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Apropos a news item 'Non-duty paid cigarettes: most of manufacturers operating in KPK' carried by Business Recorder on 26th May, seems to be a "gross distortion" of facts. It looks as if a powerful lobby of foreign origins in the tobacco multinationals seems to be the source of this story with overt objectives of harming the indigenous but nascent tobacco industry of Pakistan.

State Bank of Pakistan in its Saturday's monetary policy statement announced introduction of "Target Rate", as its new policy rate, which is 50 basis points below the ceiling rate, aiming to keep overnight money market rates (repo rate) close to the target rate.
This refers to a letter "A nuclear Iran" carried by the newspaper recently. Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was reported to have said that he would rather see no deal reached with major powers on his country's nuclear programme than one that undercut national interests. These comments that he made as US Secretary of State John Kerry met Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif for a second time on the sidelines of a security conference in Germany to ratchet up efforts for a lasting nuclear accord sent a strong message across. That Iran has survived US/Western sanctions in a dignified manner is a fact that led to a nuclear deal between West and Iran a few weeks ago. Khamenei was really on the ball when he said that he agreed with a deal that can take pace but he did not agree with what he described "a bad deal". No doubt, Rouhani-led government has not cut a bad deal at all; it has rather demonstrated an example of steadfastness and consistency on the issue. This success of Tehran, however, will lack legitimacy if the Islamic fails to alleviate deep concerns of the Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has done a great favour to the nation by quickly disagreeing with FBR Chairman's idea to impose a tax on remittances. Money sent by overseas Pakistanis is earned in foreign countries, which is the lifeline of our economy. I hope this is not politics to discourage good work.
Business Recorder's regular op-ed writers "Huzaima Bukhari and Dr Ikramul Haq" have underscored the need for the creation of "National Taxation Authority". In this regard, they have argued, inter alia: "For harnessing the full tax potential at federal, provincial and local government levels, National Tax Authority (NTA) is the need of the hour. Through consensus and democratic process, all the parliaments can enact laws for establishing an autonomous NTA that would facilitate people to deal with single Revenue Authority rather than multiple agencies at national, provincial and local levels. The mode and working of NTA can be discussed and finalised under Council of Common Interests [Article 153] and its control can be placed under National Economic Council [Article 156]." No doubt, this is a very important proposal towards expanding the country's woeful tax base. But the question is: Will the proposed NTA deliver? I have strong doubts about government's sincerity towards the creation of an equitable and judicious taxation system. The writers too have no confidence in our parliamentarians in this regard. According to them, "[i]n these columns since long (present series started on April 10, 2015) we have been presenting concrete suggestions for reconfiguring of tax system to raise revenues of Rs 8 trillion, but no notice has been taken by those who matter in the land to make these a part of debate and discourse on national budget making process. This shows extreme apathy on the part of so-called "experts" who have never produced a single working paper on the issues of fiscal challenges faced by Pakistan and how to meet them by devising a comprehensive policy and implementation plan having short-term, medium-term and long-term goals and objectives." Although their pessimism about the future of the country depresses me, there is nothing wrong with being a pessimist.
The Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories Manufacturer (PAAPAM) have appealed to the FBR Chairman to immediately withdraw regulatory duty (RD) on imports of raw materials (CRC/HRC/Pipes/Tubes) by auto parts manufacturers under SRO 655. The following reasons have been given: 1) application of RD has escalated material costs rendering them uncompetitive, 2) that RD has been applied in a non cascading manner as RD not put on finished auto parts, 3) raw materials imported because they are either not manufactured in the country or not of auto grade, 4) damage being caused to auto parts manufacturers and potential closure of plants and loss of jobs and livelihood.
This refers to Saida Fazal's "GCC states and their Iran problem" carried by the newspaper yesterday. The writer has argued, among things, that "Tehran is not going to attack any of these [GCC] countries. But it supports anti-status quo forces, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in occupied Gaza and the larger Palestinian freedom struggle. It also props up the Assad regime, which even though authoritarian- like all Arab states in the Gulf region- has a liberal, progressive outlook on regional affairs, and hence is a thorn in the side of both Gulf kingdoms and Israel. Tehran's increasing influence with popular movements threatens the existing order."


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Banking Review 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.795 bln
Exports $1.995 bln
Imports $3.790 bln
WeeklyMay 26, 2015
Reserves $17.749 bln