Issue 30

Budget Study Centre   Issue 30
Dec 20, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

SBP reserves surge 10.85pc stand at & 8.05bn

The Pakistan Today (Dec 20, 2018)

The foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank increased by 10.85pc WoW, breaking a two-week losing streak, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday. Earlier, the reserves had been on a downward spiral for 14 successive weeks but financial assistance from Saudi Arabia provided much-needed support for the fast depleting reserves. The reserves had dropped to a four-and-a-half-year low, which raised concern… Read More

Govt offers IMF Rs190b in new taxes for bailout

The Express Tribune (Dec 20, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has offered the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to impose Rs190 billion worth of additional taxes to restrict budget deficit to Rs2.2 trillion and to further increase interest rates and devalue currency to increase foreign exchange reserves to $13 billion. These aggressive policy measures have potential to stifle economic growth rate, slowing its pace to only 3.9% in this fiscal year and stoking inflation. A major inflationary measure will be increase in… Read More

Information Minister says economy is biggest challenge

The Express Tribune (Dec 19, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government inherited a fragile economy, therefore stabilising it remains the key focus of the current government for ensuring sustainable growth, said Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain. Addressing the business community at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), he said, “The government is facing no challenge on the political front, however…Read More

Govt. considering another ‘mini budget’ in Jan 2019

The Pakistan Today (Dec 19, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar on Wednesday said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is likely to introduce another ‘mini-budget’ to address the economic challenges facing the country. In his briefing to the Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance, Umar said the government was mulling over bringing another supplementary budget in January 2019, but no final decision has been made as yet.
“An increase in taxes had been proposed but…Read More

Saudi 2019 budget boosts spending in bid to spur sluggish economy

The Bizenglish (Dec 18, 2018)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia plans to increase state spending by more than seven percent next year in an effort to spur economic growth, which has been hurt by low oil prices, according to a 2019 budget released by the finance ministry on Tuesday. Spending is projected to rise to 1.106 trillion riyals ($295 billion) next year, up from an actual 1.030 trillion riyals this year, Saudi state television quoted the budget as saying…Read More

Sri Lanka new government to present full budget in January 2019: Eran Wickramaratne

The Bizenglish (Dec 18, 2018)

Sri Lanka’s new government lead by United National Party will present a full year budget to parliament in January 2019 and with the expectation of passing it in February 2019, Eran Wickremeratne told reporters recently. “We need 7 days debate and committee stage debate which requires 26 days,” Wickramaratne said adding that there will be a disciplined administration. However he also told reporters that an interim budget will also be presented after a new cabinet of ministers is…Read More

Budget allocation for health increased to two percent: President Alvi

The Belta 100 (Dec 17, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi on Monday said that budget allocation for health has been increased to 2% from the current 0.9% of the GDP towards the attainment of Universal Health Care (UHC) and sustainable development health related goals. Talking to Regional Director, World Health Organization Dr. Ahmed Salim Saif Al-Mandhari and Regional Director, UNICEF SEARO Ms. Jean Gough, who called on him in Islamabad, Arif Alvi said that increase in the spending on social sector…Read More

Pakistan submits Chinese package details to IMF: Asad Umar

The Belta 100 (Dec 17, 2018)

Finance Minister Asad Umar on Monday stated that Pakistan has formally submitted details of the Chinese package to the International Monetary Fund, Express News reported. While talking to the media aboard a flight from Karachi to Islamabad, the finance minister apprised State Bank of Pakistan’s monetary and fiscal policies and stressed that the supplementary budget will help improve fiscal deficit. He further said that the government…Read More

Budgetary process lack citizen participation

Daily The Patriot (Dec 16, 2018)

Jhang: The budget study report revealed transparency and citizen’s participation in the budget-making process was found lacking at the district level in Punjab. Budget Call letters were delayed; consultation with relevant stake holders not held, only five districts had functional websites and 116 posts remained vacant in district budget branches while in 1 district, finance officer seat remained vacant during last fiscal year. CPDI demands adherence to the “Punjab Local… Read More

Ishaq Dar deplores economic policies of PTI government

The Pakistan Today (Dec 16, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Former finance minister Ishaq Dar lamented the economic policies of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and said that they caused major setbacks to the country’s stock exchange network. In an interview to a private TV channel, he said that PTI’s policies also led devaluation of Pakistani rupee, which put the country under heavy economic pressures, in term of capital flow and investment. He said that the merger of stock exchanges of Karachi…Read More

Pakistan receives2nd tranche of $1b from KSA

The Nation (Dec 15, 2018)

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Friday has received the second tranche of one billion dollar from Saudi Arabia while the first tranche had already been utilised in less than one month period due to external debt servicing and other official payments. “The State Bank of Pakistan has received the second tranche worth one billion dollar from Saudi Arabia that would help build the declining foreign exchange reserves of the country,” said an official of the ministry of finance. He further said that…Read More

Govt. may introduce another mini-budget to address economic woes

The Pakistan Today (Dec 15, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: As the incumbent government is facing severe economic issues, it is likely that another supplementary budget would be introduced soon through a financial bill, sources revealed on Saturday. According to sources, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is making arrangements to introduce another mini-budget that would be aimed at meeting the conditions of International Monitory Fund (IMF), the constitution of Sarmaya-e-Pakistan and removal of the…Read More

FY 2018-19: Govt. approves Rs38.39bn budget for LDA, WASA, TEPA

The Pakistan Times (Dec 14, 2018)

LAHORE: A budget to the tune of Rs38.39 billion for the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) and Traffic, Engineering and Planning Agency (TEPA) for the fiscal year 2018-19 was approved on Friday. A meeting of LDA’s governing body, chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, approved the budget whereas more than Rs20 billion out of the total budget was allocated for the development works…Read More

FATF compliance: Govt launches crackdown against money laundering facilitators

The Pakistan Today (Dec 14, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: In a major operation against money laundering facilitators, the federal government has launched a countrywide crackdown against officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Pakistan Customs, Anti-Narcotic Force (ANF) and other relevant departments. According to sources, the government has launched a massive crackdown against elements involved in money laundering, terror financing and capital flight from Pakistan…Read More

Tight monetary, fiscal policies add to public debt: EAC member

The Express Tribune (Dec 13, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Owing to discord among economists regarding the new exchange rate policy, a key member of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) distanced himself from fiscal and monetary policies on Wednesday and termed them self-defeating. “The tight monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policies are piling up public debt and impeding economic growth,” remarked EAC member Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan. He was speaking at the 34th annual general meeting …Read More

SBP reserves shrink by $242m, stand at $7.2bn

The Pakistan Today (Dec 13, 2018)

The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $13.7 billion on December 7, 2018. According to a statement issued by the central bank, the country’s foreign reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan stood at $7.2 billion, while net foreign reserves held by commercial banks stood at $6.4 billion. During the week under review, SBP’s reserves decreased by $242 million to $7.2 billion owing to external debt servicing and other official payments…Read More

Trade deficit slightly contracts to $14.5b in five months

The Express Tribune (Dec 12, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: The government’s desire to make a big dent on last year’s $37.6-billion trade deficit is likely to remain unfulfilled as the deficit marginally contracted to $14.5 billion in first five months of the current year after the growth in exports tapered off. The trade deficit in July-November of fiscal year 2018-19 shrank on the back of almost flat growth in imports, showed the figures released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The $14.5-billion deficit in Jul-Nov FY19 was…Read More

Russia 2018 budget surplus to be close to 3% of GDP-Minister

The Financial Times (Dec 12, 2018)

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Russia’s budget surplus this year will be close to 3 per cent of GDP, the country’s economy minister has said, higher than the official forecast thanks to strong oil revenues…Read More

Over$15b being remitted through illegal channel

The Express Tribune (Dec 11, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: In order to increase foreign exchange reserves, the government plans to strengthen banking channels to convince Pakistani expatriates to send remittances through legal means, and ultimately discourage other means of transmission.
Currently, more than $15 billion are being remitted through the Hundi system, which is the main impediment to the growth of gross domestic product (GDP). Pakistani expatriates…Read More

Govt on track to streamline dwindling economy: Asad Umar

The Pakistan Today (Dec 11, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: With a focus to reach out to the poor, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, despite inheriting worst financial and current account crisis, has taken major policy initiatives for financial discipline and long-term socioeconomic development. After inheriting deteriorating macroeconomic indicators, the PTI government remained successful in straight-lining the key financial areas including taxation, governance…Read More

Govt to unveil new economic roadmap: PM

The Express Tribune (Dec 10, 2018)

KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday announced launching a new economic roadmap envisaging a strategy to overcome challenges and reset the country on the path to progress in the next six to nine months. The prime minister was on a day-long visit to the provincial metropolis during which he met representatives of the business community, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and provincial…Read More

CPDI Launches ‘Study of Budget Making Process at District level in Balochistan’

Daily Asia Today (Dec 10, 2018)

Chammen: Transparency and citizen participation in budget making process found lacking at district level in Balochistan Chamman. Budget call letters delayed, budget time line is not followed properly, none of the 20 surveyed districts have involved the general public and the stockholders in budget making. Only 4 districts issued pre-budget statements where the copy was not present for the public, none of the district has a functional website …Read More

Rupee could easily settle at 150 in next six months

The Express Tribune (Dec 09, 2018)

KARACHI: “If you have to determine a level where the rupee might settle against the US dollar, 150 is a very easy target you can see in the next six months,” remarked Alfalah GHP Chief Executive Maheen Rahman. She was addressing a seminar on “Pakistan’s Economy: Yet Another New Start” at the IBA ThinkFest on Saturday. Rahman said that there is no real level that can be fixed for the Pakistani currency, which has depreciated nearly 31% in the past 11 months…Read More

FBR recommends new taxes to bridge shortfall

The Dawn (Dec 09, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: After dealing with the external sector deficit, the government’s attention is now being drawn to a growing shortfall in tax revenues that is beginning to bite. In the first five months of the fiscal year, a shortfall of approximately Rs102 billion has been recorded in revenue collection, and this week officials from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) gave a briefing to the prime minister about the situation, with suggestions on how the shortfall can be reduced in coming months…Read More

PTI decreases Punjab development budget, increases KP’s by 11%

Urdu Point (Dec 08, 2018)

Lahore (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 8th December, 2018) The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has cut the developmental budget of Punjab by half. About 54 percent less amount was spent on the developmental projects in Punjab this fiscal year as compared to last year. On the other hand, the developmental expenditures of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) were increased by 11 percent. According to the Ministry of Finance, the developmental…Read More

Request for increase in health budget tabled to PM

The News (Dec 08, 2018)

Islamabad: While pledging transformational changes in the health sector, particularly in public sector hospitals where patients are generally denied appropriate attention, treatment and respect, Minister for Health Aamer Mehmood Kiani claimed having tabled a request to the Prime Minister for increasing the country’s health budget to 2 per cent of the GDP in the next budget. Addressing a symposium on ‘Transforming Health Care’ here at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences …Read More

China should tolerate bigger budget deficit in 2019 to boost economy: State media

The Reuters (Dec 07, 2018)

BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese government should slow its deleveraging drive and tolerate a bigger budget deficit next year to support the economy as downward pressure sharply increases, a state-controlled newspaper said on Friday. A China yuan note is seen in this illustration photo May 31, 2017. As an effort to steady rising debt levels after years of credit-fuelled investment, China cut its annual budget deficit target this year – a first since 2012 – to 2.6 percent of gross domestic…Read More

Call for citizen’s participation in budget making process

The Dawn (Dec 07, 2018)

SHANGLA: Participants of a seminar held here the other day called for transparency and citizens’ participation in budget-making process at the district level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.The seminar titled ‘district government budget rules 2016’ was organised by Centre for Peace and Development Initiative (CPDI) in Bisham, which was attended by members of local government, social activists and village council secretaries. “The first draft of the district budget should be presented in April…Read More