In 2001 when Greece officially joined the Euro, who would have thought that in just over a decade things would be where there are. On Sunday, the anti-austerity government of Greece won a decisive victory in the referendum as over 61 percent of Greeks voted ‘no’ in a hastily called referendum. The government received the victory in every region of Greece.
The IMF was told last month there will be a revision in natural gas tariffs come July 1, 2015. It came and went, without any notification or even indication of a notification regarding revised gas tariffs. Recall that gas tariffs, which are supposedly a biannual affair, were last touched two years ago. Any attempt in that territory, ever since, has been resisted, mostly based on political compulsions, despite the IMFs restlessness.
Things really hit the fan last week when APTMA announced the voluntary closure of textile mills. On Friday, it was reported that around 30 percent of textile mills had shut down their operations owing to lack of competitiveness.
On July 1st, 2015, the State Bank of Pakistan sent out its first tweet: "SBP is pleased to join the social media on its 67th anniversary. Governor SBP," it tweeted from "@StateBank_Pak" account. And with that it took its first step into the world of social media.
Anybody who has been following the recent activities of Punjab Food Authority should be left appalled and impressed at the same time. Appalled because of the kind of famous food joints and bakeries that have been caught with their pants down on account of their repelling, dirty and unhygienic kitchen conditions; impressed, because, well, there is at least one authority in this country that is actually working to protect consumer interests whereas those in the rest of the country are mostly sleeping.
IMF has applauded the government’s efforts in meeting both quantitative and qualitative targets. Many of the structural benchmarks have been met while a few are lagging behind owing to legal challenges and depressed commodity prices. Is this something to be proud of? Not at all!
Economic growth is not likely to pick up in FY16 and in the medium to long term; there are challenges and serious risks to repaying foreign debt including loans obtained from the IMF.
The government has been tinkering with the import regime for iron and steel since the beginning of this year. In January, the Federal Government imposed 15 percent regulatory duty on the import of wire rods, steel bars and billets.