The global chatterbox is in full swing after last Saturday when the Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the latest Indian budget of Modi Raj. Among several proposals that he discussed, Pakistan should pay close attention to the new law against curbing black money both domestically and internationally.
Scores of youth in Pakistan remain unemployed; millions more currently enrolled in schools may soon be unemployed. What does this young lot need? Nothing but employment opportunities! But what are government agencies doing on that front?
Aligning the ministries involved in the energy sector and improving the governance of all related federal and provincial departments as well as regulators; this was the key step that the PMLN government intended to take as mentioned in its manifesto and in its National Power Policy 2013.
The budget season has begun. Possibly one of the first in the series of annual pre-budget seminars was held earlier week. Called the National Tax Summit, the seminar was jointly organised by the SDPI and Oxfam Pakistan. But for those who already follow Pakistans economy - such as the readers of this column - the seminar offered little new to discuss, though of course for no fault of the organisers or the speakers. The fault lies in our stars.
Pakistan recorded highest ever January urea off-take and second highest ever January DAP off-take at the start of 2015. This surge came after a lacklustre 2014, in terms of nitrogenous fertilizer off-take. Recall that urea off-take had been declining steadily over the years despite flattish prices in the last 12 months. Although the year-on-year increase in January urea off-take is paltry, channel check suggests an improving farmers economy promises a bright year for fertilizer intake.
Commodity prices have nosedived in international markets, but apart from oil, the consumers of Pakistan have really not benefited from this decline. Intense lobbying by business cartels, political elite, influential landlords and large manufacturers assured that the gains were booked at their end, instead of the public at large. These monopolistic practices are not only passing consumer surplus to the producers kitty but also creating deadweight loss that is hurting the economic growth potential.
Senior managers of Indus Motor Company presumably drive around in Fortunes, Altis or even bossy Prados. The Honda guys zip around proudly in Civics. But the poor devils at Pakistan Suzuki Motor Company are stuck with Liana and Cultus. But not anymore! Very soon, the PSMC head honchos will also be turning heads with stylish new sports sedans.