reach their logical conclusion.” Mr. Aleem has also resigned from the cabinet of Punjab Government.

  • The Supreme Court (SC) on 7th Feb announced its verdict in the suo motu case regarding the 2017 Faizabad sit-in staged by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

The two-member bench comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mushir Alam directed the federal and provincial governments to monitor all elements “advocating hate, extremism and terrorism and prosecute the perpetrators in accordance with the law”. As per the written verdict authored by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the Supreme Court has ruled that any “person issuing an edict or fatwa, which harms another or puts another in harm’s way, must be criminally prosecuted under the Pakistan Penal Code, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and/or the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.” The verdict directed intelligence agencies (including ISI, IB and MI) and the ISPR to not exceed their constitutional mandate.

  • The five-day multinational naval exercise Aman-2019, in which 46 nations are taking part, kicked off in Karachi on 8th Feb.

As the ceremony began, the flags of all participating nations were hoisted, and contingents of the Pakistan Navy presented a march-past. The principal purpose of the exercise, conducted after every two years since it was initiated in 2007, is to provide a forum for understanding of each other’s maritime concepts and operational cultures and come up with ways and means to combat common threats at sea. The Pakistan Navy’s ships, submarines, boats, marines and Special Forces will all take part in the exercise, along with the Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Army and Pakistan Rangers. Commander Pakistan Fleet Vice Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi was the chief guest at the opening ceremony, Radio Pakistan reported. Ambassadors and delegates of various countries were also present at the inauguration ceremony. The exercise will be conducted in two phases. The harbor phase from Friday to Sunday will be followed by a sea phase on Feb 11 and 12.Harbour activities will include seminars, discussions and demonstrations along with a three-day international maritime conference on ‘Global geopolitics in transition: rethinking maritime dynamics in the Indian Ocean region’.

  • Second Pakistan String Puppetry Festival going on in Karachi.

The ongoing second Pakistan String Puppetry Festival organized by Thespianz Theatre is taking place in 11 neighborhoods of Karachi and will continue till July 31. This was said by Faisal Malik of the theatre group at a press conference at a hotel here on 8th Feb.

  • The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has booked Din News TV host Rizwanur Rehman Razi ‘Dada’ on charges that he posted “defamatory and obnoxious” content against the judiciary, government institutions and intelligence agencies on his Twitter account, it emerged on 9th Feb.

The FIA, in an FIR dated Feb 8, has stated that Razi was “summoned” to join the inquiry and have his statement recorded.

Mahira Khan proved yet again that she is an international icon.

The star attended the 3rd edition of the Distinctive International Arab Festivals Awards (DIAFA) held on 8th Feb and was awarded a trophy for recognition in the film industry.

Economy –

·         Pakistan in talks with World Bank for assistance in tax system reforms.

Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is in talks with the World Bank for 400 million U.S. dollars loan to fix the country’s taxing system, according to local reports. The negotiations between the FBR and the Washington-based lender is going on currently, and a positive outcome is expected in the coming days, a senior official with the FBR confirmed on Monday on condition of anonymity. Local reports said that the negotiations include conditions to set up a constitutional body for resolving tax disputes between the central and provincial governments, and also changing tax structure for the agriculture sector. The reports said that the World Bank also sought common policies and administration for sales tax and income tax aimed at ending overlapping of policies of federal and provincial revenue authorities.

·         NFC meeting reviews better distribution of resources.

The first meeting of the reconstituted 9th National Finance Commission with Finance Minister Asad Umar in the chair was held in Islamabad 6th Feb. The meeting formed six sub groups to put forward proposals for FATA affairs, ease of doing business, macro-economic issues and horizontal and vertical distribution of resources. The meeting decided to form six sub-groups to make proposals/recommendations on (1) Macroeconomic framework and benchmarking, to be coordinated by Punjab, (2) Vertical Distribution of the divisible pool taxes between federation and provinces including needs of AJ&K and GB to be coordinated by Federal Government (3) Horizontal Distribution of divisible pool taxes amongst provinces to be coordinated by Baluchistan (4) Straight Transfers to be coordinated by Baluchistan (5) Measures required to be taken to simplify tax procedures and payment systems to facilitate businesses to be coordinated by Sind and (6) Integration/merger of FATA in KPK to be coordinated by KPK.

  • PTI Government has lowered the growth rates for 2017-18.

The federal government on 8th Feb officially revised downward the 5.8% economic growth rate in the last year of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government’s tenure to 5.2%, The 5.22% GDP growth rate would now be the lowest rate in three years The revised growth in the agriculture sector for 2017-18 has been estimated at 3.7% which was provisionally estimated at 3.81%, according to the NAC working paper. The revised growth in industrial sector is 5%, as against 5.8% provisional estimates. The growth of services sector has declined from provisional estimates of 6.43% to 5.8%, according to NAC. 

.

F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 9th February 2019 as compared to 2nd February 2019
Countries PKR rate as of 2nd February2019 PKR rate as of 9th February2019
U.S.A. 138.40 138.30
U.K. 181.50 178.50
Euro 158.50 157.30
Japan 1.2800 1.2700
Saudi Arabia 36.85 36.70
U.A.E. 37.85 37.70

 

Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices as of 8th February 2019 As Compared To Ist February 2019

 

Position as of 8th February 2019
Symbols KSE100 PSX-KMI
Advanced (Curr.) 84
40887.35
19776.82
Declined (High) 214
41453.10
20057.76
Unchanged (Low) 20
40790.60
19743.99
Total (Change) 318
-445.40
-233.92

 

Position as of 1ST February 2019

Symbols KSE100 PSX-KMI
Advanced (Curr.) 210
41121.13
19833.86
Declined (High) 107
41207.97
19878.14
Unchanged (Low) 13
40793.36
19720.40
321.60
100.00

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