Budget Study Centre Issue 8
January 24, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

PM announces one-time amnesty scheme on offshore assets

Express Tribune (January 18, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi announced on Wednesday that a one-time tax amnesty scheme on offshore assets will be offered to Pakistanis, while also saying that tax rates on personal income will be lowered amid his disapproval of the Federal Board of Revenue's (FBR) performance. The premier's dissatisfaction was not only limited to the tax machinery, as Abbasi also refrained from talking confidently about overall economic ... Read More

Modi launches $6.8bn refinery in Rajasthan

Dawn (January 17, 2018)
BARMER: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday launched the construction of a $6.8 billion refinery in the western state of Rajasthan, in the hopes of meeting the rising fuel demand. By 2030, India's demand for petrol and diesel is expected to go up by two-thirds to 170bn litres, as an expanding middle class spends on cars and air travel. The 180,000-barrel-per-day refinery and petrochemical ... Read More

Foreign direct investment drops 3pc despite growing inflows from China

Dawn (January 17, 2018)
KARACHI: Foreign direct investment (FDI) fell 2.8 per cent to $1.38 billion in the first half of 2017-18, although inflows from China rose 2.4 times, the State Bank of Pakistan reported on Tuesday. Data showed the pattern of inflows significantly changed recently. China now dominates FDI with a share of more than two-thirds in total investments. Beijing emerged first as the largest trading partner of Islamabad and now it has become the top foreign ... Read More

Government lowers additional borrowings to Rs 20,000 crore this fiscal

Times of India (January 17, 2018)
NEW DELHI: The government on Wednesday lowered the additional borrowing requirement for the current fiscal to Rs 20,000 crore from Rs 50,000 crore estimated earlier. "Government has reassessed additional borrowing requirements taking note of revenue receipts and expenditure pattern. Requirement of additional borrowing being reduced from Rs 50,000 crore as notified earlier to Rs 20,000 crore," Economic Affairs ... Read More

Eurozone inflation revised up to 0.2% in November

Times of Malta (January 17, 2018)
Eurozone inflation was revised up to 0.2 per cent in November, rising slightly more than expected mostly because of a slowdown in the decline of energy prices, the EU statistics agency said yesterday. Eurostat previously estimated inflation at 0.1 per cent last month in the 19 countries sharing the euro. The monthly consumer price change was -0.1 per cent, slightly higher than the expected -0.2 per cent. The revision ... Read More

France's 2017 state budget deficit lowest since 2008

Business Recorder (January 16, 2018)
budget ministry said on Tuesday. The deficit came to 67.8 billion euros ($82.99 billion) last year, marking an improvement of 1.5 billion euros from 2016, the budget ministry said on Tuesday. The deficit came to 67.8 billion euros ($82.99 billion) last year, marking an improvement of 1.5 billion euros from 2016, the ministry said. It was also better than the 69.3 billion euros originally budgeted by the previous Socialist government ... Read More

First ever citizen's budget of District Charsadda presented

The Statesman (January 14, 2018)
CHARSADDA: Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) launched the first-ever Citizens' Budget of District Charsada with support of Saiban Development Organization. Jamshed Tariq, Project Coordinator CPDI Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said this is for the first time in Pakistan that citizens' budget was developed at district level. For the understanding of budget allocations, a citizens' budget is developed in jargon free and easy to ... Read More

World Economic Forum ranks India 30th on global manufacturing index; Japan Tops

Hindustan Times (January 14, 2018)
Press Trust of India: New Delhi/Geneva: The report, which analyses development of modern industrial strategies and urges collaborative action, has categorised 100 countries into four groups -- Leading (strong current base, high level of readiness for future); High Potential (limited current base, high potential for future); Legacy (strong current base, at risk for future); or Nascent (limited current base, low level of readiness for future). ... Read More

CPDI launches 'Citizens Budget' for Charsadda

Express Tribune (January 13, 2018)
CHARSADDA: Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) launched a first-ever Citizens' Budget of District Charssada with support of Saiban Development Organisation. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CPDI Project Coordinator Jamshed Tariq said this is for the first time in Pakistan that citizens' budget was developed at district level. For the understanding of budget allocations, a citizens' budget is developed in easy to ... Read More

Chinese economy grew "around 6.9%" in 2017: premier

Daily Times (January 12, 2018)
Agencies: China's premier expects economic growth of around 6.9 percent for 2017, as he saw a "better than expected" outlook for the world's second-largest economy, state media said Thursday. The authorities will release official gross domestic product figures next week but Premier Li Keqiang has given his own forecast. "Over the past year, the Chinese economy has been on a stable and favourable development path, with its overall circumstances better excess ... Read More

Pak growth rate to reach average 5.9pc: WB Report

Business Recorder by Parvez Jabri (January 10, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB), in its recent report, has predicted that Pakistan economic growth would reach at an average 5.9 percent a year over the medium term on the back of continued robust domestic consumption, rising investment, and a recovery in exports. "In Pakistan, growth is forecast to pick up to 5.5 percent in FY2017/18, and reach at an average 5.9 percent a year over the medium term on the back of continued ... Read More

India to be fastest growing economy again in 2018: World Bank

Hindustan Times (January 10, 2018)
After conceding the top spot in economic growth among major economies to China for a year in 2017, India is likely to regain the position in 2018 with growth expected to accelerate to 7.3% in the year, according to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects released on Tuesday. The World Bank report projected China's economy to further slow down to grow at 6.4% in 2018 from 6.8% in 2017. The multilateral institution ... Read More

Pakistan procured $40 billion loans in last four years

Pakistan Today (January 08, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan procured $40 billion of loans during PML-N's four-year tenure till end of October 2017. The figure is $6.2 billion higher than the one shared with the National Assembly last month, reported Express Tribune. As per data shared by Economic Affairs Division (EAD) with the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, gross foreign loan procurement from July 2013-October 2017 was recorded at $34.2 billion. This $34.2 ... Read More

Most Asian markets rise as 2018 rally extends

Daily Times (January 06, 2018)
The equity rally that has kicked off 2018 continued on Friday, with Asian markets picking up the baton from another set of records on Wall Street. Dealers are now turning their attention to the release later in the day of key US jobs data, which is expected to show the world's top economy continuing to improve. A forecast-smashing reading Thursday on private take-ups boosted optimism, which had already been bolstered by US tax cuts, healthy ... Read More

Canada trade deficit swells in November on surge of imports

Business Recorder (January 05, 2018)
OTTAWA: Canada's trade deficit grew to C$2.54 billion ($2.03 billion) in November from C$1.55 billion in October as imports posted their biggest surge in more than eight years and far outpaced the growth of exports, Statistics Canada said on Friday. The deficit far exceeded the C$1.20 billion shortfall estimated by analysts in a Reuters poll. Exports grew by 3.7 percent, the most in a year, on higher shipments of motor vehicles and consumer ... Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 7
January 16, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Trump's growth boast in reach as factories boom, GDP could have topped 4% in best year since 2004

The Times (January 4, 2018)
The American economy is showing signs that it could hit President Trump's ambitious growth target after a report indicated that factories in the United States had enjoyed their best year since 2004. Manufacturing activity in the world's largest economy came in well ahead of economists' expectations last month, a closely watched report showed, suggesting that growth could have surged above 4 per cent in 2017, much faster than previously ... Read More

Economic indicators stay positive, LSM, exports witness growth

Business Recorder (January 4, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Despite challenges, the performance of various sectors of economy showed impressive growth as depicted by different economic growth indicators. During the first five months of the current fiscal year, the exports have witnessed a growth of 10.49 percent over the corresponding period of Fiscal year 2016-17, while during the month of November, the exports increased by 12.35 percent compared to the exports of November ... Read More

US aid cut worries economists; souring ties with foreign donors feared

The News by Erum Zaidi (January 4, 2018)
KARACHI: US government's decision to wean Pakistan off its financial aids may sour the country's ties with international financial intuitions and could throw a spanner into much-needed foreign inflows, economists said on Wednesday. A former finance minister said the US decision seems to influence the various multilateral agencies/creditors, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and Asian Development ... Read More

Turkey inflation still stubbornly high in December

Business Recorder (January 3, 2018)
ANKARA: Inflation in Turkey eased slightly in December after reaching the highest rate in 14 years the month earlier, but remained stubbornly high at almost 12 percent, in a continued headache for policymakers, according to statistics released Wednesday. Consumer prices rose by 11.92 percent year-on-year in December, the Turkish statistical institute said, down slightly from 12.98 percent in November, which was the highest ... Read More

Britain wants financial services included in EU Trade deal-Davis

Times of Malta (January 3, 2018)
Britain wants to include financial services in a trade deal with the European Union that covers a full sweep of economic areas, Brexit minister David Davis said on Tuesday.Davis said that any deal that left finance out would be "cherry picking", after the EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier cast doubt on the inclusion of financial services in a free-trade deal. “We are looking at the full sweep of economic cooperation that currently exists and ... Read More

FBR on target to achieve annual collection target of Rs 4013 bln this year

Pakistan Observer (January 2, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue remains on track to achieve annual collection target of Rs 4013 billion. During first half of the current financial year, Federal Board of Revenue has recorded provisional net revenue collection of over Rs. 1722 billion as against Rs. 1466 billion collected during the same period of the previous fiscal year, by recording an increase of around 17.5% over the revenue collected during the ... Read More

Inflation spikes 4.6% in Dec 2017, hits 8-months high

The Express Tribune by Shahbaz Rana (January 2, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: For the first time in the past eight months, the inflation rate spiked 4.6%, showing the effect of government's policies including the increase in prices of petroleum products for end-consumers and levy of regulatory duty. "The impact of government's decision to devalue the rupee against the US dollar by about 7.2% is also expected to appear after a lag of a couple of months," said State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa. Measured by the ... Read More

Singapore's economy grew 3.5 percent in 2017: PM Lee

Business Recorder (January 1, 2018)
SINGAPORE: Singapore's economy grew 3.5 percent in 2017 on the back of improved productivity as well as a pick-up in the global economy, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday. Singapore’s trade-reliant economy has enjoyed a boost this year from an improvement in global demand, particularly for electronics products and components such as semiconductors. "Our economy grew by 3.5 percent ... Read More

Bond float not enough, Pakistan going to be IMF's customer again

Express Tribune by Jazib Nelson (January 1, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Popular view of Pakistan's economy was quite optimistic at the start of 2017. Positive developments including successful completion of the $6.6-billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, decent progress on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and emerging market status for the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) were behind the optimism. Government officials claimed at almost every ... Read More

The making of shadow budget

The News by Mustafa Nazir Ahmad (December 31, 2017)
The preparation of shadow budgets by opposition parties, think tanks and civil society organisations has become a norm in the developed world over the last quarter of a century. These alternative budgets offer analysis and perspective on what the government budget should contain in terms of spending and revenue generation. In short, a shadow budget offers an alternative vision to deal with the macroeconomic challenges ... Read More

Hungary's economy projected to grow by 4.3pc in 2018

Business Recorder (December 28, 2017)
BUDAPEST: Hungary's economic growth is expected to come in at 4.1 percent this year, and will accelerate to 4.3 percent next year, the Economy Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. The ministry said that this year’s GDP growth was largely driven by a rise in investments, due to a pick-up in housing construction increasing use of development funds coming from the European Union and capacity expansion by large corporates ... Read More

'Foreign loans compromise sovereignty' says Rabbani

The DAWN By Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana (December27, 2017)
KARACHI: Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani said on Tuesday foreign loans come with strings as lenders' lconditions infringe upon national sovereignty. If a nation has a choice, then it should opt for increasing exports by promoting the indigenous industry and making it competitive, he said while addressing the 41st Export Awards ceremony of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI). "I'd suggest that if we have a choice ... Read More

The fall and fall of Pakistan's economy in 2017

The Express Tribune by Arsalaan Asif Soomro (December 26, 2017)
Whether this is due to Mr Ishaq Dar being pre-occupied during the year, trying to save himself and his boss from the aftermath of the Panama leaks, or merely because the anticipated growth of imports was foreseen in a naive manner, is a question that is behind us for now. With the grip on currency loosening, the picture alas seems to slowly be moving towards equilibrium. When the currency started slipping in December, there was no "inquiry" ... Read More

Govt. asked to announce PFC award without delay.

DAWN (December 25, 2017)
SWABI: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has been asked to announce the Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) Award 2017-18 under the Local Government Act, 2013, without further delay to give financial responsibility and authority to elected representatives of local bodies. The demand was made by members of Samaji Bahbood Rabita Council (SBRC) and Good Governance District Coalition (GGDC)" ... Read More

Venezuela: Economy shrank 16.5% in 2016: report

Express Tribune (December 24, 2017)
WASHINGTON: Venezuela's economy shrank a massive 16.5% in 2016, according to an official government filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The oil-rich but impoverished country attributed the collapse to a contraction of 9.9% in the oil sector and 16.1% in the non-oil economy. The 150-page report, received on Thursday by the SEC, also reported inflation at 274.4%, and an unemployment rate of 7.5% in the calendar ... Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 6
December 28, 2017


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Current account deficit increases to $6.4 billion

Daily Times by Khursheed Ahmad (December 21, 2017)
KARACHI: Pakistan's external financial position continues to deteriorate due to rising import bill as the country's current account deficit rose to $6.4 billion in the first five months of the fiscal year. The deficit was $3.3 billion in the same period last year. The current account deficit has increased to 4.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The deficit increased by $1.4 billion in November. The increase in October was $1.2 billion, mainly due ... Read More

China shrugs off debt worries as Xi Takes firmer economic grip

NY Times (December 20, 2017)
SHANGHAI - It's Xi Jinping's economy now, and he isn't too worried about debt. China signaled its economic priorities on Wednesday at the end of a meeting of top Communist Party economic leaders with a statement indicating that President Xi is fully in charge. Labeled "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialist Economy With Chinese Characteristics," the statement called for trimming industrial overcapacity, controlling the ... Read More

Revenue collection, tax returns show growth, FBR Chief Tells Businessmen

Daily Times (December 20, 2017)
Karachi: federal board of revenue (fbr) chairman tariq mahmood pasha said on tuesday said that fbr had witnessed growth in revenue collection and returns filed so far, which increased by 26 percent to 1,075,000, as on december 19, 2017, compared to last year. Speaking at an interactive session during his visit to the karachi chamber of commerce and industry (kcci), he said that the credit for this growth ... Read More

Pakistan attracts $1.1bn foreign investment in 5M FY18

Daily Times by Khursheed Ahmad (December 16, 2017)
Karachi: Foreign Direct investment FDI continued to show encouraging growth as in the first five months of current fiscal year (July-November), 5MFY18, FDI posted substantial growth of 57 percent to $1,146.4 million as compared to $729.4 million invested during the same period of the previous fiscal year, FY16, State Bank of Pakistan data shows. China emerged as the single largest foreign investor in Pakistan with ... Read More

Country's direct investment surges by 57.2pc to $1.146.4bn in July-Nov 2017

Pakistan Today (December 15, 2017)
KARACHI: The country has received an amount of $ 1.146 billion in the head of foreign direct investment (FDI), up by 57.2 per cent or $ 417 million during first five months of the current fiscal year compared to $ 729.4 million in the same period last year. Out of the total investment, Chinese companies invested $ 840.6 million in Pakistan during last five months. In November 2017, the country has received ... Read More

Will America's economy overheat in 2018?

The Economist (December 14, 2017)
WASHINGTON DC: USUALLY politicians pretend that good economic news on their watch is no surprise. But America's recent growth figures have been so positive that even the administration of President Donald Trump has allowed itself to marvel. "It's actually happening faster than we expected," mused Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget chief, in September, after growth rose to 3.1% in the second quarter. (Mr Trump in fact ... Read More

Federal Reserve raises interest rates as attention turns to 2018

Independent by Howard Schneider (December 13, 2017)
The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point, but has left its rate outlook for the coming years unchanged even as policymakers project a short-term acceleration in US economic growth. The move, coming at the final policy meeting of 2017 and on the heels of a flurry of relatively bullish economic data, represented a victory for a central bank that has vowed of continue ... Read More

ADB lowers India's GDP forecast for FY-18 to 6.7%

The Times of India (December 13, 2017)
NEW DELHI: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday lowered India's GDP (Gross Domestic Product) forecast for the current fiscal by 0.3 per cent to 6.7 per cent, attributing it to tepid growth in the first half, demonetisation and transitory challenges of tax sector reforms. It has also revised downward the GDP outlook for next fiscal beginning from March 2018 to 7.3 per cent from 7.4 per cent mainly due ... Read More

Remittances decline 2.57% to $1.7b in November

The Express Tribune (December 12, 2017)
KARACHI: Pakistan received remittances amounting to $1.576 billion in November 2017, which is 2.57% lower compared with $1.618 billion the country received in the same month of the previous year, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Monday. Overall, overseas Pakistani workers remitted $8.021 billion in the first five months (July to November) of fiscal year 2018, up 1.28% compared with ... Read More

$14.6tr was the impact of violence on global economy in 2016

Express Tribune by Tahreem Hussain (December 11, 2017)
NORTHAMPTON: Global peace is the need of the hour. It has been estimated that more than 1.5 billion people live in countries that are affected by violent conflict and the gap between those countries which enjoy relative peace and those afflicted by conflict seems to be growing. Conflicts and resulting violence have a deep-rooted impact at all levels of the society. Although the human cost of being affected by ... Read More

Govt. looks to squeeze oil and gas sector to meet revenue target

Express Tribune by Zafar Butta (December 10, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: The Finance Division has tightened its noose around the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) to collect Rs392 billion from the oil and gas sector to meet the budget target for financial year 2017-18. Sources said that following pressure, the Petroleum Division was forced to impose a petroleum levy not only on locally produced liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) but on imported LPG as well in a bid to collect Rs2 billion in ... Read More

Meeting discusses budget awareness

Express Tribune (December 08, 2017)
JHELUM: While devising the budget, it is imperative that requirements of transparency, public consent are met while rules and regulation are adhered to. This was stated by Jhelum District Finance Officer Sarfaraz Khan while speaking at a budget consultation programme. The programme organised by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) and CRG in Jhelum. Network for Budget Accountability ... Read More

LGs flayed over budget rules' violations

The Nation (December 08, 2017)
JHANG - The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a non-profit organisation, demanded adherence to the Punjab Local Governments (Budget) Rules 2017, transparency and citizens' participation in the budget making process at district level. Addressing in district level budget consultation at Jhang, its local office-bearers said that first draft of the district budget be presented in April to ensure timely input ... Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 5
December 12, 2017


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

K-P revenue authority generates Rs34b in Taxes

Express Tribune (December 7, 2017)
PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Authority (KPRA) has generated Rs34 billion in tax collections since its inception in 2013, according to KPRA Director General Tahir Aurakzai, adding this amounts to 56% of provincial tax revenue collected in 2016 and 2017. Speaking at a multi stakeholder's awareness and sensitization session on the revenue generation by KPRA, Aurakzai ... Read More

40 percent growth witnessed in company incorporations during November 2017

Pakistan Observer (December 6, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) during the month of November 2017 registered 881 new companies. As compared to the corresponding month of last financial year, it represents a growth of 40 percent. The new incorporation raised the total number companies registered with SECP to 84,201. The massive increase in number ... Read More

US tax overhaul will increase debt and interest costs

Pakistan Today (December 5, 2017)
WASHINGTON: A U.S. tax overhaul will increase the government's need to issue more Treasuries as interest costs on the country's debt become a larger drain on the budget. The U.S. Senate on Saturday approved a tax rewrite, which the Congressional Budget Office has estimated would double the deficit over the coming decade to around $2.8 trillion. That would add to the worsening ... Read More

Canada economic growth slows to 1.7pc in 3Q

The Nation (December 4, 2017)
OTTAWA - Canada's economy grew at a much more modest annualized rate of 1.7 percent in the third quarter, as Canadians curbed their spending, the government statistical agency said. Exports fell while imports were flat, business investment weakened, and household outlays pulled back slightly from the previous quarter said Statistics Canada. The figure was close to the 1.6 percent growth ... Read More

Pakistan's economy has a bumpy ride ahead but the future is bright, study says

The DAWN by Afshan Subohi (December 4, 2017)
PAKISTAN'S future holds promise despite all what people experience, read and hear in a country that seems to fray at the edges. It would sure be a bumpy ride ahead but there is slim chance of a derailment, a study says. The picture 'Pakistan State of Future Index' paints is not a grim one, and, with right adjustments, the chances are real that the country could become a fairly stable, growing state ... Read More

FBR notches 20pc increase in revenue collection for July-November 2017

Pakistan Today (December 2, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: Tax collection went up by 20 per-cent during July-November period of financial year 2017-18 touching Rs1.302 trillion, the Federal Board of Revenue revealed on Thursday. During November, FBR collected Rs270 billion, rising 24 per-cent compared to same period last year (SPLY) but still recording a deficit of Rs24 billion, reported Express Tribune. Tax refunds of Rs13 billion were ... Read More

Study urges involvement of all stakeholders in budget preparation

The News (December 1, 2017)
PESHAWAR: A study conducted by the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) suggested that there was a dire need to discuss the district budgets with citizens groups, civil society and media for achieving the local development agenda. 
It said there were several lacunae in the district budgets due to the absence of planning officers. The study said the local body ... Read More

India's economy rebounds from three-year low

Business Recorder by Parvez Jabri (December 1, 2017)
NEW DELHI: India's economy picked up in the second quarter, official data showed Thursday, rebounding from a sharp slump in the wake of government reforms that dragged growth to three-year lows. Figures from the Central Statistics Office showed Asia's third-largest economy accelerated after five quarters of slowing growth, as the impact of a sudden cash ban and launch of a nationwide tax receded. GDP ... Read More

With fiscal deficit at 1.2pc, first quarter shows strong financial performance

Business Recorder by Fawad Maqsood (November 29, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: With fiscal deficit recorded at 1.2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), the federal government's financial operations and debt statistics for first quarter of the current fiscal year show strong performance and prudent expenditure. On one hand, revenue collection, especially tax revenue collection, registered a strong growth of over 20 per cent during the first quarter ... Read More

Govt. puts ADB's $990-million smart-meters project on hold

Express Tribune by Shahbaz Rana (November 29, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: In a development that may affect relations with a Manila-based lending agency, Pakistan has decided to put on hold a $990-million (Rs105 billion) smart metering project that was meant to introduce advanced infrastructure in power distribution companies. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) wanted Pakistan to implement the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project, but the Ministry of Power and ... Read More

Tackling trade deficit by facilitating exports

Express Tribune by Aadil Nakhoda (November 27, 2017)
KARACHI: The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported that the trade balance deficit in FY17 stood at $32.6 billion. This was an increase of more than 36% over the value reported in FY16. Imports increased by more than 18%, while exports decreased by 2%. Although the relative decline in exports is marginal, it is disconcerting that exports are currently at $20 billion. On the other hand, imports have increased ... Read More

Concerns over delay in PFC award

Dawn (November 24, 2017)
TOBA TEK SINGH: The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has expressed concerns over a delay in the announcement of Punjab Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) award. In a press conference here on Thursday, CPDI District coordinator Muhammad Shahid said the process of devolution was incomplete without a formula to share the provincial divisible pool among the local ... Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 4
November 23, 2017


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Singapore economy grows 5.2% in Q3, fastest in nearly 4 years; 2017 forecast raised to 3-3.5%

Strait Times (November 23, 2017)
SINGAPORE - Singapore's economy performed much better than expected this year due mostly to a strong showing in electronics, prompting the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) to upgrade its 2017 gross domestic product (GDP) forecast on Thursday morning (Nov 23). Full-year GDP growth is now expected to be 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent. This is up from an earlier estimate ... Read More

Budget 2017: EU finally takes Britain off list of countries with excessive budget deficits

Independent by Jon Stone (November 23, 2017)
The European Commission has given a Budget Day boost to Philip Hammond, announcing that it will be taking the UK off the list of countries with too-large spending deficits. Naming the Chancellor personally, Pierre Moscovici, the EU finance's commissioner, told reporters in Brussels that the UK would be removed from the EU's Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP). The economics chief said the UK had ... Read More

Rs 15bn spent on development Projects in Tharparkar

Daily Times (November 23, 2017)
MITHI: Dr Mahesh Kumar Malani, a provincial legislator associated with Pakistan People's Party (PPP), said that the PPP government was committed to improve living standard of the people of Tharparkar and had spent Rs 15 billion in development projects in the last nine years. He expressed these views while speaking with a delegation from Pakistan Federal Council of Columnists, visiting Mithi ... Read More

Widening UK budget deficit hands Hammond a headache

The Guardian by Richard Partington (November 21, 2017)
Britain's deficit unexpectedly widened in October, handing Philip Hammond disappointing news on the eve of the budget.  Public sector net borrowing last month excluding the nationalised banks, grew by £500m to £8bn compared with October a year ago, according to the office for National Statistics (ONS). City economists expected the deficit, which is the gap between government spending and tax receipts, to improve by £500m to stand at £7bn ... Read More

Pakistan hasn't defaulted once on its debts since independence

Pakistan Today (November 21, 2017)
LAHORE: Pakistan joined the fray of six other nations susceptible to possible risk of defaulting on its debts as its credit-default swaps increased in October and are near its highest levels since June. Interestingly, Pakistan hasn't defaulted even once on its debts since independence in August 1947. Last week, Bloomberg reported about risk-premium on emerging market sovereign bonds decreased seven basis points ... Read More

EU cuts funding to Turkey in 2018 budget

AFP DAWN (Sunday November 19, 2017)
BRUSSELS: An EU 2018 budget deal was announced Saturday that cuts funds destined to Turkey, citing doubts about Ankara's commitment to democracy and human rights German Chancellor Angela Merkel had led calls for a cut to the funds, which are linked to Turkey's stalled bid to join the bloc, following mass-scale arrests in the country since the failed July 2016 coup. MEPs and member states have agreed to reduce the ... Read More

National debt may increase in FY 2018, says Moody's but will improve after

Press Trust of India (Sunday November 19, 2017)
New Delhi: Lower taxes and higher public expenditure could widen budget deficit in 2017-18, but steps taken by the government to broaden the tax base and improve spending efficiency would help in narrowing it going forward, US-based rating agency Moody's said. In an interview to PTI, Moody's Investors Service V-P (Sovereign Risk Group) William Foster said the agency believes that the government's commitment to fisca ... Read More

Only 6% of return filers pay most of direct taxes

The Express Tribune by Shahbaz Rana (Saturday November 18, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: About 65,000 Pakistanis, constituting hardly 6% of the income tax return filers in tax year 2016, paid 79% of direct taxes, exposing the shallowness of an already narrow tax base, according to statistics of the tax directory. Contrary to a mushroom growth in posh housing societies and luxury cars on roads, only 2,455 Pakistanis paid more than Rs10 million in income tax in 2016 ... Read More

Hammond's budget big five: cuts, pay, housing, roads and students

The Guardian by Phillip Inman (Saturday November 18, 2017)
Philip Hammond will face his toughest test as chancellor on Wednesday when he stands up to deliver his third and most important budget statement. By comparison, the  2016 tasked with formulation of annual budget do not bother to conduct pre budget consultative sessions with public and their representatives. The seminar was organized by citizen network for budget accountability (CNBA) with the support of partner organizations ... Read More

Peoples participation in budget making process urged

Frontier Post (November 17, 2017)
LAKKI MARWAT: Speakers at a seminar have stressed the need for ensuring people's participation in budget making process, saying that the quarters concerned tasked with formulation of annual budget do not bother to conduct pre budget consultative sessions with public and their representatives. The seminar was organized by citizen network for budget accountability (CNBA) with the support of partner organizations ... Read More

Transparency & citizens participation in budget making process sought

The News (November 15 2017)
PESHAWAR: The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has launched “Study of Budget Making Process at District Level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa" which called for transparency and citizens' participation in the entire exercise. The study revealed transparency and citizens participation in budget making process was found lacking at district level. in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. ... Read More

Cabinet allows $3b borrowing through Sukuk, Eurobonds

Express Tribune (Tuesday 14 November 2017)
The federal cabinet has allowed immediate borrowing of up to $3 billion from international debt markets by floating three sovereign bonds and has also waived a dozen taxes to make deals attractive for investors. Instead of tabling a summary in a cabinet meeting, the finance ministry got approval of the cabinet by circulating the summary among its members earlier this month. This is surprising as the federal cabinet meets every week. Pakistan ... Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 3
November 09, 2017


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

The budget will show whether the Tories really care about 'just managing' families

Frances Ryan (Thursday 9 November 2017)
In politics, there are some ideas that are good in theory but don't work in practice. Then there are those that were always going to cause harm but turn out to be more damning than even the policy's architects could have imagined. Increasingly, the benefit freeze is the poster child for the latter category. The government is rightly coming under increasing pressure to halt the roll-out of universal credit. ... Read More

NDAA busts budget caps with $626 billion for defense

By Scott Maucione (November 8, 2017)
An authorization for a nearly $700 billion defense budget, a new commercial marketplace for the Pentagon to buy from and a bigger military end strength may become a reality as the House and Senate finished negotiations of the 2018 defense authorization bill this week. The bill will now go to the House and Senate for amendments and passage before being signed into law by the president. The bill includes $692.1 billion ... Read More

Iraq cabinet plans to cut Kurdistan share in 2018 federal budget

The Reuters (November 6, 2017)
BAGHDAD/ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq's cabinet proposed on Sunday to slash the Kurdish share of the country's revenue in the 2018 federal budget, a move that Kurdish officials said was aimed to further punish them for a Sept. 25 referendum on independence. A Kurdish man sells banners supporting the referendum for independence for Kurdistan in Erbil, Iraq September 21, 2017. ... Read More

Bountiful Budget to spur activities in 2018

The Borneo Post (November 5, 2017)
Specialists and industry leaders were optimistic following Budget 2018's announcement which allocated a sum of RM280.25 billion centered on improving the lives of Malaysians while ensuring that it covers all sectors of the economy. With overall spending allocated on areas of the economy ranging from education, agricultural, tourism, social subsidies to business incentives, OCBC Bank Treasury Research ... Read More

NHC approves budget for 5-year development plan, reviews ongoing projects

Daily Times (November 3, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: Communications Minister Hafiz Abdul Karim on Thursday presided over a meeting of National Highway Council (NHC), at the Ministry of Communications. Communications Minister of State Muhammad Junaid Chaudhry,Communications secretary, National Highway Authority chairman and other members of the council participated in the meeting. The meeting gave approval ... Read More

Budget office sees higher deficit than Liberal government's forecast

CBC news (November 1, 2017)
The parliamentary budget overseer is predicting a budget deficit in the current fiscal year that's almost $2 billion higher than was forecast in the government's fall fiscal update last week. The latest report from the parliamentary budget officer says the deficit this year will be $20.2 billion, while Finance Minister Bill Morneau's last prediction was $18.4 billion. (Morneau's economic update also included a $1.5 billion ... Read More

How economic slowdown is weakening India's armed forces

The dailyo (October 31, 2017)
The debate about the turbulence in India's economic health is worrisome for defense procurement plans. The defense budget has been declining over the past decades, with this year's allocation at a record low of 1.56 per cent of the GDP. With the RBI's latest report marking down the overall GDP figure for FY 2017- 18, the amount available in the government's kitty for the next fiscal would be even lower-especially considering ... Read More

Germany to confirm size of expected budget surplus next month

The Reuters (October 30, 2017)
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany expects a budget surplus in 2017, but will not know its full extent until Nov. 9 when the finance ministry gets a new assessment of expected tax revenues, acting Finance Minister Peter Altmaier told broadcaster ARD on Sunday. A long-exposure picture shows a container ship, at a loading terminal, in the harbor of Hamburg, Germany April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer Altmaier declined to ... Read More

Government proposes $6B budget for 2018

The Phonm penh post (October 30, 2017)
The Council of Ministers on Friday approved a national budget for next year that calls for more than $6 billion in spending, the largest increase ever proposed for the Kingdom, with big boosts for education, defense and the arts. In an executive summary of the draft law released on Friday, the Council of Ministers proposes raising the budget by nearly $1 billion, stating that the budget increases are necessary to run ... Read More

EU Says Concerned Over Italy's 2018 Budget, Adding to Government's Woes

The New York Times (October 27, 2017)
BRUSSELS - The European Commission sent a letter on Friday to Italy's finance minister urging clarifications over the country's planned budget for 2018, adding to Rome's headaches ahead of elections due by next May. The move could force Rome to cut expenditures or raise taxes to comply with EU fiscal rules. Both are unpalatable measures before elections planned by May and amid deepening political divisions ... Read More

Liberals table budget bill to join China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

The Globe and Mail (October 27, 2017)
The Liberal government has introduced a second large budget bill that includes a new law establishing Canada's participation in the Beijing- based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Bill C-63, Finance Minister Bill Moreno's second budget bill of the year, enacts a wide range of measures related to his March budget. Like the first budget bill, it is more than 300 pages, repeating a practice that has faced opposition ... Read More

GB Council approves Rs 2.4b budget for 2017-18

The Nation (October 26, 2017)
SKARDU - The Gilgit-Baltistan Council on Wednesday approved a budget with a total outlay of about Rs 2.4 billion for financial year 2017-18 to Gilgit- Baltistan. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who is also the Chairman of the Council, chaired the meeting. The Prime Minister in his remarks at the meeting said that the PML-N government was committed to the ... Read More

Lockheed CEO warns of potential order hit if US 'budget constraints' are not fixed

CNBC (October 24, 2017)
Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson warned Tuesday of potential order impacts if there are federal budget constraints beyond Dec. 8. A measure passed last month keeps the government operating through early December but also impacts the Pentagon's spending. The defense giant's CEO also urged Congress to address the budget caps to allow for more defenses spending that she sees as "vital to ... Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 2
October 24, 2017


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

BRAZIL: Government to Send Congress Changes To The 2018 Budget Bill

The financial Tribune (October 22, 2017)
(RTT News) - The Brazilian government will send to Congress the changes to the 2018 budget bill by the end of next week, Planning Minister Dyogo Oliveira said Thursday after a meeting with the Senate's speaker Eunício Oliveira. "The speaker asked about the deadline for sending the complementary piece of the budget, and I said we are preparing everything to send it by the end of next week...Read More

Women farmers present 'charter of demand' to minister

The Business Recorder(October 21, 2017)
Oxfam Pakistan and Indus Consortium organized a rural women's convention where over 80 women farmers from five districts of Punjab, presented a "charter of demands" to the Minister Environment Protection Zakia Shah Nawaz.The charter demands the approval of the Climate Change Policy with proper resource allocation for smallholder women farmers and their participation in budget decision making. The convention...Read More

Budget Deficit Hits $666 Billion, an $80 Billion Spike for the Year

The flathead Beacon(October 20, 2017)
WASHINGTON - The federal budget deficit rose to $666 billion in the just-completed fiscal year, a spike that comes as Republicans are moving to draft a tax code rewrite that promises to add up to $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the coming decade. The sobering deficit numbers, released Friday by the Treasury Department and the White House budget office, followed Senate passage Thursday night of a 10-year budget...Read More

Academics want bigger budget for education sector in 2018

New Straits Times (October 19, 2017)
KUALA LUMPUR: Public universities will attract the cream of the crop when there is more money pumped into the sector. National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan said more allocation for public universities would mean better quality teachers and ultimately higher standards of instructions provided in schools.He said a larger budget for both the Education and Higher Education...Read More

Zimbabwe Says to Slash Budget Deficit despite Looming Elections

New York Times (October 18, 2017)
HARARE - Zimbabwe plans to cut its budget deficit by half next year to 4 percent of GDP, the national Treasury said, an ambitious goal at a time when the country is expected to hold a presidential vote that veteran President Robert Mugabe is set to contest. The southern African country has over the last four years failed to cut its deficit despite promises to do so, mainly due to high government spending on public sector...Read More

Colombia's Congress Approves $80 Billion Budget for 2018

US News (October 18, 2017)
BOGOTA (Reuters) Colombia's congress approved an $80 billion budget for 2018 on Wednesday, in a bid to retain the country's 'BBB' credit rating, and the finance minister said the government would not issue more international bonds. Policymakers have been grappling for over two years with the twin pressures of a weak economy, caused by the global drop in oil prices, and inflation...Read More

Financing Framework for dealing with climate change unveiled

The Dawn (October 17, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) unveiled on Monday a 'Climate Change Financing Framework' (CCFF) structured to respond to climate change and promote rationalizing climate finance, starting from the planning stage and creating a robust monitoring system that can gauge the adequacy and effectiveness of financing. The framework aims to make existing responses to the...Read More

Greek January-September Government Budget Surplus Slightly Below Target on Lower Revenues

The New York Times(October 16, 2017)
ATHENS- Greece's central government attained a primary budget surplus of 4.5 billion Euros (£4 billion) in the first nine months of the year, slightly below target due to lower tax revenues, finance ministry data showed on Monday. The government's target was for a primary budget surplus - which excludes debt-servicing costs - of 4.556 billion Euros for the January-to-September period, meaning the surplus missed the...Read More

J&K government issues guidelines to accelerate development works, streamline budget spending

The Indian Express (October 16, 2017)
To streamline departmental spending in order to accelerate the pace of development works in the state, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday told all its department heads that all unutilized funds above 30 per cent of their respective budgetary allocation would get automatically forfeited after December 31...Read More

The Republican budget is a gift to billionaires: it's Robin Hood in reverse

The Guardian (October 16, 2017)
After failing to pass a "healthcare" bill that would have thrown up to 32 million Americans off of health insurance, a bill that was more unpopular than the Wall Street bailout, Donald Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress are back. Now, they are pushing one of the most destructive and unfair budget and tax proposals in the modern history of our country - a plan that would do incalculable harm to tens of millions...Read More

Speakers for educating on Budget tracking process

DAWN News(October 16, 2017)
SWABI: Speakers at a workshop here on Sunday said that it would be difficult to use the available resources for solution of people's problems without educating them on budget tracking process and enabling them to play their role in utilization of funds. The workshop was organized by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) under the European-funded project titled...Read More

State budget compromise remains elusive

The CT post(October 14, 2017)
HARTFORD - Legislative leaders say they are making steady, if slow, progress in negotiations on the long-stalled state budget for the two fiscal years that started July 1.Gov. Dannel P. Malloy isn't so sure. The governor is concerned that a compromise document on which he might be asked to sign off before an anticipated special session during the week of October 23 may contain unacceptable...Read More

Portugal draft budget sees 2018 growth of 2.2 pct

Kitco News (October 13, 2017)
LISBON, (Reuters) - Portugal's Socialist government expects economic growth to slow to 2.2 percent in 2018, down from 2.6 percent this year, the government's draft budget showed on Friday. The document forecast the budget deficit to fall to 1 percent of gross domestic product next year from 1.4 percent this year...Read More

Budget 2018 criticized for leaving Louth citizens with disabilities behind

Dundalk Democrat (October 12, 2017)
"The report revealed that according to summary results by the Central Statistics Office, based on last year's census, there are as many as 20,662 citizens or 13.6% of the population of Louth/East Meath recorded as having a disability."As the number of people affected by specific types of disabilities is not currently available - (this data from the 2016 census is expected in early November)-the Oireachtas Library used data...Read More

Gross debit to soar to 68.7 percent of GDP in 2018: IMF

The Business Recorder (October 12, 2017)
The International Monetary Fund has projected an increase in Pakistan government gross debt - by 0.7 percent - to 68.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018 against 68 percent in 2017. According to the IMF "Fiscal Monitor, tackling inequality," it has been projected that the government gross debt would rise to 68.7 percent of the GDP in 2018 and then decline to 68.2 percent in 2019...Read More

Ahead of elections: Pakistan restricts deficit, sparking hopes of fiscal discipline

Express Tribune (October 11, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has managed to restrict the overall budget deficit to Rs324 billion in the first quarter in the wake of strict controls over federal development spending, giving early hopes of fiscal discipline in an election year. In July-September quarter of the current fiscal year, the budget deficit of Rs324 billion was equal to...Read More

Budget Deficit Reduced to 0.9% of GDP-First Quarter FY18

The Research Snipers (October 10, 2017)
Last year Pakistan's budget deficit of the first quarter (July-September) of the financial year was noted at the number of rupees 438 billion whereas the recordings of this year are at rupees 324 billion. This year's budget deficit is because of the vigorous tax collections and minimum spending.Talking in terms of GDP the deficit generally decreased to 0.9% during the July to September quarter of the running financial year as compared to the...Read More

Delia: Budget confirms the government 'has no plan'

Malta Today (October 09, 2017)
Budget 2018 did not adequately address pensions, traffic and infrastructure, tourism and education, according to Opposition leader Adrian Delia in his first official reaction follow the budget presentation. On pensions, Delia said the government did not focus on the second pillar of healthcare. "The government left them where they were. The Nationalist party will see that pensioners are treated as a resource, not a burden...Read More

PN: Budget shows government lacks a plan

The times of Malta (October 09,2017)
The Opposition is ready to help the government because it is showing it has no plan for today, tomorrow or the future, Opposition leader Adrian Delia said in an initial reaction to the Budget. "If you were stuck in traffic today, you will still be stuck in traffic tomorrow. If you cannot make ends meet today, you will be in the same position tomorrow. If you have poor working...Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 1
October 12, 2017


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Trump's New Budget Threatens to Kick Millions Off Food Stamps

The Root (October 09, 2017)
Although Donald Trump ran as a champion of the poor and working class (and many whites in those socioeconomic groups voted for him), the only thing the "president" seems to be draining is the federal budget for his golf outings. Adding insult to injury, a new budget resolution put forth by Trump and passed by the House of Representatives this week will push millions off of food stamps, leaving our most vulnerable-children and the elderly-food insecure, or even hungry. Newsweek reports that over $150 ... Read More

CSOs & citizens trained in skills to improve local governance

The News (October 07, 2017)
PESHAWAR: Members of several Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and citizens were trained in leadership and advocacy skills, citizen report card and budget tracking at a capacity building workshop arranged here to improve local governance. The Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) arranged the workshop under a European Union-funded project. Titled "Democratic Local Governance for Development in Pakistan", the project is jointly implemented by CPDI and Friedrich ... Read More

CBO: Federal budget deficit rises to $668 billion

The Spokesman (October 06, 2017)
WASHINGTON - The federal government ran a $668 billion budget deficit for the just-completed 2017 fiscal year, according to a new government report. That's $82 billion more red ink than the government produced last year. The Congressional Budget Office based its findings on preliminary Treasury reports. The worsening deficit picture comes as Congress digs into its pockets for tens of billions of dollars more for hurricane relief. Lawmakers are also working toward a round of tax cuts that ... Read More

Budget plan sets the stage for Republican tax reform

The CS Monitor (October 06, 2017)
Washington - The House has passed a $4.1 trillion budget plan that promises deep cuts to social programs while paving the way for Republicans to rewrite the tax code later this year. The 2018 House GOP budget reprises a controversial plan to turn Medicare into a voucher-like program for future retirees as well as the party's efforts to repeal the "Obamacare" health law. Republicans controlling Congress have no plans to actually implement those cuts while they pursue their tax overhaul. That's especially so in ... Read More

House Approves Budget Plan that Would Cut Federal Employee Benefits

Government Executive (October 05, 2017)
House lawmakers voted 219-206 Thursday to approve a resolution outlining the body’s fiscal 2018 budget priorities, which include a number of controversial cuts to federal employees’ retirement and benefits programs. The House’s budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 71) asks 11 committees to come up with a total of $1.5 trillion in spending cuts through budget reconciliation, setting the stage for Republicans' ... Read More

Morneau prepares fall update as PBO report shows improving federal finances

The Globe and Mail (October 06, 2017)
Finance Minister Bill Morneau is preparing a fall update that is expected to show the federal fiscal landscape is improving along with the strengthening economy. Mr. Morneau met with private-sector economists Thursday in Toronto to hear their assessments and recommendations. While they did not release their numbers, the consensus forecasts for GDP growth have increased to about 3 per cent for 2017, up from the ... Read More

CPEC toll income to be thrice the budget of Pakistan: BoI

The News (October 05, 2017)
LAHORE: Only the toll income generated by the route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), after the completion of the project by 2030, will be three times of the national budget of Pakistan, an official said on Wednesday. “It is on top of the business, economic, and employment creating activities of special economic zones (SEZs), and other industries,” Zulfiqar Ali, director Board of Investment (BoI) said while briefing Lahore Economic Journalist ... Read More

Senate Budget Committee advances 2018 budget plan

Washington Times (October 05, 2017)
The Senate Budget Committee advanced its 2018 fiscal blueprint on Thursday, moving forward on Republican plans to fast- track a tax reform package hours after the full House passed its own 2018 spending outline. The approximately $1 trillion spending plan for 2018 that advances to the Senate floor projects a $641 billion deficit for the current fiscal year, but ... Read More

Lawmakers Urge Cuts That Have Least Impact on Services

The US News (October 05, 2017)
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A legislative committee is asking Montana's governor to make budget cuts that have the least impact on services to vulnerable citizens. The Legislative Finance Committee met this week to review $227 million in proposed cuts ... Read More

House Passes Budget Blueprint, Taking Step Toward Tax Overhaul

The New York Times (October 05, 2017)
WASHINGTON - The House took the first major legislative step Thursday toward enacting a promised overhaul of the tax code, approving a budget blueprint that would allow a future tax bill to pass Congress without any Democratic votes. ... Read More

Karak nazmi's claims of budget approval contested

The Dawn (October 04, 2017)
KARAK: District nazim Dr Umer Daraz Khattak on Tuesday claimed that a provincial committee headed by local government minister Inaytullah Khan had accorded approval to the budget of Karak for 2017-18 ... Read More