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Halt Iranian oil imports or invite sanctions: US to India

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Department of State

Washington, June 27: The United States has warned all countries including India to stop importing oil from Iran by November otherwise they will be subjected to sanctions.

The senior US State Department official ruled out any exemption for India and Indian companies and said the Donald Trump administration has asked its allies to stop all their oil imports from Iran by November 4.”

Ruling out granting waivers to any country including China and India, the official said that “On China and India, yes, certainly,” the US at present was “not granting waivers” to any country which was in business with Iran.

The State Department asserted that there would be no waivers under the new sanctions regime. “I would be hesitant to say ‘zero waivers ever’. I think the predisposition would be, ‘No, we’re not granting waivers’,” the official said.

When asked how related countries responded, the official said that there was “some kind of effect achieved”.

Companies of India  and China will be subject to the same sanctions like as any other country regardless of the fact that Beijing and New Delhi are the major importers of Iranian oil.

Following Trump’s decision to quit the historic Iran nuclear pact on May 8, the US vowed to re-impose sanctions lifted under the accord against Tehran and inflict punishments like secondary sanctions on nations that have business links with them.Sanctions imposed will be the same sanctions imposed prior to 2015

 

Firms that were doing business in Iran were given up to 180 days to wind up investments. Otherwise, they risk huge fines.

Washington’s withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear deal was widely criticised and some of its major European allies have been working to prevent the 2015 deal from falling apart.

A senior official from Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on June 23 that European countries will soon offer a package to protect Iran’s interests in accordance with the 2015 deal, official IRNA news agency reported.

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Govt caught ‘Karo Na’ virus: Congress makes jibe on economy

The Congress alleged that the BJP government is ignoring all the alarming econmic indicators.

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Randeep Surjewala

New Delhi, Feb 28 : The Congress once again took a jibe on the government, saying that under it, the economy has got infected by “Karo Na” (Don’t do anything) virus.

In a statement, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said “The latest GDP numbers reflect that “Karo-na” (Don’t do anything) virus has plagued the functioning of the BJP government.”

“The economy is in shambles, stagflation is there, every indicator of economy is showing a downward trend, yet the government continues to function as an ostrich.”

The Congress alleged that the BJP government is ignoring all the alarming econmic indicators.

To bolster his claim, Surjewala shared the figures of the quarter, saying: “The GDP in the third quarter i.e. December 2019 was recorded to be 4.7 per cent and GVA was at 4.5 per cent.”

Another spokesperson Gaurav Ballabh, a professor in a management college, said, “Manufacturing growth is minus 0.2 per cent (during Q3) which clearly indicates that there’s no improvement in the demand.”

He also gave example of the real estate sector as he said that it is at an all time high stress with more than 12 lakh units lying unsold and there are no signs of revival as of now.

The party said the demand and consumption sentiments are still low despite so-called stimulus by the government in September 2019 and the Budget 2020-21 which shows that the government is not concerned.

Exports are significantly low and industries are under stress which is clearly visible in the umemployment rate. The government is doing nothing to stop this unabted risk in the country, the party said.

The economy is in a huge risk as capital formation is at a negative of 5.2 per cent clearly indicating that there’s no positive outlook for investments.

“Does government wants to manage the numbers through unclear revisions? Why aren’t they coming out with the truth? It’s not the 20 basis point improvement, which will improve the sentiments, rather action should be taken with right intent,” said Surjewala.

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Pakistan’s economy shows positive indicators: PM’s Office

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Imran Khan Pakistan PM

Islamabad, Feb 28 : Pakistan’s economic indicators are seeing a constant improvement due to efforts made by the current government to overcome the serious economic challenges, the Prime Minister’s Office said on Friday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, chairing a meeting of his economic team, expressed satisfaction over the improvement in all sectors, adding that his government is making efforts to bring a trickle-down effect of the improving economy on general public and in this regard steps are being taken to provide relief to low income and salaried class of the country, Xinhua reported.

He also directed the economic team to keep the public updated about the positive indicators of the economy in a bid to win the confidence of the local businessman to invest in the country.

Earlier this month, the prime minister approved subsidy of Pakistani Rs 10 billion ($65 million) on five essential food items for controlling rampant inflation in the country.

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DoT panel needs more data for deciding on AGR relief

Airtel has AGR dues of Rs 35,500 core, Tata Teleservices has said it has submitted Rs 2,197 crore as full and final amount against an AGR order of Rs 14, 829 crore. Airtel and VIL are yet to submit self-assessment numbers of AGR.

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Mobile tower

New Delhi, Feb 28 : Digital Communications Commission (DCC), the interministerial panel of Telecom Ministry, on Friday did not take any decision on possible relief to the financially distressed telecom sector with officials saying more data are required for reconciliation of AGR numbers, dashing the hopes of telcos, especially Vodafone Idea.

The DCC meeting that lasted two hours will be held again in the coming days, sources said.

No decision has been taken on any relief to the telecom companies, sources said, adding, the department needs more data, and that there will be more meetings and reconciliation of AGR figures.

Secretaries in the Ministries of Finance (DEA), Commerce, and Electronics and IT, as well as CEO of NITI Aayog, are the members of DCC. Vodafone Idea, the worst hit telco with Rs 53,000 crore AGR dues, has told the government that it would not be able to pay the dues unless state support is extended to it to survive the crisis.

While the rationale behind giving any relief to the telcos is that government wants to avoid a duopoly situation in the event Vodafone Idea is forced to shut operations, it is also in a bind over implementation of the Supreme Court order which directs DoT to recover the dues.

DoT is examining the COAI and Vodafone Idea proposals and waiting for the self-assessment numbers of the telcos to come to it. Once the department has an idea how much the telcos’ calculations are and reconcile with its own demands, the picture will be a little clear about payment.

One option is upfront payment of the entire principal amount on licence fee and spectrum usage charges and 50% of the interest, penalty and interest on penalty. The rest could be paid over four years with interest.

The other option is once DoT gets the self-assessment figures of the telcos, it may ask them to pay that amount immediately and the gap between the DoT and telcos could be a staggered payment after reconciliation of both figures over 4 to 5 years, said sources.

Both the options seek some payment first then any relief to the telcos on the remaining amount payment.

Airtel has AGR dues of Rs 35,500 core, Tata Teleservices has said it has submitted Rs 2,197 crore as full and final amount against an AGR order of Rs 14, 829 crore. Airtel and VIL are yet to submit self-assessment numbers of AGR.

The government is also said to be considering, among others, setting up a stress fund for telcos to draw from and pay off AGR dues and repay on easy terms, besides deferment of licence fees and spectrum usage charge (SUC) for a substantial period to free up cash flows.

Airtel has paid Rs 10,000 crore and VIL has paid Rs 3,500 crore as AGR dues.

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