Author: Khaleeq Kiani

Khaleeq Kiani is a Dawn newspaper journalist and contributor, covering mainly local news from Pakistan and Asia.

The prices of petrol and high-speed diesel (HSD) are set to increase by over Rs7.60 and Rs3.50 per litre, respectively, starting from July 16. This hike is primarily due to the surge in global oil prices, with petrol and HSD prices rising by $4.4 and $2 per barrel, respectively, in the last fortnight. The government has raised the petroleum development levy (PDL) to Rs70 per litre to collect Rs1.28 trillion in the current fiscal year. This increase in fuel prices is further compounded by a 17 paise depreciation of the Pakistani rupee against the dollar. Despite import premiums remaining stable,…

Read More

Nepra approves a significant hike in electricity rates: Up to 51% increase in base rates and 184% increase in fixed capacity charges. The new rates will be applicable from July 1, 2024, affecting all consumers across the country. Residential tariffs will see an average increase of Rs3.63 per unit for July-Sept and Rs6.27 for the remaining months. The government will provide a subsidy to mitigate the impact, with the average residential tariff rising by 14% initially. Commercial consumers will face the highest increase, followed by general services. Despite the tariff hike, industrial tariffs will decrease slightly. The new charges also…

Read More

Hopeful Progress in Talks with IMF on $6bn Fund Facility Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb announced significant progress in negotiations with the IMF, indicating that a $6bn Extended Fund Facility (EFF) deal could be finalized this month. The government has already completed most prior actions and has reached an agreement, in principle, with all provinces on the agricultural income tax. Aurangzeb also mentioned plans to request the IMF to augment the package with a climate resilience facility (CRF). The CRF, totaling around $50bn, aims to assist countries vulnerable to climate change with low-rate financing from rich nations. Despite some resistance to…

Read More

Nepra Orders Investigation Into Overbilling by Distribution Companies The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has called for corrections in power generation contracts to provide relief amid public outcry over a tariff increase of up to Rs7.12 per unit. During a public hearing, Nepra ordered an investigation into last month’s overbilling by distribution companies due to changes in meter reading. Representatives claimed the average tariff for the current fiscal year would be lower due to fewer adjustments. The government provided a Rs50bn subsidy for three months for relief to residential consumers. However, the decision is pending official notification. Consumers criticize…

Read More

Parliament has approved a whopping Rs9.4 trillion in expenditure overruns, a significant increase from the previous year. The majority of these grants, totaling over Rs8 trillion, were allocated in the last 45 days of the fiscal year, with a substantial amount attributed to government borrowing. Despite claims of austerity measures, successive administrations have overspent, raising questions about fiscal control. The Finance Minister obtained approval for huge supplementary grants, mainly driven by borrowing, circular debt in the power sector, and payments to K-Electric. Some expenses, like additional funds for pension benefits and security divisions, were deemed extravagant and unnecessary. The Prime…

Read More

Amidst a nationwide strike, petrol pumps are set to shut down from 6am today, with the official machinery hinting at higher commissions for dealers to pass on the impact of turnover tax to consumers. Oil marketing companies are also seeking a 60% increase in profit margins. The Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) chairman, Abdul Sami Khan, confirmed the closure of pumps nationwide, citing intimidation tactics against protestors. The government, on the other hand, is ensuring uninterrupted fuel supply during the strike. While some dealers seek negotiation before resorting to extreme measures, others stand firm on their demands. The Reformers Group…

Read More

Potential of Higher Returns from Roosevelt Hotel Sale Pakistan is set to benefit from increased foreign exchange earnings with the proposed sale of the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, New York. The upscale property could see a two-fold increase in floor area ratio, boosting its value significantly. However, concerns have emerged regarding the sale of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) due to the European Union’s ban on Pakistani airlines. Despite this, Minister Abdul Aleem Khan remains optimistic about resolving these issues in due course. Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL) has submitted a report outlining different options for the privatisation of the Roosevelt…

Read More

The government has approved a 9% increase in gas rates for industrial captive power units, effective from July 1, to comply with the IMF’s prior action. However, relief in gas rates for other consumers has been blocked, totaling Rs133 billion. This decision was made during a special meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) chaired by Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb. The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) had recommended a reduction in gas prices for the fiscal year 2024-25. Despite this, Ogra later asked the government to absorb a price cut to finance circular debt instead of providing relief to…

Read More

Major Changes Approved to Federal Government’s Pension System: A Brief Overview The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) recently approved significant changes to the federal government’s pension system, set to be implemented on July 1. The amendments will affect civilians immediately, with the armed forces following suit in the next fiscal year. Under the new rules, gross pension will be based on 70% of the average salary in the last two years of service. Additionally, ordinary family pension will apply for 10 years or for the lifetime of children with special needs. Retirees who are rehired will have the option to retain…

Read More

Petrol and Diesel Prices Expected to Increase in July Get ready to pay more at the pump as petrol and high-speed diesel prices are set to increase by Rs7 and Rs8 per litre, respectively, starting July 1. This rise in prices is attributed to the hike in the international market rates for these petroleum products. The government has allowed for a maximum petroleum development levy (PDL) of Rs80 per litre, up from the previous Rs60. Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb has highlighted that the PDL may be gradually increased based on market trends. This increase in prices comes after four consecutive…

Read More