Stories about budget

Pakistan’s population conundrum

Amidst all the politicking over economic recovery, a crucial element that is missing from the mainstream narrative is the uncontrolled population growth in Pakistan. The recent census revealed that Pakistan’s population has skyrocketed to approximately 208 million. This is an alarming situation because any effort to stir economic development will be undermined if the population keeps growing at this rate. Realising the constraints overpopulation can have on a developing country’s socio-economic development, most countries in the region implemented policies that significantly decelerated population growth in a relatively short amount of time. As a result, Bangladesh currently has an annual population ...

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First the dam fund, now the ‘Lets Clean Karachi’ fund – what do we pay taxes for?

Two teenagers were riding a donkey cart full of garbage they had collected from houses towards a garbage dump located behind a ground known as Eid Gah in Karachi’s Gulberg Town. After reaching the spot, the boys emptied the garbage and the horrid smell forces passers-by’s to cover their noses.  Every month, representatives from a local governing body collect Rs100 from each house in Gulberg Town for the facilitation of garbage disposal. However, the waste material is neither disposed of nor is it recycled properly. Ultimately, no one knows where the money that had been collected from the pockets of ...

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Budget2019-20: Is PTI’s budget for the people, the IMF or the country?

If there is one day when the entire nation has its eyes glued to the screen – apart from the elections or a Pakistan-India cricket match – that has to be the day the budget is announced. From the common man to industrialists, all pin their hopes on the government to see which direction the drivers of our economy are taking the nation. This time the government had a choice – either please the masses or please the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Of course, ultimately, the government is choice-less. To put things into perspective, never has the government been ...

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Taking from the poor, giving to the stock brokers – who is PTI’s priority?

The incumbent government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has just increased the price of petrol by Rs4.26 per litre and it intends to introduce more indirect taxes in the upcoming budget in order to minimise the deficit in the budget. However, surprisingly, recently the PTI government approved a package of around Rs20 billion for stock exchange brokers and it was termed as a package to end the uncertainty in the Pakistan Stock Exchange and give confidence to the stock market. However, since the package is actually being given to the wealthier stock brokers, it begs the question that at a time when ...

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Buying a used car? Here’s a guide to avoid scams and regret

After all the hard work and saving every penny, you are all set to buy your first car. You are now ready to say goodbye to the frantic public transport system or the unsafe two-wheeler. At this point, it is extremely important to take precaution to avoid wasting your hard earned money. Not everyone can afford the high cost of buying a new car, which is why most of the ambitious car buyers prefer to purchase used cars. Chances are that inexperienced buyers often become prey of tricky dealers and regret their decisions later. The steps listed in this guide ...

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Make matriculation/high school compulsory to vote

On July 25th, Pakistan’s fate, at least for the next five years, will be in its own hands. The future will come down to all of us as we make certain choices in that polling booth. Some of us will still be thinking, weighing pros and cons, measuring the benefits, and calculating the risks. But most of us would have likely made up our minds on who to vote for before judgement day. The next day, Pakistan, a sovereign state since 1947, will see only the second successive transition in democratic power. But I have a question: are all people informed enough to ...

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Budget 2017-2018: Is Pakistan really on the upward trajectory?

With much fanfare and hoopla, Ishaq Dar and company announced the annual budget for the nation this past Friday. It was budget as usual, delivered with haughty claims of turnarounds and opportunities within reach. Even before the budget had been announced, the Ministry of Finance had been subliminally pushing figures into the media to soften any surprises. While Pakistan missed its growth target of 5.7% from last year, it still achieved a growth of around 5.3%. This puts the country in the company of companies that are over $300 billion dollars in size.  The year over year (YoY) growth, while lower than the target, is still the ...

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Dear Bilawal (Zardari), please read a newspaper so you know what Sindh is going through

Dear Mr Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, It has been reported that you are behind the move to remove some ministers in the Sindh cabinet and appoint new ones. Of course, this is nothing new, all over the world ministers are sacked and replaced if they do not perform satisfactorily. Usually what happens is that new and competent people are chosen to run the government. With all due respect, I, for one, feel that nothing will change by sacking some ministers and replacing them with others. The people of Sindh will continue to suffer due to the absolute lack of governance in the ...

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Will the people of Punjab stand up for education? Because the government just cut the budget – again

“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.” (Thomas Payne) In the midst of so much uncertainty there is one thing in Pakistan that can be predicted with absolute confidence: administrative policy. We can rest assured that the average reprobate and hanger-on populating the federal and provincial assemblies will do everything possible to prevent the nation from progressing. Case in point: the Punjab Assembly has cut the budget allocation for the education sector from 21% in the last fiscal year to 18.6% for 2016-17. Furthermore, the allocation of 21% in the last fiscal year was 3% down from the previous year, which in turn was down ...

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Why the Punjab budget is useless

Each year, as Member Punjab Assembly (MPA), when I returned home after the budget speech with a pile of hefty books containing the budget documents, I found myself more interested in the supplementary budget than in the budget statement itself. It seems more productive to focus on what the government has actually done instead of what it expects and promises to do. While a budget statement would give you an insight into what revenues a government expects to generate, and the expenditures it intends to make in the coming year, a supplementary budget gives you a report of what the government actually made and spent ...

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