FLASHNEWS:

Salt Exporters in Pakistan Face Liquidity Crisis Due to Delayed Tax RefundsWorld Bank Considers $72 Million Additional Financing for Sindh Barrages Improvement Project

Karachi, The Salt Manufacturers Association of Pakistan has raised alarms over the severe liquidity crisis facing the salt export industry, attributed to prolonged delays in the release of sales tax refunds. The association's chairman, Qasim Yaqoob Paracha, highlighted that millions of dollars in refunds are stuck, exacerbating cash flow issues and further straining the industry under the current economic conditions.

According to Salt Manufacturers Association of Pakistan, the delays in refund payments have placed the salt exporters in a precarious position, threatening their operational viability and the industry's competitive edge on the global stage. The rising cost of capital, coupled with liquidity constraints, is impeding the growth prospects of an industry pivotal to Pakistan's economy.

Mr. Paracha urgently called on authorities to expedite the processing and release of these critical funds. The swift action is deemed essential not only for restoring the financial health of the sector but also for safeguarding its contribution to the national economy through continued international trade.

The salt export industry, a significant player in Pakistan's export portfolio, now looks to the government for immediate intervention to alleviate the financial distress caused by the withheld sales tax refunds.

Islamabad, The World Bank is contemplating an additional $72 million in financing for the Sindh Barrages Improvement Project to mitigate existing funding shortfalls. This initiative aims to enhance the safety and reliability of the Guddu barrage and improve the operational and management capabilities of the Sindh Irrigation Department.

According to Zameen.Com, the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors is expected to discuss this "Second Additional Financing (AF) for the Sindh Barrages Improvement Project" shortly. The project, initially budgeted at $326.6 million, faces a $72 million shortfall, necessitating further support to meet its objectives and deadlines. The additional funds are earmarked for vital enhancements to the Guddu barrage, a critical infrastructure piece for the region's irrigation needs.

The project's funding gap arises from contractual obligations and delays, with work on the Guddu and Sukkur barrages anticipated to extend beyond the projected completion date of June 30, 2024. The World Bank and the government of Sindh are exploring solutions, including potential counterpart funding or further assistance from the International Development Association (IDA), to ensure the project's successful completion.

This development underscores the ongoing commitment to improving irrigation infrastructure in Sindh, critical for the region's agricultural productivity and water management strategies.