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Economy

Supp. budget aims at boosting exports

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Asad assures businessmen of clubbing of taxes in next budget

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance Asad Umar has said that the supplementary budget to be launched by the government this month, is aimed at enhancing exports, facilitating business activities, and attracting maximum foreign direct investment in the country.
Due to remedial measures, introduced by the current government for bringing stabilization in the national economy, the economic indicators had already been started showing significant resilience,  he said while addressing to anchorpersons here at his office.
During the first half of current financial year, he said exports of the country have increased,  imports decreased and remittances are showing the upward trend as compared to the corresponding period of last financial year.
The minister said despite the immense challenges faced by the government on the economic front,  it was decided to introduce some structural reforms to correct the fundamentals of the national economy
for bringing about long term development and stabilization.
Due to these reforms, current account deficit has also registered decreasing trend which would ultimately help to reduce the pressure on foreign exchange reserves, he added.
Asad Umer said that four components including exports, imports, remittances, and foreign direct investment are the determining factors of the current account deficit, adding that all these indicators excluding foreign investment remained up to the mark during the first half of the current fiscal year.
He informed that private sector credit off-take during the period from July-December, 2018-19  has also witnessed 65 percent growth as compared to 21 percent of last year which is the highest in the last 13 years.
The minister said that consumer inflation rate based on Consumer Prices Index (CPI) during the first  five months of the government of Pakistan Peoples Party was increased by 11.2 percent, it was  increased by 4 percent in Pakistan Muslim League (N) regime, whereas the CPI witnessed a nominal  increased 0.4 percent in the first five months of PTI government.
He said that year on year, CPI percentage for households belonging to lower income groups even declined in the period as compared to the same period of last year, adding that the government had tried to provide maximum relief to common man.
He said that the current government after coming into power had announced to explore and utilize other alternative sources for economic development and stabilization, besides negotiating with the International  Monitory Fund (IMF).
The government is still in process of negotiation with IMF and as soon as any suitable programme for the betterment of national economy finalized, the agreement with the Fund would be signed, he remarked.
Besides, he said that government is utilizing other available alternative options for fulfilling the financial requirements of the country and taking different measures for economic development and social prosperity of the country.

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Business

Is Uber buying Careem for $3.1b?

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DUBAI: According to the rumors making rounds here today it seems that Uber is about to acquire Careem for $3.1b!

Sources privy to NPTV have insinuated that the deal will be announced tomorrow (Tuesday 26th March). Initially Uber will pay $1.4 billion in cash and the rest in notes convertible to Uber shares.

It comes as Uber prepares for its initial public offering — expected next month — which could see the rideshare giant’s value increase to $100 billion.

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Crime

Confiscated goods’ auction fetches over Rs. 16 b in 5 years

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ISLAMABAD: The authorities concerned have amassed Rs. 16.124 billion through auction and disposal of different confiscated/smuggled goods during the last five years.
The confiscated goods are disposed of through open public auction as provided in auction/customs rules. A variety of smuggled goods have been confiscated in the country by Pakistan Customs during the period and these included tea, auto parts, cigarettes, medicines, antiques, crockery, vehicles, cloth, tires and tubes, diesel, electronic goods, and narcotics etc.
Elaborating procedure for the auction of confiscated goods, sources at Finance and Revenue Division on Sunday said as per auction rules, the Collector or an authorized officer shall nominate an auctioneer from amongst registered auctioneers to conduct an auction of confiscated goods.  The amounts and names of the highest and second highest bidders are recorded in the file by customs staff supervising the process along with copies of National  Identity Card as well as NTN of the successful bidder.
The auctioneer on receipt of a certificate issued by Collector or an authorized officer to the effect that the whole amount of bid has been realized, issues under his seal, a delivery order. The sources said there are certain items like arms and ammunition, liquor/narcotics and like goods which cannot be put to auction.
It is pertinent to mention here that goods like confiscated narcotics and expired/banned/hazardous items/goods, not fit for human consumption, are destroyed.  However, arms and ammunition of prohibited and non-prohibited bores are disposed of by allocating the same to an agency/department having anti-smuggling powers for their official use.

 

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Economy

Greek homes in Airbnb fever

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ATHENS: For Dimitra Dionysopoulou, who lives in the shadow of the Acropolis, there is no mistaking the signs of the Airbnb takeover in her neighborhood.
“Renovation noise, debris disposal bins on every street, and rolling luggage,” said the 50-year-old Athenian mother.
Dionysopoulou has lived her entire life in the middle-class district of Koukaki, now in the midst of a home-sharing frenzy. In 2016, it was named Airbnb’s fifth fastest growing neighborhood globally with an 800-percent jump in activity.
Its selling point? Walking distance from one of the world’s most visited archaeological sites, as well as the state-of-the-art Acropolis museum.
Hundreds of apartments in Koukaki’s aging concrete buildings are now on offer. Rents have doubled and entire families of tenants have been pushed out by cash-hungry owners, said Dionysopoulou.
“Three families I know have already left, and we are currently trying to find a home for a fourth,” she told AFP.
Greece is the eurozone country hardest hit by the 2008 economic crisis, losing around a quarter of its gross domestic product, suffering a surge in unemployment and a severe debt crisis that prompted bailouts from the EU and the IMF as wages stagnated and housing prices fell.
Dionysopoulou is not alone in feeling that the Airbnb phenomenon, as in other major cities, has run amok.
Greek authorities this year belatedly introduced registration and tax rules for Airbnb homeowners.
According to Angelos Skiadas, head of Greece’s tenant association, the home-sharing craze has even spread to far-off Athens suburbs with no tourist interest.
“Homeowners think this is a cure-all that will solve their problems for life. Many use Airbnb as a threat (to raise the rent),” he said.
The shortage is particularly acute on popular islands where visiting civil servants, teachers, and university students are unable to find affordable housing beyond May when the tourist season begins to pick up, Skiadas noted.
“It’s a bubble,” he said, before adding: “Things will balance out.”
Hoteliers also say the situation is out of control. Their trade association commissioned a study from Grant Thornton that found that more than 76,000 properties in Greece were available on home-sharing platforms.
The study argued that declining availability had pushed up rents in central Athens by 9.3 percent in a year, disproportionately affecting poorer segments of the population such as pensioners and single-parent families.
In a sign that Koukaki has reached the saturation point, the government this month moved to halt the construction of a nearly completed nine-floor hotel with a stellar view of the Parthenon.

 

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