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Pakistan to exit FATF grey list this year: Tarin

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The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin said that Pakistan would exit from the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) this year as it has already achieved almost all targets set by the task force.

“We have completed 26 conditions out of 27 of the action plan,” the minister, who is in Dubai, told Khaleej Times and termed the FATF decision as politically motivated.

It is pertinent to mention that on Friday, the FATF announced that it was retaining Pakistan on the grey list while noting that significant progress had been made in completing the required action items for removal from the list.

In a statement, the FATF said that Pakistan completed 26 of the 27 action items in its 2018 action plan.

It encouraged Pakistan to continue to make progress to address the one remaining item as soon as possible.

It further added since June 2021, Pakistan has taken swift steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime and completed six of the seven action items ahead of any relevant deadlines expiring.

“Pakistan should continue to work to address the one remaining item in its 2021 action plan by demonstrating a positive and sustained trend of pursuing complex money laundering investigations and prosecutions,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, head of research at Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company, Samiullah Tariq said Pakistan was already in the grey list since 2018, so there was no major impact expected on business and markets in near term.

“In my view Pakistan’s performance has been impressive while complying with FATF parameters and it is also acknowledged by the FATF. Pakistan should have been excluded from the grey list amid considering its significant progress on improving its financial system and check terror financing,” Tariq told Khaleej Times.

In a statement, the finance ministry said Pakistan presented its case in an effective manner and also reaffirmed its political commitment to continue with the efforts to complete the action plans.

“The FATF reviewed Pakistan’s progress on both action plans in its plenary meeting. The FATF members, while participating in the discussion on Pakistan’s progress, recognised Pakistan’s continuing commitment towards sustainable, robust AML/CFT frameworks,” the statement said.

“The country is making endeavours to complete the last two remaining items of both the action plans, as early as possible,” the statement said.

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Unveiling Financial Secrets: The Power of Monitoring Your Tax Code for Maximum Wealth Growth

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Introduction

In the realm of personal finance, one often overlooked yet crucial aspect is ensuring that your tax affairs are in order. Finance expert Laura Pomfret emphasizes the significance of regularly checking your tax code to avoid potential financial discrepancies. In this article, we delve into why it is essential to stay informed about your tax code, the implications of being on the wrong code, and practical tips to maximize your earnings before the tax year-end deadline on 5th April.

Why Checking Your Tax Code Matters

Understanding the Basics:
Your tax code is a unique combination of numbers and letters used by employers and pension providers to calculate how much income tax should be deducted from your pay or pension. It determines your personal allowance and any additional factors that affect your tax liability.

Detecting Errors and Overpayments:
Errors in your tax code can lead to overpayments or underpayments of tax. Being on the wrong tax code can result in you paying more tax than necessary, leading to financial losses. Regularly reviewing your tax code can help identify any discrepancies and rectify them promptly.

The Impact of an Incorrect Tax Code

Financial Losses:
Being on an incorrect tax code can result in overpaying or underpaying taxes, impacting your disposable income. Overpaying taxes means you are losing money that could have been utilized elsewhere, while underpaying can lead to unexpected bills and penalties.

Legal Implications:
Failure to rectify errors in your tax code can have legal consequences. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may impose fines or interest charges for underpayment of taxes due to incorrect coding. Staying proactive in monitoring your tax affairs can prevent such issues.

Maximizing Your Earnings Before the Deadline

Best Time to Contact HMRC:
Laura Pomfret suggests calling HMRC early in the morning or late in the afternoon for quicker assistance with any tax code-related queries. Avoid peak times when call volumes are high to receive more efficient support.

Utilizing Tax-Efficient Strategies:
Before the end of the tax year on 5th April, consider utilizing tax-efficient strategies such as maximizing contributions to pensions or ISAs, claiming eligible expenses, and reviewing investment portfolios for potential gains.

Conclusion

In conclusion, checking your tax code is a fundamental aspect of managing your finances effectively. By staying vigilant and proactive in monitoring your tax affairs, you can avoid financial losses, and legal implications, and maximize your earnings within the current tax year. Take control of your financial well-being by regularly reviewing your tax code and seeking guidance from experts like Laura Pomfret to ensure you are making the most out of your money.

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10 ways to make your Small Business Recession-proof

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In today’s volatile economic climate, it’s crucial for small businesses to be prepared for any potential downturns or recessions. The key to surviving and thriving during challenging times lies in implementing effective strategies that can recession-proof your business. By taking proactive measures and adopting smart, adaptable approaches, you can not only weather the storm but also position your small business for long-term success.

In this article, we will explore ten proven strategies that can help your small business navigate through a recession and emerge stronger on the other side. So let’s dive in and discover how you can recession-proof your business and safeguard its future.

  1. Diversify your products or services: Consider expanding your offerings to appeal to a wider audience or to cater to changing market demands. This can help you stay resilient during economic downturns.
  2. Focus on customer retention: Cultivate strong relationships with your existing customers by providing exceptional service and personalized experiences. Loyal customers are more likely to stick with you even in tough times, boosting your sales and revenue.
  3. Embrace innovation and technology: Stay ahead of the curve by embracing new technologies and innovative solutions that can streamline your operations, boost efficiency, and differentiate your business from competitors.
  4. Build a robust online presence: In today’s digital world, having a strong online presence is vital. Invest in a user-friendly website, optimize it for search engines, and engage with your audience through social media platforms to increase brand visibility and attract new customers.
  5. Develop a contingency plan: Prepare for unforeseen circumstances by creating a contingency plan that outlines steps to be taken in the event of a recession or economic slowdown. This will help you react swiftly and make informed decisions to protect your business.
  6. Monitor and manage your finances: Stay on top of your financials by regularly reviewing your budget, cutting unnecessary expenses, and optimizing cash flow. Consider working with a financial advisor to gain insights and ensure your business remains financially stable.
  7. Foster a strong company culture: Nurture a positive work environment that motivates and retains talented employees. A united and passionate team can help navigate difficult times and find innovative solutions to challenges.
  8. Explore new markets: Look for opportunities to expand your customer base by exploring new markets or geographical areas. Conduct market research to identify niche markets or untapped segments that align with your business offerings.
  9. Collaborate with other businesses: Seek mutually beneficial partnerships with complementary businesses in your industry. By pooling resources and expertise, you can create innovative solutions, share marketing efforts, and expand your customer reach.
  10. Stay informed and adapt quickly: Keep a close eye on market trends, industry news, and economic indicators. By staying informed, you can anticipate changes, proactively adapt your business strategies, and seize new opportunities that arise during challenging times.

Conclusion

In order to recession-proof your small business, it is important to diversify your product offerings, build strong customer relationships, practice effective financial management, embrace technology and innovation, and foster a positive company culture. By implementing these strategies, you can create a stable foundation and position your business for long-term success.

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Finance

Budget deficit to balloon to Rs5.6tr in FY22, says Miftah as he slams PTI’s economic policies

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Miftah Ismail, also a former finance minister, on Tuesday informed Pakistan’s budget deficit will hit Rs5,600 billion at the end of the ongoing fiscal year, a record high level, as he slammed economic policies of the ousted government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Addressing a press conference at his residence, Miftah – a key member of the PML-N whose president, Shehbaz Sharif, was elected the country’s prime minister on Monday after the ouster of Imran Khan – said the previous government informed us that the country would face a deficit of around Rs4,000 billion.

“However, this deficit will balloon to Rs5,600 billion, which is by far the highest deficit in Pakistan’s history,” said Miftah, who served as finance minister during 2018.

“If we add the Rs800 billion in supplementary grants, the deficit ends up at Rs6,400 billion,” he said, adding that out of Rs800 billion, Rs220 billion alone needs to be given to Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) while another Rs80 billion needs to be disbursed to Gencos to keep them afloat.

Tackling economic issues is one of the main, and most urgent, responsibility of the incoming government, as the South Asian country’s economy faces a number of issues on multiple fronts including a rising inflation rate and depleting foreign exchange reserves.

Terming the Rs373-billion relief package announced by then Prime Minister Imran Khan as a “landmine left for the newly formed government of Shehbaz Sharif”, Miftah said that PTI officials wrongly said that the package could be financed by the government.

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has not agreed on the said package, and we would have to renew negotiations with the international lender,” said Miftah.

Rejecting claims, Miftah said that the previous government never achieved a primary surplus.

The PML-N leader added that Pakistan’s trade deficit is expected to hit $45 billion this fiscal year, which is a record.

“Pakistan imports are going to hit a record $75 billion, whereas the country’s exports will reach $30 billion,” he said.

Miftah said that due to the rising current account deficit, foreign exchange reserves are declining. “Last month alone, forex reserves declined by $5 billion, which is the largest single decrease in foreign exchange reserves in the history of Pakistan,” said Miftah.

“Our government’s top priority is to stabilise and increase the foreign exchange reserves,” he said.

Miftah said that in the coming fiscal year Pakistan needs to make payments of $30 billion, for which it is important to take the IMF on board.

Praising announcements made by Prime Minister Shehbaz, Miftah had earlier said that his government increased the pension of pensioners by 10% immediately, and also raised the minimum wage to Rs25,000.

Miftah added that markets reacted positively to Shehbaz Sharif’s ascent to the PM House, as the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) posted massive gains, whereas the dollar, which was trading at 190 just days ago, has gone down to 182 against the rupee.

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