As if there wasn enough happening in the Pak-US relations arena, recent corruption charges on the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop - the group contracted by USAID to produce the local version of Sesame Street, Sim Sim Hamara - dealt another unpleasant blow.
The Senate Standing Committee on Finance, it appears, is not content with the budgeted subsidy amount for power sector in the Federal Budget FY13. It wants the power subsidy sector for the upcoming fiscal to be half a trillion rupees - Rs.81 billion more than the revised amount in FY12.
With just a few hours remaining before the announcement of the State Banks monetary policy, consensus appears to be building about the expectation that the central bank will leave the benchmark rate unchanged.
With the energy situation reaching the cusp of collapse, the E&P sector stumbles under the messy mispricing of hydrocarbons which has led to an accelerated depletion of indigenous gas reserves versus production from the new discoveries. So much for the importance of the oil and gas sector, the Budget FY13 remained largely voiceless on the E&P front.
The struggling textile industry of the country had hoped for some respite in the recently announced Federal Budget. But industry representatives lament that the fiscal plan has little for them.
The Economic Survey 2011-2012 shows that textile exports declined by 9.6 percent in July-April 2011-2012, mostly due to decline in international demand and the energy crisis. Value-added items such as knitwear, bed wear, towels and readymade garments exports also showed negative growth.
Telecommunications is amongst the most heavily-taxed sectors in Pakistan. The telecom operators have long been lobbying the government for a reduction in the GST rate of 19.5 percent, which is collected in FED mode. The Federal Budget for next fiscal year did offer tax relief to a number of sectors and industries, but the telecom subscribers seem to be left out again for any respite.