Issue 61

Budget Study Centre   Issue 61
March 05, 2020


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Government delays Budget infrastructure plan

The (Mar 05, 2020)

The detailed 30-year plan was to be published “alongside” the Budget, the government said at the Queen’s Speech in December. Three weeks ago, then chancellor Sajid Javid confirmed the timetable. The strategy is seen as crucial to the government’s plan to “level up” regional disparities. The delay will allow the new chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to refocus the strategy, to reflect potentially larger resources available… Read More

SBP reserves up $166m to $12.8bn

The Pakistan Today (Mar 05, 2020)

KARACHI: Foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) increased $166 million to $12,757 million during the week ending February 28, 2020, according to data released by the central bank on Thursday. The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $18,869 million. Net foreign reserves held by commercial banks recorded a dip from $6,151.3 million in… Read More

Budget for FY21: Punjab to earmark Rs350 billion for development

The Express Tribune (Mar 4, 2020)

LAHORE: Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht announced on Tuesday that the Punjab Annual Development Plan (ADP) for 2020-21 would be worth Rs350 billion, which would gradually increase in later years. Speaking at a pre-budget public-private partnership dialogue, organised by the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT), the minister assured the… Read More

‘Govt utilised record 39pc development budget in eight months’

The Pakistan Today (Mar 04, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar said on Wednesday that the government had witnessed a record 39 per cent utilisation of the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) during the first seven months of the current fiscal year (FY20). “This is the highest recorded utilisation of the development budget in the past six… Read More

NA body for paying honoraria to employees served during budget sessions

The Business Recorder (Mar 03, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Government Assurance Monday directed all departments to pay honoraria to their employees who served during the budget sessions, industriously, in the Parliament House. The committee further directed that honoraria may be given to the employees of Pakistan Television (PTV), Radio Pakistan and Associated Press of Pakistan… Read More

IMF putting Pakistan on path to recovery, says SBP governor

The Pakistan Today (Mar 03, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Dr Reza Baqir said on Tuesday that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was the government’s partner in reforming the country’s current economic system. In a briefing to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which was chaired by Rana Tanvir Hussain, the SBP governor said that Pakistan’s relationship with IMF was based on… Read More

Pakistan’s economy moving towards growth, says finance adviser

The Pakistan Today (Mar 02, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Monday said that the outlook for the economy was strong and pick up in exports and remittances were supporting growth momentum. “In December 2019, the large scale manufacturing output expanded by 16 per cent on month-on-month basis, indicating that growth was starting to… Read More

Economic conditions have improved as compared to past: SBP governor

The Pakistan Today (Mar 02, 2020)

KARACHI: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Dr Reza Baqir on Monday said that the economic conditions are better in many areas as compared to the past. The country’s economy was not in strong position back then as the reserves and exchange rates were falling. Addressing an event of English Speaking Union held at a local hotel, he said that the economic conditions are better because of the… Read More

In Pakistan, stocks battered as index plummets 5.6%

The Express Tribune (Mar 01, 2020)

KARACHI: The stock market witnessed a brutal hammering as the index plunged by a whopping 2,266 points or 5.6% to 37,984 points in the outgoing week largely due to the coronavirus outbreak, which threatened to become a pandemic, among other developments hampering the economy. “The local equity bourse depicted the biggest weekly decline since June 16, 2017 in points,” stated… Read More

Happy IMF news but only just

The Dawn by Abbas Nasir (Mar 01, 2020)

This week’s ‘staff level’ agreement announced by the International Monetary Fund with the government of Pakistan may have surprised many economic experts as it is no secret that there still exists a wide gulf between the country’s targeted and realised tax collection. The resultant budget deficit stands at 7.4 per cent of the… Read More

Financial Sector in the Budget Skating on Thin Ice?

The Economic and political weekly (Feb 29, 2020)

Metaphorically speaking, going through the Union Budget 2020–21 is like reading Gabriel García Márquez’s 1985 classic novel Love in the Time of Cholera, where optimism is seen to coexist with physical diseases. After all, the term “slowdown” is conspicuous by its absence in one of the longest budget speeches in recent history, so much so that in making sense of the myriad of things that the budget… Read More

EU to provide €13 million as Public Financial Management Support

The Nation (Feb 29, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: European Union agreed to provide €13 million to Pakistan to help improve its macro-fiscal policies and budget preparations, said an announcement issued on Friday. The signing ceremony of Financing Agreement on Public Financial Management Support Programme-II (PFM-II)” between the government of Pakistan and the European Union was held at Economic Affairs Division on Friday. Federal… Read More

E-Pay Punjab fetches Rs1b revenue in less than 5 months

The Nation (Feb 28, 2020)

LAHORE – EPay Punjab, the first ever government payment aggregator for citizen facilitation and ease of business, has collected over Rs1 billion revenue from multiple levies since its launch five months back. This was informed in a progress review meeting of Punjab Information Technology Board presided over by Chairman PITB Azfar Manzoor on Thursday. Director… Read More

EU grants €13 million to Pakistan to improve fiscal policies

The News (Feb 28, 2020)

The European Union agreed to provide €13 million grant to Pakistan improve its fiscal policies and budget preparations, reported Geo News on Friday. The agreement was signed in Islamabad in the presence of Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar and the grant will be provided under EU’s Public Financial Management Support Programme. Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Syed… Read More

Circular debt increases to Rs1.9tr

The Nation (Feb 27, 2020)

Islamabad -Pakistan’s circular debt has increased to over Rs 1.9 Trillion, while the distribution companies are unable to overcome technical and non-technical losses which are burdening the national exchequer by an additional Rs40-50 Billion annually, said OICCI Energy Report 2019. The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) has launched its ‘OICCI … Read More

FBR asked to incorporate PSA proposals in next budget

The Pakistan Today (Feb 27, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: To address grievances and put genuine demands of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Stockbrokers Association (PSA) in the next fiscal budget, the Policy Board of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has recommended to communicate with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), a local newspaper reported. Following the decision of… Read More

PPL earnings drop 19% to Rs24.4 billion

The Express Tribune (Feb 26, 2020)

KARACHI: Pakistan Petroleum Limited’s (PPL) profit dropped 19% to Rs24.4 billion in the half year ended December 31, 2019, dented by higher operating and exploration expenses. The company had announced earnings of Rs30.3 billion in the same period of previous year, according to a notice sent to the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Tuesday… Read More

The Trouble With India’s New Budget

The Diplomat by Alok Sheel (Feb 26, 2020)

India’s 2020–21 federal budget was presented on February 1 against the backdrop of six successive quarters of declining growth. Continuing frictions in the financial system have clogged the channels of monetary policy. This means that fiscal policy and structural reforms now have a critical role in stimulating the slowing economy and putting it back on a high growth… Read More

Planning Commission authorises release of Rs456.37b for development projects

The Nation (Feb 25, 2020)

ISLAMABAD – The Federal government has so far authorised release of Rs 456.37 billion for various ongoing and new social sector uplift projects under its Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2019-20, as against the total allocation of Rs701 billion. Under its development programme, the government has authorised release of an amount of Rs 191.26 billion for federal ministries… Read More

World Bank delays two of Pakistan’s budgetary support loans

The Express Tribune (Feb 25, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has delayed the approval of two budgetary support loans worth $750 million due to lack of progress on some of the agreed prior conditions, including disagreement among provinces over harmonisation of the general sales tax (GST) on services. The postponement would also delay the restoration of Pakistan’s budgetary support, which had… Read More

High time for Pakistan, Turkey to boost trade

The Express Tribune (Feb 24, 2020)

KARACHI: It is time for Pakistan and Turkey to boost bilateral trade and both the countries want to do this for their own reasons. Turkey wants to export more to other countries to depend less on its existing main export markets ie Germany, the UK, the UAE, Iraq and the United States. Turkey is craving for stronger influence in the Middle East and if it continues to earn the bulk of export dollars from the… Read More

Sri Lanka mini-budget supplementary allocations were not opposed, only debt hike: opposition

The Economy Next (Feb 24, 2020)

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s opposition did not oppose increases in spending on several activities in a recent supplement to the vote-on-account but only the raising of the debt ceiling, opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said. He claimed that the government asked for a large increase in debt of because taxes were suddenly cut and it ran out of money. “The opposition was willing to support … Read More

Pakistan’s economy ‘on the path to recovery’: Credit Suisse

The Pakistan Today (Feb 23, 2020)

KARACHI: Pakistan’s fundamentals have ‘improved significantly’ but the ‘challenges’ still lie ahead, Credit Suisse- a Swiss financial services firm- says in its latest report. Titled “Pakistan: On the path to recovery”, the firm credits ‘assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’, ‘fiscal consolidation’, and ‘much needed reforms’ for the improvement… Read More

ICCI calls for reducing taxes on furniture industry in next budget

The Business Recorder (Feb 23, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Muhammad Ahmed Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called upon the government to reduce taxes on furniture industry in the forthcoming budget that would facilitate its better growth and enhance exports. He said this while addressing a delegation of Islamabad Furniture Association that visited ICCI led by its… Read More

External public debt inflows surge to $6b in Jul-Jan

The Express Tribune (Feb 22, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Gross external public debt inflows surged to $6 billion in first seven months of the current fiscal year – higher by 138% – on the back of major inflows from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and China – the two creditors that are not toeing Washington’s line. Inflows from China and the ADB have helped Pakistan meet its… Read More

EU budget summit ends with no deal

The Pakistan Today (Feb 22, 2020)

BRUSSELS: An EU summit called to set the bloc’s next seven-year budget ended in impasse late Friday, riven by competing groups among the 27 member states and pressure to fill a funding gap left by Brexit. Differences were “still too great to reach an agreement,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters at the end of the two days of talks in Brussels. No date had yet been set for another summit… Read More

Local bodies directed to submit budget proposals

The Express Tribune by Qaiser Shirazi (Feb 21, 2020)

RAWALPINDI: After the promulgation of the new local government system in Punjab, the Provincial Minister for Local Government and Community Development (LGCD) Basharat Raja on Thursday directed the newly delimited local bodies across the province to prepare and submit their budget proposals by the end of this month… Read More

Indian Budget 2020-21 an analysis

The India Post by Nita Dhruva (Feb 21, 2020)

One more budget of the Modi Government can be viewed as a bold and pragmatic budget of US$ 5 trillion economies taking the country on the right path. The budget has kept the basic macro strategy intact. On the one hand, it provides thrust to the rural economy; on the other, it focuses on simultaneously enabling measures to transform India. It seeks to remove structural bottlenecks that were hampering…. Read More