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ISLAMABAD: The government is reportedly making hectic efforts for a government-to-government (G2G) agreement with Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) on upfront foreign currency repatriation against future workers’ remittances, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

Finance Ministry, sources said, will update the Executive Committee (EC) of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) which is scheduled to meet on Wednesday (Jan 24).

Both Saudi Arabia and UAE are key countries from where Pakistani workers send foreign exchange to Pakistan.

July-August remittances post big fall

Secretary Finance, Secretary Board of Investment, Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Chairman SECP, Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Secretary Commerce, Secretary IT&T and President/CEO Bank of Punjab will brief the EC on following matters: (i) progress update on negotiations by Ministerial Group for the issue and stance of UAE side; (ii) recommendation of Working Group for reforms of insurance sector; (iii) recommendation on M/s Nanopay offer; (iv) update on deployment of insurance mechanism for provinces with respect to EXIM Bank; (v) proposal of G2G agreement between Pakistan and KSA/UAE for facilitating an upfront consideration of foreign currency against future workers’ remittance; (vi) Pakistan opportunity fund-recommendation and way forward; (vii) difficulties faced by French Company with Ministry of SAFRAN on acquisition of new credit line and non-payment/outstanding dues; and (viii) outstanding debt of $ 200 million from PIA-Air France.

Governor SBP, Secretary Foreign Affairs and Secretary Information and Broadcasting will brief the EC on following items: (i) update on dissemination of information regarding establishment of regulatory framework for RMB settlement;(ii) update on dissemination of information regarding establishment of a regulatory framework on ACU; (iii) update on SBP’s engagement with NBP to utilize its branches/booths at border crossing points to foreign currency cash;(iv) discouragement of hoarding of USDs; (v) settlements in PKR for imports and exports; (vi) list of banks involved in illegal businesses of LCs and speculation of foreign currencies; and (vii) remittances issues US companies.

Additional Secretary Incharge, Power Division will share: (i) recommendations to reduce bulging circular debt of energy sector which has reached Rs 5.7 trillion in addition to update on stakeholder consultation for revised tariff design; (ii) progress on summary to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet; (iii) recommendations and shortlisting of viable Cat-III projects; (iv) hydel projects at LoI stage along with draft guidelines being finalized in line with the National Electricity Policy 2021 and NEPRA procurement regulations 2022 for existing and future LoI processes;(iv) various models for inclusion of IGCEP; (v) recommendations/review of existing mechanism to formulate a hydro IPPs specific mechanism for quality assurance during construction; and (vi) recommendations on utilizing existing feasibility studies and NOCs achieved by Siddiquesons Energy Limited (SEL) against new feasibility for same project by K-Electric.

Additional Secretary Petroleum will update the ECC on: (i) Saudi Arabia stance/SINOPEC and recommendations on way forward;(ii) recommendations of consultants for signing the upgrade agreements on Brownfield refineries including consultations for finalization of interpretations/amendments in Policy; (iii) update on Iran-Pakistan pipeline reviewed by Ministerial Oversight Committee; (iv) TAPI; (iv) gas supply strategy - progress on Unaccounted for Gas (UFG) and maximum gas bill limit issues in Balochistan, recommendations for revision of merit order and revised tariff implications; (vi) presentation of detailed study commissioned to define current and projected supply of gas, while taking into consideration the energy mix; (v) recommended solution post consultations with affected parties; (vi) timelines and milestones on Energas, Tabeer Energy and Virtual LNG projects; (vii) differential payment for supply of RLNG to two urea plants in Punjab- update on new mechanism; and (vii) policy for LNG supply to domestic consumers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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