Karachi: Qatar is said to have sent the first tranche of $3 billion to Pakistan that will help boost its dwindling foreign-exchange reserves, according to people familiar with the matter.
The amount will be with Pakistan in the next few days, according to the people. The gas-rich nation pledged the amount in deposits and investments to Pakistan after Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani visited Islamabad this month.
The inflow follows Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates sending $5 billion in aid packages. Pakistan also received $2.1 billion loan from China in March after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan approached friendly countries to help it avert a balance of payments crisis.
A State Bank of Pakistan official declined to comment on the inflow while the Qatar Central Bank didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pakistan also reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund in May for a bailout of about $6 billion as the economy goes through its latest boom and bust cycle.
Pakistan’s foreign-exchange reserves have dropped by about 25% to $7.3 billion, less than two months of import cover, according to central bank data. The nation’s currency is the worst performer globally this quarter declining 12%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Gas tariffs raised
Pakistan boosted gas tariffs for the first time in nine months as it tries to meet commitments for a $6 billion International Monetary Fund bailout package.
The increase in the charges range from 173 rupees per metric million British thermal unit to 463 rupees/mmbtu for domestic consumers, according to the Pakistan Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority’s notification.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adminsitration reached an accord for a bailout package with the IMF in May, in which it committed to curtail energy-sector losses. The loan package is subject to the approval of the fund’s executive board.
The government last raised the utility tariff in October as the country faced a balance of payment crisis due to current account and fiscal deficits, and depleted foreign-exchange reserves.
The tariff for the textile industry increased by 180 rupees/mmbtu, while that for the cement sector rose by 302 rupees. Other industries face a 241 rupee/mmbtu increase.
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