Pakistan Has Already Consumed Most of Its Oil and Natural Gas

Pakistan has consumed 79.8% of its total oil reserves and 66.6% natural gas reserves. There are currently 249 million barrels left in reserves. Pakistan has used 985 million barrels of oil out of its 1,234 million barrels, which is 79.9% of the total.

Pakistan is a major producer of gas, used to meet its domestic needs. The country has consumed 66.6% of natural gas so far, with 33.4% remaining untapped. Since 2000, exploration and production (E&P) companies have not been capable of increasing gas production.

Pakistan has 33% of its own gas, 10% LNG, and 1% liquefied petroleum gases (LPG). Domestic production is at a deficit of 0.507 TCF between production and demand. The share of LNG in natural gas supply has increased to 29% over time.

This can be addressed by the reduction of gas supply or load management to different parts of the economy.

ECC Okays Measures for Early Start of Reko Diq Project

The meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECCECC) of the cabinet has approved two important agenda items related to the Reko Diq project. The meeting was presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is also chairman of the ECC.

The amount held in an escrow account in connection with the Reko Diq Project dispute settlement has been calculated by the Ministry of Energy. The federal government and government of Balochistan entered into an out-of-court dispute settlement with Tethyan Copper Company Pvt Limited.

The Federal Government has to clear liabilities to Antofagasta PLC. The ECC allowed Finance Division to arrange the interest payable for the Balochistan government’s share of $8.51 million from the loan of Rs. 65 billion already raised by GHPL.

It approved a proposal of the Finance Division on the funding plan of the federal government for the share of the Balochistan government in the Reko Diq Project.

New Intel Arc Driver Upgrade Doubles Counter-Strike GO Frame Rate

Intel has released a driver update for its Arc series desktop graphics cards. The new driver is designed to improve performance in DirectX 9 titles. It brings an average of 1.8x improvement across multiple games, according to the company’s benchmark tests.

Counter Strike Global Offensive (CS: GO) is still a hugely popular game despite its age. There are close to a million people playing the game at any one time. The average frame rate at 1080p, while using Intel Arc, has increased by 1.79x with the new driver.

Intel’s Arc-series graphics cards are optimized for modern APIs such as DirectX 12 or Vulkan. However, they have struggled with older API such as DX11 and DX10. This was solved by running older APIs through DXVK, which improves performance. Intel may be using this translation layer to increase performance for older titles.

Germany Keen to Benefit from Investment Opportunities in Pakistan: Envoy

Ambassador of Germany showed keen interest to benefit from investment opportunities in Pakistan. He called on Finance Minister Ishaq Dar at Finance Division. Minister highlighted bilateral relations with Germany and importance of enhancement in trade and economic relations between the two countries.

The finance minister discussed the economic policies of the new government and potential avenues for investment from Germany in Pakistan.

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Fact Check: No, Google Play Store Isn’t Going Away in Pakistan After December 1st

Android users in Pakistan won’t be able to download Google Play Store apps. Purchasers of paid apps through mobile carrier billing as carrier payments were stopped by the State Bank of Pakistan. The SBP is trying to limit the outflow of dollars to global tech companies.

The payment of $34 million to overseas service providers like Google, Amazon, and Meta, has been frozen. Pakistani users can continue to buy apps or use paid services through credit or debit cards only. The SBP suspended Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) on Friday.

The SBP has revoked the mechanism for payment of dollar fees in light of the country’s liquidity crisis. In this regard, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT), the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), and four cellular mobile operators (CMOs) unanimously wrote a letter to the SBP.

If this is successful, users would be able to buy apps through Google Play Store directly from their mobile phone providers.

SBP Working on QR Code for Quick Payments

SBP Governor Jameel Ahmad said that the central bank is working on various digital initiatives including the launch of a quick response (QR) code by next year. The code will enable small merchants to receive payments from their customers instantly. He was talking about the financial horizon of the country at Pakistan Fintech Forum 2022.

SBP is working intensively to make a conducive environment for fintechs that promise solutions for financial inclusion, Governor SBP has said. He said SBP is also conducting the cost-benefit analysis of central bank digital currency (CBDC), he added.

He said that owing to the new disruptive technologies, today’s consumer preferences as well as the needs of businesses are evolving rapidly. He said that fintechs are now accepted by both traditional financial institutions and non-financial players, ranging from smart startups and large technology firms.

Governor Muhammad Zubair has called for the development of a tech-based financial ecosystem in Pakistan. App-based platforms are playing an important role in providing financing to various sectors such as agriculture, SMEs, housing, etc., and also helps in better risk management.

State Bank to Announce Monetary Policy on Friday

The Monetary Policy Committee of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will meet on November 25, 2022 in Karachi to decide on the Monetary Policy. The central bank will issue its Monetary Policy Statement through a press release on the same day for the first time.

Expectations and market sentiment indicate that the interest rate will remain unchanged this time as well, reports BBC’s Nafees Zakaria.

CPI inflation increased to 26.6 percent in October 2022 due to a major adjustment in electricity tariffs. Imports fell 13 percent, and the trade deficit fell to $2.3 billion. This is likely to keep a check on the current account deficit going forward.