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Global

SAN FRANCISCO/DUBAI (Reuters) – Global ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc will spend $3.1 billion to acquire Middle East rival Careem, buying dominance in a competitive region ahead of a hotly anticipated initial public offering.

 

Uber said late on Monday night it would pay $1.4 billion in cash and $1.7 billion in convertible notes in a deal that gives it full ownership of Careem. The long-expected agreement ends more than nine months of start-and-stop negotiations between the two companies and hands Uber a much-needed victory after a series of overseas divestments.

The notes will be convertible into Uber shares at a price equal to $55 apiece, Uber said, marking a nearly 13 percent increase over Uber’s share price in its last financing round, led by SoftBank Group Corp more than a year ago.

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Taxation
Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan Tuesday said that the FBR will assess the number of sales tax refund claimants, who have chosen the option to avail sales tax refunds through bonds.

On the conclusion of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting here at the Parliament House on Tuesday, he told Business Recorder that under the first phase, refund claimants have applied to the FBR for sales tax refund bonds. Those who have chosen for the option by March 25 would be issued bonds. The remaining would be issued bonds in the next phase. The refund payment through promissory notes will commence by April 2019.
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Taxation
A parliamentary panel has directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to bring about practical reforms in the organisation, saying current dubious system is not serving the national interests. The subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) met here with MNA Syed Naveed Qamar in the chair Tuesday. While taking up the audit paras of the FBR for the year 2016-17, the panel observed that there were many loopholes not only in the policy but also in its implementation.

The panel directed the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) to direct all the field audit officials to carry out audit of all the entities on transparency, fairness and unbiased basis, as during the discussion and review, it has been observed that some audit paras are mala fide ones.

The panel gave these remarks after undertaking an audit para wherein it has been reported that a loss of Rs 11.88 billion in revenue incurred due to non-imposition of fine and penalty to importers and exporters.

The director general (DG) AGP told the panel that the said para is seemingly mala fide and the AGP is taking up the issue with the officers who conducted the audit. The DG said that of Rs 11.88 billion, an amount of Rs 10.47 billion was settled in the Departmental Accounts Committee (DAC) of the FBR as it was established that the amount was not due.The committee further directed the DG audit to investigate all such audit paras wherein any mala fide intention is emerging and take serious action against the officials concerned.

Member Committee Hina Rabbani Khar said seemingly the matters are not going smoothly in any of the public sector department and there is a dire need to fix and reform every department. The FBR chairman said that department has drafted a reforms policy which will be followed after getting approval from the competent authority.

Rabbani observed if the FBR officials start collecting taxes honestly, the country will not need to consult with the global lending organisations like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and others. She further said that half of the amount collected on account of various taxes goes directly into the pockets of the tax collecting authorities, so bringing a simple but transparent tax system is need of the hour.

The DG audit also requested the committee to direct the Ministry of Finance for the release of budgetary amount required to conduct revenue related audit of the FBR as after the passage of five year as per law, the department could not carry out the audit. The DG further said that on expenditure side audit of any period can be carried out at anytime of any period but on revenue side there is five years time limit.

The committee on the appeal of the AGP directed the Ministry of Finance to release required funds to the audit department so that timely audit of under discussion department can be carried out.
The committee also directed the FBR and AGP to not rely on the courts for the recovery of outstanding amounts against various departments, entities, businessmen and others as the court cases are only delaying the recovery of amount.

The panel further asked the FBR to treat every citizen of Pakistan equally by eliminating all kinds of discrimination at all the levels, saying it has been observed that those having strong connections manage to get benefits while those don’t are even unable to get their due rights. The chairman committee directed the AGP and FBR to hold a DAC on the pending audit paras and bring the report to the committee within a month with clarity.
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Global

Credit and debit card transactions in Brazil are likely to grow 16 percent in 2019, reaching 1.8 trillion reais ($465 billion), industry group Abecs said on Tuesday in a statement.

In 2018, card transactions went up 14.5 percent, as more Brazilians used cards instead of cash to pay for goods and services.

Abecs said card transactions are expected to reach 40 percent of Brazilian families’ consumption in 2019, up roughly 2 percentage points from the last three months of 2018

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