ADB to invest $2 billion in Pakistan’s energy sector

In this file photo, pedestrians walk past a logo of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) displayed outside its headquarters in Manila on Sept. 2, 2010. (AFP)
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Updated 12 December 2019

ADB to invest $2 billion in Pakistan’s energy sector

  • Pakistan’s energy sector is facing a cash shortfall of Rs12 billion per month, down from Rs39 billion
  • ADB is interested in facilitating technical studies for gas storage facilities

KARACHI: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) plans to invest $2 billion in Pakistan’s energy sector within the next three years, as the South Asian nation’s power supply chain is paralyzed by Rs12 billion a month in circular debt, the Ministry of Energy said in a statement.
After a Wednesday meeting with Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, the ADB’s team, headed by its director for Central and West Asia, Werner Liepach, also expressed interest in facilitating technical studies for gas storage, as Pakistan is facing a gas deficit.
The Asian lender this week released $1 billion to shore up Pakistan’s public finances and help strengthen its slowing economy, while another $300 million were released to help the government address financial sustainability, governance, and energy infrastructure policy constraints in the energy sector.
In July, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a three-year $6 billion extended fund facility (EFF) to finance the government’s economic reform program that aims to put Pakistan’s economy on the path of sustainable and inclusive growth. The bailout program is expected to catalyze at least $38 billion in financing from Pakistan’s development partners.
The ADB, Pakistan’s top energy sector partner with a $2.1 billion portfolio discussed energy sector projects with the ministry’s Power Division, and it was decided that a comprehensive portfolio review meeting will be held by the end of this month.
The ADB team was apprised of the New Renewable Energy Policy, which will be placed before Pakistan’s Council of Common Interest (CCI) in its scheduled meeting by the end of the month. The team was briefed on various steps that have been undertaken to boost the efficiency of the system and campaign against power theft, the ministry’s statement said, adding that the government’s circular debt capping plan has reduced the debt’s growth from Rs39 billion a month to Rs12 billion. 
On Dec. 6, Liepach observed that Pakistan’s “is a longstanding chronic issue ailing the country’s power sector.”
“A comprehensive and realistic Circular Debt Reduction Plan, assisted by ADB in close coordination with other development partners, is the cornerstone of this subprogram. The plan aims to drastically cut the new flows of circular debt and provides policy directions on addressing accumulated circular debt,” he said.


Apple, Google drop Fortnite from app stores over payments

Updated 14 August 2020

Apple, Google drop Fortnite from app stores over payments

  • Google said Fortnite will remain available on Android, just not through its app store
  • Apple and Google both take a 30% cut from in-app revenue purchases in games

NEW YORK: Apple and Google dropped the popular game Fortnite from their app stores after the game’s developer introduced a direct payment plan that bypasses their platforms.
Apple and Google both take a 30% cut from in-app revenue purchases in games, which has long been a sore spot with developers.
Fortnite is free, but users can pay for in game accoutrements like weapons and skins. Its developer, Epic Games, said in a blog post Thursday that it was introducing Epic Direct payments, a direct payment plan for Apple’s iOS and Google Play. Epic said the system is the same payment system it already uses to process payments on PC and Mac computers and Android phones.
Apple and Google said the service violates their guidelines.
“Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services,” Apple said in statement.
Google said Fortnite will remain available on Android, just not through its app store. Android users can download the app from other app stores, although that’s generally not an option for iPhone users.
Epic Games did not immediately return a request for comment. Epic’s Fortnite Twitter account said the company would debut a new short film called “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” a seeming parody of Apple’s iconic “1984” commercial that introduced the Macintosh computer. It has also filed a complaint against Apple in the US District Court in Northern California for dropping Fortnite.