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Pakistan approves major electricity tariff hike to meet IMF request

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Pakistan approves major electricity tariff hike to meet IMF request

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Latest World News: Pakistan approves major electricity tariff hike to meet IMF request

As Pakistan moves forward to meet IMF conditions, the federal cabinet has authorized a significant increase in the base electricity tariff through a traffic summary in a late-night decision, sources quoted by ARY News on Saturday said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (via REUTERS)

Sources familiar with the development told ARY News that the Federal Government has increased the basic electricity tariff by Rs3 for some customers and Rs7.5 per unit for some other consumers.

The cabinet approved an increase in electricity tariffs on the recommendation of the National Electricity Regulatory Authority (Nepra).

Under the proposal, the government has recommended an increase of PKR 3 per unit for unprotected residential consumers using 1 to 100 units, which will bring the current unit cost from PKR 13.48/unit to 16.48/unit.

Similarly, for residential consumers using more than 700 units, the government has proposed an increase of 7.5/unit from the existing PKR of 35.22/unit to 42.72/unit.

Sources say the government has referred the case to Nepra to raise the tariff and the regulator will hold a public hearing to decide the matter before issuing a final notification.

If approved, the new tariff will come into effect on July 1.

On July 14, Nepra authorized the federal government to increase the basic electricity tariff by PKR 4.96/unit.

The move comes as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reassured IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva that he would not tolerate an iota of violation of the agreement with the global lender.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked Pakistan to raise electricity and gas tariffs further as details of the IMF-Pakistan deal emerge, ARY News reported on Tuesday.

The details of the Pakistan-IMF deal stated that Pakistan should be strict with monetary policy in order to further reduce inflation in the country. The IMF also welcomed Pakistan’s interest rate hike.

The IMF has asked Pakistan to gradually reduce subsidies in the electricity sector, as well as spending on salaries and pensions. The country needs to make pension reforms.

In addition, the IMF has warned Pakistan not to take new loans from the State Bank and pay pending electricity sector dues.

The IMF country report said the State Bank of Pakistan should be allowed to work independently on monetary policy and autonomy should be given to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The unemployment rate, which was 6.2% in 2022, could reach 8.5% in 2024 in Pakistan, the report adds. Pakistan’s financial loss will remain at 7.5% and the debt ratio will be at 74.9.

However, the IMF welcomed the strengthening of the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) through a targeted expansion of the beneficiary base, but called for sustained efforts to ensure the enrollment of all deserving families in CCT programs.

It is relevant to mention here that the IMF board approved the $3 billion bailout loan program this week after months of delay, bolstering Pakistan’s financial stability ahead of this year’s elections. Fitch Ratings upgraded Pakistan this week on improving funding environment.

Later, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) received $1.2 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the first tranche of a $3 billion rescue package to stabilize the economy.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said in a televised statement that the remaining US$1.8 would be released after two reviews, meaning there would be two installments.

Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves jumped by $4.2 billion in the past four days, he said, referring to a $2 billion deposit made by Saudi Arabia and another $1 billion received from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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An Overview of Global Events in 2023

In 2023, the world witnessed a myriad of events that left a lasting impact on global affairs. From political developments and economic shifts to environmental challenges and breakthroughs in science and technology, the year was marked by significant changes and a sense of urgency for collective action. Here’s an overview of some of the latest world news in 2023.

Political Unrest and Diplomatic Strides:
In the political arena, several regions experienced unrest and geopolitical tensions. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East continued to dominate headlines, with efforts towards peace and stability remaining elusive. However, there were also moments of diplomatic breakthroughs as nations engaged in dialogues to ease tensions and work towards lasting solutions.

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Economic Transformations:
The global economy faced both challenges and opportunities. Trade disputes between major powers affected markets, while some countries grappled with debt crises. On the other hand, emerging economies showed resilience and promising growth, fueling optimism for a more balanced global economic landscape.

Technological Advancements:
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Climate Crisis and Environmental Resilience:
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Health and Pandemic Management:
Health remained a global priority as countries continued to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. With the emergence of new variants, vaccination efforts and public health measures remained crucial to curbing the spread of the virus. There were also significant advancements in medical research and technology, offering hope for better preparedness in handling future health crises.

Sports and Cultural Milestones:
Amidst the challenges, the world found moments of joy and unity through sports and culture. International sporting events brought together athletes from diverse backgrounds, promoting solidarity and camaraderie. Cultural exchanges and celebrations showcased the richness of human diversity and fostered mutual understanding.

In conclusion, the year 2023 was a dynamic period filled with significant events that shaped the course of history. From political unrest to technological advancements and environmental challenges, the world witnessed the complexities of the global landscape. While obstacles remained, there were also encouraging developments and collaborative efforts towards a more sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous future for all nations. As we move forward, the lessons learned from these events serve as a reminder of the importance of collective action and cooperation to address shared global challenges.