Issue 34

Budget Study Centre   Issue 34
Feb 21, 2019


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Pakistan, IMF likely to conclude talks by April

The Pakistan Today (Feb 21, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are likely to conclude talks with regard to the bailout package by April 2019. According to sources, the ongoing talks would be concluded by the mid of April before the spring meetings of the World Bank Group and the IMF, scheduled to be held in Washington from April 12-14, 2019. On the sidelines of the said meetings, IMF officials and Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar would finalize the programme, which was… Read More

Budget deficit hits six-year high at Rs 1.03tr

The Express Tribune (Feb 21, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: The budget deficit hit a six-year high at Rs1.03 trillion, or 2.7% of the total size of national economy, in first half of the current fiscal year due to a double-digit growth in defence and debt spending, and negligible improvement in revenues. The budget deficit in the first half of FY19, when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) came to power, was worse than the deficits recorded in the July-December period of previous years, when Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz… Read More

PM directs FBR to tight noose around big tax dodgers

Express Tribune (Feb 20, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday ordered the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to flex its muscles against big tax evaders and make them cough nearly Rs200 billion in the next four months amid his annoyance over the poor show of the tax machinery. The PM also directed to present a new Whistleblowers Bill next month to reward people who help nab corrupt officials and politicians…Read More

Business community presents joint proposals on budget 2019-20

The Pakistan Today (Feb 20, 2019)

LAHORE: Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Almas Hyder, on behalf of the business community, presented a set of joint proposals regarding Federal Budget 2019-20 to Finance Minister Asad Umar. LCCI President Almas Hyder was heading a delegation comprising chamber presidents of Khanewal, Kohat, Gujrat, Azad Jammu Kashmir, Gujranwala, Mohmand Agency and Haripur, and representatives of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of…Read More

Pakistan to receive $21 billion investment from Saudi Arabia over next five years

The Pakistan Today (Feb 19, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: The Petroleum Division on Monday disclosed Saudi Arabia has committed to invest around $21 billion in Pakistan over a duration of the next two to five years. As per details shared by the Petroleum Division, Saudi Arabia is set to invest around $7 billion in the short-term, utilizing $4 billion to purchase two LNG-fired power plants established by the previous administration in Punjab which will be privatized via open bidding, reports an English daily…Read More

Market watch: Profit-taking drags down KSE-100 40,000 points

The Express Tribune (Feb 19, 2019)

KARACHI: The stock market lost ground for the fifth successive session on Tuesday as institutions resorted to profit-taking, which pushed benchmark index below the 40,000-point mark. After staying positive briefly, the KSE-100 index kicked off a negative run due to dismal data of foreign direct investment (FDI), which stood at just $1.45 billion for July-January FY19, down 17% on a year-on-year basis, and concern over deteriorating Pakistan-India ties…Read More

Rs 319.3bn released under PSDP 2018-19

The Pakistan Today (Feb 18, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has released Rs319.3 billion against the total allocation of Rs675 billion under its Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2018-19 for various ongoing and new schemes. The released funds include Rs136.9 billion for federal ministries, Rs137.231 billion for corporations, and Rs25.963 billion for special areas, according to latest data released by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform. Out of these allocations, the…Read More

Saudi minister calls for increasing Pak-KSA bilateral trade

The Pakistan Today (Feb 18, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabian Minister for Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qassabi on Monday said that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan could jointly deal with the challenges faced by both the countries. “Pak-Saudi relations are moving in a new and positive direction and strategic relations between both the brotherly countries are of paramount importance to the region,” Majid Al-Qassabi said while addressing the Pak-Saudi Business Conference in Islamabad along with …Read More

Vision 2030of Saudi Arabia opportunities for Pakistan

Daily Times (Feb 17, 2019)

Last decade observed miracle changes in economic and governance systems in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). For the first time KSA appointed a young and dynamic leader Muhammad Bin Salman as the crown prince. The Crown Prince, is member of the next generation in the royal family who is trying to revolutionize the governance and economic system of KSA. He believes in opening up of the society, culture of entertainment and sports but with strict Islamic values, morals… Read More

Saudi refinery to reduce oil import bill by $1.2b: petroleum minister

The Express Tribune (Feb 16, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia has no concerns about the security situation in Balochistan where it plans to invest billions of dollars in refinery, minerals and renewable sectors, said Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan. “The security situation in Pakistan has improved a lot and therefore different countries are interested to make multibillion dollars investment. Saudi Arabia is going to invest over $10 billion in setting up an oil refinery and…Read More

Rupee strengthens against dollar

The Express Tribune (Feb 15, 2019)

KARACHI: The rupee strengthened against the dollar at Rs138.65/Rs139.15 in the inter-bank market on Thursday compared with Wednesday’s close of Rs138.85/Rs139.35, according to Last year in November, the rupee fell to an all-time low at Rs144 against the dollar in intra-day trading before recovering to Rs139.05 in the sixth round of devaluation since December 2017. Cumulatively, the rupee has lost 31.8% of its value in the last 13
Read More

Debt servicing estimated to cross Rs2trln in FY 2019

The News (Feb 15, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Debt servicing on both local and foreign loans is estimated to surpass two trillion rupees during the current fiscal year of 2018/19 compared with the annual target as monetary tightening was dubbed as one of the reasons of rise in cost of borrowing, sources said on Thursday. The sources said the debt servicing, which has already become the largest ticket item on expenditures side, is all set to cross the two trillion rupees mark during the current ….Read More

Budget bill, Chinese intransigence and retail sales numbers hit stocks Thursday (Feb 14, 2019)

WASHINGTON. As we noted in Wednesday’s article, the market has been a lot of fun for the bulls lately. But we noted the party couldn’t go on forever, as much as the bulls might wish it so. Today, Thursday, we’re getting at least some payback. Futures indicated another great day for the bulls was at hand. But once the market actually opened, stocks dropped like a rock. The government’s pending budget bill finale and Chinese intransigence in bilateral trade negotiations are blamed…Read More

Senate body irks over cut in MoIT development budget

Business Recorder (Feb 14, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication on Thursday expressed displeasure over the cut in the ministry’s development budget and stressed to restore the funds to its original allocation. Senator Robina Khalid chaired the committee, which met here at the Parliament House. The Senate body meeting was attended by Senator Abdul Rehman Malik, Senator Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Senator Tahir…Read More

US posts $14 billion budget deficit as revenues sag after Trump tax cuts (Feb 13, 2019)

The U.S. federal government ran a $14 billion budget deficit in December as revenues sagged following last year’s tax cuts even as the economy appeared strong, Treasury Department data showed on Wednesday. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected an $11 billion deficit for the month and the gap was the latest sign of deterioration in the government’s fiscal position. A strong U.S. job market has appeared to power economic growth this year, an…Read More

Pakistan expects 8 investment deals during Saudi prince’s visit (Feb 13, 2019)

ISLAMABAD, Feb 13 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia will announce eight investment agreements during a visit to Pakistan by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, officials said on Wednesday, a trip that is expected to set the seal on growing closeness between the historic allies. The investment is welcome in Pakistan, which is facing sharply slowing economic growth this year, a ballooning budget deficit and foreign currency reserves dwindling to less than $8 billion or two months’ of…Read More

Moody’s assigns negative outlook to Pakistani banks

The Express Tribune (Feb 12, 2019)

KARACHI: Moody’s, one of the top three global rating agencies, has assigned a ‘negative’ outlook to Pakistan-based banks due to economic slowdown and the banks’ higher investment in sovereign securities’ papers of the government. “Our outlook for Pakistan’s banking system is negative,” Moody’s Investors Service said in a research publication on Monday. “A slowing economy and high exposure to sovereign debt drive our negative …Read More

Pak-IMF differences still exist

The News (Feb 12, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Differences still persist over adjustment programme between Pakistan and the IMF as Islamabad wants to adopt staggered approach on raising discount and energy rates and taking additional revenue measures to curtail the budget deficit but the Fund insists upon taking major steps through prior actions. Top official sources confirmed to The News in background discussions that IMF wanted frontloaded programme where the PTI-led government…Read More

Income boost for farmers in Interim Budget: Who will be the beneficiaries & how much will it cost the exchequer

The News (Feb 11, 2019)

Income support for farmers announced in the Interim Budget and opposition Congress’ promise of a minimum income guarantee to the poor if voted to power has revived discussions over providing Indians with Universal Basic Income. Since neither the ruling NDA nor the Congress has proposed a truly universal scheme, who will be the beneficiaries and how much will it cost the exchequer? …Read More

What IMF expects from Pakistan

The News (Feb 11, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund have almost agreed on a programme for a period of three years and agreement in this regard is likely to be inked in June before or soon after budget 2019-20, The News reliably learnt on Sunday. Further details of the agreement finalised will not be made public till the agreement is signed. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan promised to support Pakistan’s…Read More

Saudi Arabia’s oil investments could be lifeline for Pakistan’s economy

The Gulf News (Feb 10, 2019)

A record investment package being prepared by Saudi Arabia for Pakistan will likely provide welcome relief for its cash-strapped Muslim ally, while also addressing regional geopolitical challenges, analysts say. At the heart of the investment is a reported $10 billion refinery and oil complex in the strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea, the ultimate destination for the massive multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which lies not far from the Indo-Iranian…Read More

IMF assures Pakistan of support in shoring up economy

The Express Tribune (Feb 10, 2019)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Christine Lagarde on Sunday said the organisation was ready to support Pakistan in its efforts to shore up the crippling economy. She said this in a statement issued after her meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of 7th World Government Summit in Dubai…Read More

Pakistan ranked 131st freest economy, receives freedom score of 55: Report

The Pakistan Today (Feb 09, 2019)

LAHORE: A 2019 Index of Economic Freedom report has given Pakistan an economic freedom score of 55.6, up by 0.5 points and ranking it as the 131st freest in the index released this year. According to the report, the country’s overall score has risen by 0.6 points, with increased scores for judicial effectiveness and property rights outmatching declines in monetary freedom and fiscal health. It added Pakistan was ranked 32nd amongst 43 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and its overall…Read More

Only Rs 4.5b Haj subsidy withdrawn from 230b to other sectors

The News (Feb 09, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: The federal government is paying almost Rs230 billion annual subsidy to private and public sectors but has withdrawn the financial assistance of Rs4.5 billion for religious ritual of Haj only. Besides, the government is paying another Rs55 billion subsidies and grants to Pakistan Railways, wheat subsidy to Gilgit-Baltistan and to other sectors. In total, the government is paying Rs 230 billion subsidy to different government departments/institutions as well as private …Read More

‘Saudi investment highlights trust in Pakistan’s economy’

The Express Tribune (Feb 08, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Saudi investment in different sectors depicts the trust of Saudi Arabia’s leadership and investors in Pakistan’s economy, said Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani. During a meeting with Saudi Arabia Ambassador Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki on Thursday, he pointed out that trade, economic and investment ties would help lift bilateral cooperation to new heights in the days to come. Sanjrani expressed hope that the upcoming visit…Read More

Economy in shambles but Pakistan wants to increase its defence budget

The ZEE NEWS (Feb 08, 2019)

Pakistan’s economy is in a shambolic state but the country is looking at ways to increase its defence budget instead of reducing it to address more pressing problems. Speaking to members of the local press, the country’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry said that Pakistan cannot afford to make cuts in its defence budget because it was already on the lower side when compared to South Asian neighbours. “The country’s defence budget is already low as …Read More