Issue 35

Budget Study Centre   Issue 35
March 07, 2019


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Finance bill ushers in sweeping ‘incentives’ for banks, industry and green field investors

The Dawn (Mar 07, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: The PTI government in its second Finance Supplementary Bill, 2019 has agreed to introduce 10 major amendments to the Finance Act 2019 with most related to boosting investment. Of all the recommendations, five are related to income tax measures, one caters to sales tax, two to customs and one for federal excise duty. These amendments will come into effect retrospectively from July 1. However, the sales tax, customs and federal excise duty will come … Read More

Second mini-budget gets NA nod amid protest

The Express Tribune (Mar 07, 2019)

The National Assembly on Wednesday approved the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s second mini-budget amid opposition’s uproar and boycott, allowing non-filers of the income tax returns to purchase luxury cars while also extending the super tax indefinitely. Although Finance Minister Asad Umar described his second mini-budget in five months as a reform package that will also boost industries and trade, he has taken certain… Read More

‘Biotechnology can transform Pakistan’s economy’

Express Tribune (Mar 06, 2019)

FAISALABAD: A close and productive working relationship between the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), National Textile University (NTU) and National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetics Engineering (NIBGE) is imperative to reorganise the industrial sector on modern scientific lines. Addressing the FCCI Standing Committee on Technical Training and Industry-Academia Linkages, NIBGE Director Dr Shahid Mansoor…Read More

Govt approves Rs8b addl budget for PAF, others

The Pakistan Observer(Mar 06, 2019)

Islamabad: The government on Tuesday approved nearly Rs8 billion supplementary budget to meet additional needs of the Pakistan Air Force and civilian armed forces, seeking financial assessment of further defence needs of the country in wake of tensions with India.
The Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet approved the additional budget for the PAF and management of western borders by civil-armed forces, said the Finance Ministry officials. It has…Read More

Govt now focusing on promotion of NFIS targets three million new jobs, $5.5bn additional exports by 2023

The Pakistan Today (Mar 05, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: The government has set a target of creating at least three million new jobs and additional exports of $5.5 billion by 2023. National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS), according to the Ministry of Finance, will enhance the usage of digital payments to 65 million active digital transaction accounts, increase deposit-to-GDP ratio to 55pc, promote financing to 700,000 small and medium enterprises, increase agricultural finance disbursements to Rs.1.8 trillion, serve…Read More

Govt now focusing on promotion of economic growth, PM Khan tells business leaders

Dawn (Mar 05, 2019)

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said that after overcoming the “most difficult challenge” of stabilising the economy during the first six months of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)-led government, the focus is now on the promotion of economic growth in the country. In a meeting with a delegation of business community leaders and representatives, the premier said that with trade and investment being an important pillar of the government’s foreign policy, there was…Read More

GDP and foreign aid shrinking, Pakistan economy crosses a line of control

The Business Standard (Mar 04, 2019)

The recent flare-up with India has possibly lengthened the odds against Pakistan to get the foreign aid that it needs immediately. The choices are, principally, two: From China or the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Of the total foreign loans Pakistan raised in 2017-18, more than 40 per cent came from these two sources. Islamabad also raises commercial loans of approximately the same amount from abroad. Foreign loans from both streams account for 30 per cent of the country’s GDP…Read More

Sri Lanka Finance Minister burning midnight oil to finalize budget 2019

The Colombo Page (Mar 04, 2019)

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera is preparing to present the budget for 2019 in parliament on Tuesday, March 5. Seen here is the Minister finalizing the budget for the year with the Secretary to the Treasury Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga at his private residence in Gorakana, Panadura. “Finalizing the Budget 2019; Enterprise Sri Lanka, Empowering the people, nurturing the poor. Thanks to ST, Mano Tittawella, Deshal de Mel for burning the …Read More

AN IMF deal

The News (Mar 03, 2019)

There seem to be positive signs on the IMF front for Pakistan, now with Fitch Solutions too saying that it expects the country to reach a bailout agreement soon. However, all is not hunky dory, as Pakistan is expected to be pushed to pursue greater austerity measures. The expected $12 billion bailout deal will be twice the last bailout agreement, and is likely to come with severer conditions than before as the IMF will attempt to ensure that Pakistan does not return to it with a… Read More

Universities face financial emergency because of budget cuts

The News (Mar 03, 2019)

Islamabad : Vice Chancellors and Rectors of public sector universities say that they face a financial emergency because of budget cuts in the past three years. The issue was discussed at a two-day meeting held at the Higher Education Commission (HEC) where the university heads met to explore solutions to the financial crisis. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai, Chairman Vice Chancellors Committee, said that the recurring budget of the higher education sector is facing a …Read More

Lower House oks record ¥101 trillion budget for fiscal 2019

The Japan Times (Mar 02, 2019)

The Lower House approved a record ¥101.46 trillion ($913 billion) budget for fiscal 2019 early Saturday, ensuring its enactment before the new fiscal year begins on April 1. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition pushed the spending plan through the House of Representatives past midnight, after opposition lawmakers halted deliberations the previous day by submitting a no-confidence motion against labor minister Takumi Nemoto over his handling of a faulty
Read More

Soaring budget deficit getting out of economic managers’ control

The Pakistan Observer (Mar 02, 2019)

ISLAMABAD – The economic managers of the country might struggle to control the soaring budget deficit due to the massive shortfall in tax collection during eight months of the current fiscal year. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has faced massive shortfall of Rs230 billion in tax collection during July to February period of the year 2018-19 despite introducing mini budgets. The FBR had collected Rs2335 billion during eight months (July to February) of the ongoing ….Read More

Border line: State of Pakistan economy

The Economic Times (Mar 01, 2019)

Pakistan’s economy faces multiple challenges ranging from high inflation and a sharply deteriorating currency to foreign exchange reserves for about a few months of imports. Government’s finances are also in shambles with high fiscal deficit. Any escalation in hostilities will drag it down further…Read More

More Steps in budget for ease of doing business

The Express Tribune (Feb 28, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Thursday that the government had taken steps for the ease of doing business and was facilitating both domestic and foreign investors by offering various incentives including rationalisation of taxes. Talking to a visiting Singaporean business delegation, Umar revealed that more such steps were envisaged in the new budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2019-20. He told the delegation…Read More

India’s defence budget five times larger than Pakistan’s

The Times of India (Feb 28, 2019)

NEW DELHI: In 2018, India’s defence budget stood at $58bn, five times larger than Pakistan’s one. Also, Indian Army boasts of 12 lakh active troops, while Pakistan has mere 5.6 lakh personnel in its army. As tension between India and Pakistan escalates after strike by Indian Airforce at Jaish terror camps in Pakistan following a suicide bombing in Kashmir that killed 44 Indian security personnel. Here’s quick assessment of the two nation’s military might…Read More

Budget deficit hits six-year high says QWP leader

The News (Feb 27, 2019)

PESHAWAR: Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) leader and former senior minister Sikandar Sherpao on Tuesday criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for its flawed economic policies, saying that budget deficit had hit a six-year high. According to a press release issued from Watan Kor here, he was talking to a delegation of the QWP workers from the Buner district. Sikandar Sherpao said the budget deficit had reached Rs1.03 trillion in the first half of…Read More

Why is the economy not responding?

The Pakistan Today (Feb 27, 2019)

Nearly eight months down the road one is beginning to wonder that while the government is well meaning, its heart and mind are in the right place, its economic team is not only experienced and has has reasonably good credentials, but also seems correct in its policy direction, so why then is the Pak economy not responding. Could it be that the policymakers say one thing while they do another or is it that they are failing in combining to deliver the promised ‘ …Read More

Debate begins in NA on amendments to mini-budget

Dawn News (Feb 26, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: The proposed 55 amendments in the Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill 2019 were laid for discussion by state minister for parliamentary affairs on behalf of Finance Minister Asad Umar in the National Assembly on Monday. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan on Monday laid the proposed amendment report in the NA amid the opposition’s protest over the arrest of Sindh assembly’s speaker…Read More

Taiwan concerns mean China defense budget likely to defy slowing economy

The Reuters (Feb 26, 2019)

BEIJING (Reuters) – A slowing economy is unlikely to crimp China’s 2019 defense budget rise, as Beijing earmarks more spending for modernization and big-ticket items like stealth jets, and focuses on Taiwan after a stern new year’s speech from President Xi Jinping. The defense spending figure is closely watched worldwide for clues to China’s strategic intentions as it develops new military capabilities, including aircraft carriers and anti-satellite missiles…Read More

Sri Lanka may have to push IMF budget targets to 2020 or beyond

The Economy Next (Feb 25, 2019)

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka may have to renegotiate a more realistic budget deficit target for 2019 and beyond under a 1.5 billion dollar balance of payments relief program with the International Monetary Fund, an economist said.
“The consolidation is slower than the IMF forecast,” Standard Chartered Bank South Asia Economist Saurav Anand said at a media briefing. Sri Lanka was expected to reach a budget deficit of 3.6 percent in 2019 under the …Read More

The US can solve its trade problems while relaunching the world economy

CNBC News (Feb 25, 2019)

Pursuing one of American core national interests, the U.S. administration lost a multilateral dimension of its forceful quest to balance trade accounts. Washington’s unassailable trade case against China, the European Union, its North American neighbors and Japan is fundamentally an issue of world economy. Reducing that case to bilateral quarrels robs America of a powerful negotiating advantage, and of the high moral ground of a world leader. Buying more than half-a-trillion…Read More

Finance Ministry fince-tunes populist Budget 2019

The Sunday Times (Feb 24, 2019)

The Finance Ministry is now fine-tuning the upcoming budget 2019, the first by the United National Front (UNF) Government following the breakaway of the coalition with the SLFP, to be presented in parliament on March 5 amidst falling revenue, mounting public debt and severe balance of payments difficulties. Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera told a forum organised by American Chamber of Commerce this week that the upcoming budget 2019 will be “important and…Read More

Ballooning budget deficit contradicts PM’s claims

The Express Tribune (Feb 24, 2019)

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former finance minister Miftah Ismail has said the budget deficit has ballooned to Rs1,030 billion during the first six months of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s tenure. “This is the highest amount ever witnessed during the first six months of any government in the country’s 71-year history,” said the former finance minister in a statement on Saturday…Read More

Pakistan’s new Five Year Plan draft eyes 5.4% GDP growth rate

The Gulf Times (Feb 23, 2019)

The Planning Commission (PC) of Pakistan has shared the draft of highly ambitious 12th Five Year Plan. However, the leading economists have termed it ‘redundant framework’ in case the PTI-led government approaches the IMF for a fresh bailout package. The commission in its envisaged macroeconomic framework has set an average GDP growth target of 5.4%, jacking up allocation of development outlay to Rs11.7tn including Rs6.2tn at federal level in which Rs1tn will be financed…Read More

Budget 2019 likely to boost India’s education sector

The Digital Learning (Feb 23, 2019)

India’s Annual Budget decides the way ahead for different sectors in the country. In this year’s Budget, the Government has emphasised on education along with other sectors. How the Budget 2019-20 will pave way for improvement in education sector, observes Akhil Shahani, Managing Director, The Shahani Group, for Elets News Network (ENN). The acting Finance Minister, Piyush Goyal said that India is among the youngest nations in the world and the Government is…Read More

Mohammad Bin Salman looks east but worries about the west

The Haartez (Feb 22, 2019)

For the pigeon farmers of Islamabad it was a celebration. The authorities bought 3,500 pigeons from them for the birds to be released at this week’s reception ceremony for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Some 750 rooms in the capital’s grand hotels were reserved for the entourage, and it seems all the BMWs in the city were enlisted to drive the guests around. Pakistan’s highest civilian award was polished well before it was awarded to Mohammed, a…Read More

Pakistan to be among 5 biggest world economies by century end

The News (Feb 22, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umar said that Pakistan would be among five biggest economies of the world by the end of this century. He said that India’s decision to slap 200 percent duty on Pakistani products and withdrawal of Most Favored Nations (MFN) status was tantamount to harm New Delhi’s economy more instead of causing any loss to Pakistan. He also said that the differences with the IMF were narrowing down and discussions at technical levels were continued …Read More