Issue 60

Budget Study Centre   Issue 60
Feb 20, 2020


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Govt budget for social sector insufficient

The Nation (Feb 20, 2020)

KARACHI-President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said that runaway inflation has underlined the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Majority of the… Read More

EU leaders to face off in ‘very tough’ budget summit

The Pakistan Today (Feb 20, 2020)

PARIS: European Union (EU) leaders are to hold a Brussels summit Thursday to set a seven-year budget despite splits between some stingy rich nations, poorer ones wanting to preserve spending and others wanting to fund grand global ambitions. The money tussle, hard-fought at the best of times, is especially problematic this time around because of Britain’s departure from the EU… Read More

In Pakistan, FDI surges 66% to $1.56b in Jul-Jan FY20

Express Tribune (Feb 19, 2020)

KARACHI: Pakistan has recorded a notable growth in fresh foreign direct investment in projects related to oil and gas exploration, power production and mobile phone services in recent months. The growth in investment, however, remains low compared to the existing potential as investors anxiously wait for consistency in economic policies before initiating new projects in the country… Read More

Comments on Indian Direct Tax Amendments Vide Union Budget 2020-21: Pakistani Parity

The Business Recorder (Feb 19, 2020)

The Parliament of India (hereafter “the legislature”) has sought to amend provisions related to direct taxes (hereafter “the proposed amendments”) in the Income Tax Act 1961 (hereafter “the Act”), the Prohibition of Benami Transactions Act 1988, and the Finance Act 2013, by virtue of the Finance Bill 2020 (hereafter “the said Bill”). We have… Read More

In a first, MoF set to bring ‘mid-year budget review report’ before cabinet

The Pakistan Today (Feb 18, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Finance will present the country’s first-ever ‘mid-year budget review report’ during the upcoming meeting of the federal cabinet. According to sources privy to this development, the PM on Thursday would chair the cabinet meeting to deliberate upon a 16-point agenda, which included the mid-year budget review report of the fiscal year 2019-20. The parliament… Read More

New chancellor Rishi Sunak sticks to 11 March budget date

The Guardian (Feb 18, 2020)

The budget will go ahead on 11 March, the Treasury said on Tuesday, forcing the new chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to piece together a fresh tax and spending programme over the next three weeks. A delay was expected after Sunak’s predecessor, Sajid Javid, abruptly quit his job after a demand by Boris Johnson that he sack his advisers and replace them with a team jointly managed with No 10… Read More

Ups, downs and other major highlights from Trump’s 2021 budget request

The (Feb 17, 2020)

Like previous years, President Donald Trump’s most recent budget request includes many familiar cuts, eliminations and proposals for civilian agencies in 2021. The president’s request includes some $20 billion in agency program reductions and $28 billion in  program eliminations. It’s unclear how these proposed eliminations and cuts will fare in Congress, which has largely ignored… Read More

Union Budget 2020 disappoints on GST relaxation and education loan bracket, say experts

The India Today (Feb 17, 2020)

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the first budget of the year 2020 in the Lok Sabha on February 1, earmarking Rs 99,300 crore for the Education sector in 2020-21 and Rs 3,000 crore for Skill Development. It shows that the government is inclined towards skill development and creating more job opportunities for the youth of the country. Budget 2020… Read More

Singapore plans massive budget stimulus to counter virus threat

The Japan Times (Feb 16, 2020)

SINGAPORE/HONG, KONG – Singapore is set to deliver a strong budget this week to offset the damage to the economy from the coronavirus, with analysts predicting the biggest deficit in almost two decades. The fiscal gap may widen to 1.5 percent of gross domestic product in the year beginning April 1, the highest since the 1.7 percent shortfall recorded in the 2001 financial year, according… Read More

Provincial govts record budget surplus of Rs323.7b in first half

The Nation (Feb 16, 2020)

ISLAMABAڈ: The four provinces jointly provided a massive budget surplus of Rs323.7 billion to the Centre during the first half (July-December) of the ongoing financial year. The four provincial governments recorded budget surplus of Rs323.7 billion during July to December period of FY2020, as their expenditures remained at Rs1359.7 billion as compared to the revenues of Rs1683.4… Read More

India relaxes fiscal deficit, cuts taxes to spur growth

The News (Feb 01, 2020)

MUMBAI: India relaxed its fiscal deficit target Saturday, raising spending and slashing taxes as it seeks to attract foreign investment and increase consumption in the wake of a prolonged economic slowdown. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the changes as part of the country´s annual budget in parliament, a day after official data showed that Asia´s third-largest economy grew five… Read More

Door left ajar for IMF-Islamabad agreement

The Express Tribune (Feb 15, 2020)

ISLAMABAD:  In a first serious challenge to keep the $6 billion extended fund facility on track, Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund on Friday could not reach a staff-level agreement on contentious issues but kept the doors open for the possibility of attaining one in coming days. The issues that stopped both the parties from reaching an agreement include the need for a mini-budget… Read More

Despite massive shortfall in tax collection, budget deficit under control

The Nation (Feb 15, 2020)

ISLAMABAD                    –                The government has successfully controlled Pakistan’s budget deficit which was recorded at Rs994.7 billion during first half (July to December) of the current fiscal year despite massive shortfall in tax collection.  The country’s expenditures were recorded at Rs4226.6 billion as compared to the revenues of Rs3231.9 billion in July-December… Read More

Power tariff, mini-budget sticking points in talks with IMF

The Express Tribune (Feb 14, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund on Thursday extended review talks for at least one more day after both the sides failed to break a deadlock over the contentious issue of increase in electricity tariffs, mini-budget and Chinese loans. Talks between Pakistan and IMF had started on February 3 and were planned to end on February 13 (Thursday). But neither the finance ministry nor the IMF… Read More

US govt facing budget deficit of Rs15,450b every month

The News (Feb 14, 2020)

WASHINGTON: The sea of red ink is getting deeper and deeper in Washington, with the federal government already racking up a budget deficit that is averaging close to $100 billion (Rs15,450 billion) a month. Treasury Department data released Wednesday show the shortfall at $389.2 billion in the first four months of fiscal 2020. That’s a 25% gain over the same period… Read More

House passes 2020 budget bill

The Bangkok Post (Feb 13, 2020)

The House of Representatives has voted 257-1 with three abstentions to pass the 2020 budget bill, but not without a setback. The vote on the second reading, which calls for a vote on each section, had to be redone after the meeting lacked a quorum on Section 6 on the contingency budget. The meeting consisted of coalition MPs since the opposition earlier decided not to attend the meeting… Read More

Pakistan, IMF agree not to introduce mini-budget

The News (Feb 13, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had agreed that there would be no mini-budget or a reduction in the tax collection target, sources told Geo News. The sources further said Pakistan was not to raise the tax rate until June 2020 or reduce its tax collection target, as talks between Pakistan and the IMF concluded here on Wednesday… Read More

India’s Budget 2020: Needs a few course corrections

The Rahnuma (Feb 12, 2020)

(RAHNUMA) In her marathon 2 hours and 46 minutes speech introducing India’s 2020 budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman painted an optimistic picture of the Indian economy. She stated at the outset that her budget’s goal is to boost “incomes and enhance… purchasing power” of the people of India. “Only through higher growth can we achieve that and have our youth gainfully… Read More

Pakistan, IMF agree not to introduce mini budget

The (Feb 12, 2020)

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – A delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) held a meeting on Wednesday and mutually decided not to introduce a mini-budget. According to sources, the talks agreed that there will be no increase or reduction in tax target until June this year. Finance Ministry sources said that Pakistan will make every effort to achieve the tax target. It also… Read More

Inside Trumps upcoming $4.8 trillion budget

The by Alexandra Kelley (Feb 11, 2020)

President Trump’s forthcoming budget due today is expected to allocate $4.8 trillion toward defense programs and veterans and cut $4.4 trillion over the next decade from social programs and foreign aid. According to the Wall Street Journal, an administration source said President Trump’s plan will increase military spending by 0.3 percent to $740.5 billion for the 2020… Read More

Govt negotiating ‘mini budget’ with IMF: Rabbani

The News (Feb 11, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Former chairman Senate Senator Mian Raza Rabbani on Monday said that a ‘mini budget’, being negotiated during talks with IMF, would eventually lead to anarchy. Reacting to media reports, Rabbani said the government was trying to renegotiate downward the collection targets that form a part of IMF agreement, which was signed behind… Read More

The budget’s stab at trickle-down economics

The (Feb 10, 2020)

This year’s budget speech was the lengthiest on record. It went on for so long that the American actor Pamela Anderson could have had a wedding after Nirmala Sitharaman began the address and filed for divorce before the finance minister’s concluding remarks. Few had believed the Baywatch star’s latest relationship would last, given the way her previous marriages… Read More

IMF talks to focus on mini-budget possibility, hike in electricity, gas tariffs

The (Feb 10, 2020)

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – As talks between an International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) delegation and Pakistan begins on Monday after a two-day break to evaluate Islamabad’s performance for the third tranche of $450 million of the $6 billion bailout package, suggestions for presenting a new mini-budget or possibility of imposition of new taxes… Read More

Bilawal condemns cuts in higher education budget

The Pakistan Today (Feb 09, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has condemned cuts in the higher education budget by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government compelling the public sector universities to take loans from the private sector to run their affairs. In a statement, the PPP chairman expressed grave concern over the fact that 104 public universities in the country were passing… Read More

Fiscal deficit target jacked up to 7.5 percent of GDP

The Nation (Feb 09, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: The government has revised upwards the fiscal deficit target to 7.5 percent of the GDP after reducing the tax collection target for ongoing fiscal year. Ministry for Finance recently informed the parliament that the government would keep the budget deficit at 7.5 percent of the GDP (Rs3282.5 billion). Earlier, in budget for 2019-2020, the government had projected… Read More

Sri Lanka misses 2019 budget deficit, forex reserve targets in IMF program

The Economy Next (Feb 08, 2020)

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has missed the budget deficit and foreign reserves targets in a deal with the International Monetary Fund where in built money and foreign exchange policies triggered a currency collapse and an output shock, which hit state revenues. “Preliminary data indicate that the primary surplus target under the program supported by… Read More

PMA criticises govt for neglecting health, meagre health budget

The Express Tribune (Feb 08, 2020)

KARACHI: Members of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) pointed out on Friday that the government has been neglecting the health sector despite population growth, increasing the burden on health facilities.Keeping in view the worsening state of health in the country, they called for allocating at least six per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) to the health budget, in line with the World Health… Read More

IMF asks to fully utilise PSDP budget

The Pakistan Today (Feb 07, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked the federal government to fully utilize the current fiscal year development budget under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP).  Sources told Pakistan Today that the fund’s delegation met with the officials of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives on Friday and was… Read More

No mini-budget in the offing, says minister

The Pakistan Today (Feb 07, 2020)

Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar has categorically dispelled the impression that the incumbent government has any plan to introduce a mini-budget. Talking to a private news channel, the minister said sugarcane and other crops were damaged due to issues pertaining to climate change. “This was one of the major reasons behind recent food inflation.” However, he said, the… Read More