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Economy

IMF chief warns of high Arab public debt

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IMF chief warns of high Arab public debt

DUBAI: IMF has warned today that Public debt has rapidly increased in many Arab countries since the 2008 global financial crisis, due to persistently high budget deficits.

“Unfortunately, the region has yet to fully recover from the global financial crisis and other big economic dislocations over the past decade,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said. “Among oil importers, (economic) growth has picked up, but it is still below pre-crisis levels,” she told the Arab Fiscal Forum in Dubai. Lagarde said public debt among Arab oil importing nations had increased from 64 percent to 85 percent of Gross Domestic Product in the decade since 2008. Nearly half of these countries now have a public debt of over 90 percent of GDP, she said. Public debt among oil exporters – including the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council – rose from 13 percent of GDP to 33 percent of GDP, accelerated by the crash in oil prices around five years ago, Lagarde said.

“The oil exporters have not fully recovered from the dramatic oil price shock of 2014,” she said.  “Modest growth continues, but the outlook is highly uncertain,” Lagarde said oil-producing countries should look to renewable energy in the coming decades, in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, which stipulates a reduction in greenhouse emissions. The IMF last month lowered its economic growth forecasts for Saudi Arabia — the world’s top crude exporter – and the wider Middle East and North Africa region due to a renewed fall in oil prices, low output, and geopolitical tensions. Lagarde welcomed both spending and revenue reforms, including the introduction of a value-added-tax (VAT) and excise duty by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. But she urged more reforms, anti-corruption measures, and transparency.”The economic path ahead for the region is challenging,” she added.

 

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Economy

30 new development schemes in GB

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GB to be accorded all powers

ISLAMABAD: The Gilgit-Baltistan Departmental Development Working Party (DDWP) has approved 30 new development schemes worth Rs 3.90 billion.
The decision in that regard was taken in the DDWP meeting held in Gilgit-Baltistan with Chief Secretary Muhammad Khurram Agha in the chair, Radio Pakistan reported on Saturday. The chief secretary, on the occasion, directed for timely completion of the schemes saying that the government will not compromise the quality of work and ensuring transparency in the projects.

 

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Economy

Registered workers’ applications for Hajj!

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Electronic grouping of pilgrims

ISLAMABAD: The Workers Welfare Fund (WWF), Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development, has asked the registered workers of capital based factories/establishments to submit their applications for inclusion in Hajj draw by 28th February.
According to a WWF official, ten registered industrial workers from Islamabad would be chosen through balloting, whose hajj expenses would be borne by the Fund.
The minimum age of the applicants should be 40 years and must not be over 60 years. They should fulfill the criteria of a worker as defined by IRA-2017, and be registered with Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) or Employees Social Security Institutions (ESSI). They are required to submit an affidavit stating that they had not performed Hajj at least in last five year (from 2014-18).
The applying worker must submit a certificate from his respective institution that the institution is situated and registered within the limits of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). In the case of women worker, all expenditure and another arrangement of her accompanying Mehram will be paid by herself.
WWF would pay the expenses as per the announced Hajj Policy 2019, complete applications should be sent to Assistant Director (Welfare) WWF, Building No 2, Street no 39, Mauve Area, G-10/4, Islamabad.
In case a selected worker is failed to go to perform Haj, he/she will not be entitled to receive the money. His berth will be allotted to next waiting candidate to avail the free hajj facility. The decision of WWF will be final and cannot be challenged in any case.

 

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Business

EODB more important factor for economy!

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LAHORE: Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) President Almas Hyder said on Saturday that ‘Ease of Doing Business’ was a more important factor than say for businesses growth and for a sustainable economy.
“It is a good omen that present regime is well aware of the importance of Ease of Doing Business and trying to change the scenario in this regard through economic reforms,” he observed while talking to a group of business leaders here. Almas Hyder said that importance of businesses could not be undermined for economic development as these provide jobs to the growing population, generate revenue for the government to run the affairs of state and attract foreign investment to the country which not only provides employment but also brings new technologies.
“Pakistan is at 136th place in the international index of ease of doing business while the ranking of a number of those countries is better than us who have fewer resources. Pakistan is at 130th position in starting a business, 166th in dealing with construction permits, 167th in getting electricity, 161 in registering property, 112th in getting credit, 26th in protecting minority investors, 173rd in paying taxes, 142nd in trading across borders, 156th enforcing contracts and at 53rd in resolving insolvency in the international indexes,” he maintained. Almas Hyder said that Pakistan had to take giant leaps towards improvement in these rankings, suggesting that a company office in Pakistan should be established for incorporation of new companies.
He added that an electronic One Window Operation at LDA (Lahore Development Authority) should be established and automation of construction permits should be completed at LDA including electronic submission of application.
Almas Hyder said that reduction in the number of taxes, change the mode of payments would help jack-up Pakistan’s international ranking in paying taxes. He also suggested that revenue (tax) collection should be separated from services as it would help the government to manage the affairs in a better manner. “Getting electricity is one of the major economic indicators and we have to make these better if we want to compete impressively with our competitors in the international market,” he opined. He said that registration of property should be easy for businessmen through modern technologies and one-window operation.

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