Morning Buzz for December 20, 2013 – MR Securities

Karachi, December 20, 2013 (PPI-OT): Reforms on track: IMF clears release of second $550m tranche

According to MR Securities,

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the release of the second tranche of the $6.7 billion loan package to Pakistan and said the country was broadly on track with reforms tied to the programme.The lender, however, cautioned that Islamabad would have to act quickly to rebuild the country’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

Foreign currency: Reserves rise to $3.4 billion on inflows from institutions
After dropping to a 12-year low of $2.9 billion on December 6, foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) increased by $505 million to $3.4 billion week later, according to SBP’s latest data.

IMF, ADB and USAID take up Discos’ sell-off
The International Monetary Fund has reportedly started consultations with the Asian Development Bank and USAID on the proposed power sector’s privatisation plan. “Privatisation of Lesco, Gepco, Iesco, Fesco and Mepco is being actively considered by the IMF, ADB and USAID and there is a possibility of setting deadlines for sale of these companies,” the sources added.

Flaws in IMF programme to further harm economy: Dr Ashfaque
Renowned economist Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan said the government had no option but to go for the IMF programme to pay mounting debt, however, programme flaws will further damage the country’s economy.

Youth scheme funds be channelled through Islamic banking: Siraj
Siraj-ul-Haq, Senior Minister for Finance Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has demanded that the Youth Business Programme of worth Rs 100 billion should be channelled through Islamic banking to get the maximum advantage of financing and business development.

Islamic banking: Dar asks body to explore ways, means for promotion
Steering Committee for the Promotion of Islamic Banking met the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar on Thursday. The Federal Minister said that the size of the Islamic Banking in the world has reached $1.6 trillion and he expects the Committee to explore ways and means for Pakistan for not only having a sizeable share in Islamic Banking, but also suggest ways to benefit from it.

Kashf with JLI launches micro-health insurance for clients
Kashf Foundation has partnered with Jubilee Life Insurance (JLI) launched a micro-health insurance product for its clients. While sharing her views Managing Director Ms Roshaneh Zafar said that providing the quality facilities of micro finance to the low income clients is the priority and core value of the organisation. Kashf will keep providing need-based service to its clients, she added.

MoU inked: Leading groups tie up to set up Thar coal power plant
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) – a joint venture between Engro Powergen Limited and Government of Sindh – signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Thursday with leading business groups including Atlas, Liberty and Sapphire for setting up the country’s first Thar coal-based power plant with an investment of $800 million.

Hard choices: Closure of canals to lower power generation
As hydroelectric power generation falls dramatically due to canal closure, coupled with cut in gas supplies to power plants, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar advised the nation to expect longer load-shedding hours.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: Pakistan poised to become SCO club member
As energy politics is gaining momentum across the world, Pakistan is going to become a member of the energy club of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), an initiative taken by Russia for providing support to energy projects in different countries including Pakistan.

Holding their breath: Pakistani investors in Bangladesh facing uncertainty
Billions of dollars of investment made by more than 10,000 Pakistanis in Bangladesh is facing uncertainty in the wake of tense situation there after Dhaka’s decision to hang Abdul Qader Molla and anti-Pakistan statements made by Prime Minister Hasina Wajid.

US wants to finance energy projects in Pakistan: ambassador
The US government intends to finance energy projects in line with the priorities of the present government, a diplomat said on Thursday. Thomas Williams, acting ambassador of the United States, stated this, while talking to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday.

Cement makers blamed for creating artificial shortage
Cement manufacturing companies have created an artificial shortage in the retail markets to keep the price of the commodity higher to earn more profit, dealers said on Thursday. Analysts have revised up their forecast for an increase in rate of profit of cement companies due to two factors. First, the price of cement has gone significantly up in recent weeks.

‘FBR to impose penalties on non-filers of tax returns’
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has decided to impose penalties against non-filers of income tax returns, besides sending them to jail, a senior official said on Thursday.

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