Archive for June, 2014

Govt blindly following global economic order

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Sale of profitable national assets to bridge deficit criticised
CNG sector again faces conspiracies of an influential group
The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday lamented sale of profitable national assets to bridge budget deficit terming it a roll-call of blunders.
Policymakers are too much focused on reducing deficit which has pushed them into IMF trap, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President of PEW.
Government should have initiated privatization with the sale of unprofitable units after some reforms as sale of national assets amounts to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that quick sale of state-owned companies cannot be justified under any circumstances as earlier privatizations have never proved fruitful.

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Ogra delaying important decisions

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Hydrocarbon regulator failed to take any major decision in 1.5 years
The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Wednesday said the top officials of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) have been avoiding important decisions since long pushing the critical energy sector to uncertainty.
The oil and gas sector regulator could not take a single important decision during last one and a half years due to lack of quorum.
As per the law, Ogra needs consent of at least three members to reach a decision which could not be materialised pushing the gas utilities, foreign and local investors, LPG and CNG sector in abject uncertainty, he added.
Murtaza Mughal said that the Supreme Court relieved member finance of Ogra a year back but he has not relinquished charge; he has not attended office since the decision but continue to get salary which is not only amazing but also violation of the court’s decision.

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Budget promotes landed aristocracy

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Govt claims on agri tax questioned
The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday questioned government claims about agriculture tax fearing that this tax would not be imposed during the PML-N rule.
It is highly unlikely that the incumbent government would tax agricultural income of absentee landlords to put economy on tract and end dependence on loans and grants, it said.
The top officials of the federal government say that provinces are not willing to tax landholders while ignoring the fact that their own party is ruling Punjab since seven years, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

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Govt’s expenditure underestimated in the budget: PEW

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Development budget may be slashed to boost savings
Emphasis on stabilisation to discourage development, delay reforms
The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said reduction in the development budget has become imperative as government’s income has been overestimated while expenditure has been played down in the budget 2014-15.
The government’s focus on savings pushed it to cut last year’s development budget by Rs 115 billion due to missed revenue targets. There was little success in curtailing expanses as expenditure allocations were enhanced by Rs 83 billion in 2013-14.
The situation may not change this year forcing government to slash current Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) worth Rs 525 billion, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

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Tax revenue overestimated in the budget:PEW

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Budget prefers politics over economy
The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday said Government income due to taxation has been miscalculated in the budget as Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) tax collection target of Rs 2810 billion is unachievable.
Government has failed to broaden the tax base leading it to increase burden on existing taxpayers and to widen the scope Withholding Tax (WHT) as well as indirect taxation, it said.
The FBR has planned to meet the target through reliance on utility bills, collecting Rs 50 billion through WHT, and other initiatives but it would miss the target as usual, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

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Power sector budget based on assumptions: PEW

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Ignoring ground realities can result in acute energy crisis
The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Wednesday said power sector budget is based on assumptions of the policymakers which will not improve situation but result in acute energy crisis compromising GDP growth.
Government has expected a lot from dysfunctional power sector which will prove wrong by the passage of time, it said.
A modest amount of Rs 115 billion has been allocated for Wapda and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, subsidy of PEPCO has been reduced by almost Rs 90 billion while nothing has been earmarked for retiring the circular debt assuming that power sector is capable enough to handle it, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

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Budget to disappoint masses: PEW

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The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said that budget will disappoint masses, increase unemployment and poverty and reduce exports.
Only poor will feel pain of the IMF-backed austerity measures imposed on the poor to reduce the budget deficit, it said.
Government has moved a little to expand tax net while focusing on existing taxpayers which will prompt tax theft to keep economy destabilised and dependent on foreign loans, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.
The policymakers have decided not to annoy traders and large part of the business community that don’t want to pay taxes, he noted.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that the government is more interested in executing projects that can result in their swift popularity rather than resolving real issues confronting economy.

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PRCS to increase number of volunteers to five million by 2015

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PRCS on way to achieve self-sufficiency: Chairman Dr Saeed Elahi
PRCS asked to enhance its scope of activitis: Dr. Murtaza Mughal
The Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) on Monday said it has decided to pay special attention to volunteerism to increase the number of volunteers to five million by the next year.
Helping humanity is a noble endeavour and all those engaged in it deserve to be commended for their selfless community services, said PRCS Chairman Dr Saeed Elahi.
Talking to Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President of the Pakistan Economy Watch, he said that we have decided to unleash power of volunteerism to help humankind during natural and man-made disasters.
Dr Saeed Elahi, who has also served as health minister Punjab said that formulating a motivated and committed human capital so that they can make a difference in someone’s life.

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