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Ali Khizar

Falling for predictions
Markets

Falling for predictions

Numbers are deceptive and forecasts are dangerous in unpredictable scenarios. Back in 2008, when oil prices were racing over $100 per barrel, forecasts of big global houses were approaching $200/bbl, a few months down the road prices nosedived, and the sa
Published 14 Apr, 2019 12:00am
Not all gloom and doom
Markets

Not all gloom and doom

Six months ago, the macroeconomic situation was worse but the sentiments were not that negative, and today with external imbalances are of lesser magnitude, but the sentiments are down. There is something missing in managing the markets, businesses and pe
Published 07 Apr, 2019 12:00am
Dealing with the energy mess
Print

Dealing with the energy mess

The power prices in Pakistan are probably the highest in the region, and are expected to go further high. To the surprise of many, the per capita energy consumption in Pakistan is not too low, but energy wastages are high. The inefficiencies in the genera
Published 31 Mar, 2019 12:00am
Follow the example of Sudan's Omar
Markets

Follow the example of Sudan's Omar

The incidence of cash holdings in Pakistan is too high, and it is growing fast - be it local or foreign currency. The utmost need is to bring the money back into the system for productive use. India did it through a demonetization exercise couple of years
Published 24 Mar, 2019 12:00am
New tax agency - tread with care
Print

New tax agency - tread with care

Earlier this week there were talks on replacing Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), if not reforming the institution. Most experts are converging to the point that FBR in its current state is irreparable. The more important problem is multiplicity of taxation
Published 17 Mar, 2019 12:00am
Taskforce fatigue
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Taskforce fatigue

The PTI government has formed numerous taskforces and advisory councils in various areas - economy, businesses, energy, housing, education, overseas Pakistanis, information technology, civil service and institutional reforms, to name a few. Six months in
Published 10 Mar, 2019 12:00am
The profundity of economic might
Print

The profundity of economic might

The current India-Pakistan standoff should be a wakeup call for everybody. We need to introspect why brotherly Muslim countries (mainly GCC) are not openly criticizing India on bullying Pakistan. Two decades back, in the Kargil fiasco or at the time of nu
Published 03 Mar, 2019 12:00am
Mending the Economy
Markets

Mending the Economy

Asad Umar and team started the innings with tough pricing measures to lower the twin deficit. The process is painstaking, and is resulting in a broad-based economic slowdown - numerous industries are taking tough cost cutting measures including layoffs an
Published 24 Feb, 2019 12:00am
Incentivizing local investors
Markets

Incentivizing local investors

Airbus has decided to discontinue its production of A380 which will perhaps take jobs of over three thousands of workers and technicians. Had Airbus been operating out of Pakistan, there would have been hue and cry on media that the rich company made prof
Published 17 Feb, 2019 12:00am
The NFC heat
Print

The NFC heat

The talks of 9th NFC have started; by no means is it going to be conclusive anytime soon. The need is to rethink the whole process of unfair revenue collection, skewed burden sharing, and wrong resource distribution where the spirit of devolution is simpl
Published 10 Feb, 2019 12:00am
PTI's long bet
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PTI's long bet

The economic reform package announced by the Finance Minister last week was more of a sentiment booster and was by no means an intervention to curb fiscal deficit. Most of the steps announced have negligible revenues implications. Any meaningful revenue i
Published 03 Feb, 2019 12:00am
Private sector needs more space
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Private sector needs more space

First time in two decades, domestic debt sustainability including PSE debt is in question; about 20 years back, the external debt servicing of the country was too high which was restructured and rescheduled then such as the Paris Club debt. Today, restruc
Published 27 Jan, 2019 12:00am
Time to strengthen SBP's MPC
Markets

Time to strengthen SBP's MPC

The economic team, including SBP, is taking too much time to make moves, and in the process taking some unwarranted decisions. The disposition was not much different for previous regimes; but the learning curve is proving to be too costly as there are not
Published 20 Jan, 2019 12:00am
Tackling the energy mess
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Tackling the energy mess

Last week, Chief Justice of Pakistan took notice of excess payment made to a few independent power plants (IPPs) in relation to the circular debt. These IPPs have been accused of seeking rent and making money above the government contractual obligations,
Published 13 Jan, 2019 12:00am
Take more 'good' U-turns
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Take more 'good' U-turns

Last week, the finance minister took a smart U-turn on petroleum prices by not passing the full benefit of oil prices fall to consumers, and he did it innovatively by adjusting the petroleum levy (PL) while fixing the GST at 17 percent. The upward limit o
Published 06 Jan, 2019 12:00am