Stories about budget

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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Will the Budget 2015-16 be merciful to the common man?

Zeenat Bibi lives in a small city in interior Sindh; she works as a housemaid to make ends meet. Every year she works harder and secretly hopes that her life will get better this time around. She hopes she can earn enough money to purchase sufficient food for her children, send them to school, and buy new clothes for them on Eid. But she is disappointed each time, because the harder she works, the higher the inflation rates soar, making life even more difficult for her than what it was in the past year. The life of a common man in ...

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Wagon-wheel pasta: A little taste of Tuscany on your Pakistani plate

So if you are amongst 95% of the people of the world, you are probably intimidated by cooking. So was I, once upon a time. To look at a well-cooked dish was like looking at the great pyramids; fascinating and intriguing, but a mystery as to how it was built. But watching Nigella Lawson cook, who made it look like a piece of cake, inspired me to start cooking. And to avoid any complications, I started developing my own simple recipes. And if I can cook, trust me, so can you. Unless you have a cooking-phobia and faint upon stepping into ...

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Are you a true football fan or a Pakistani football fan?

In Pakistan, summers usually have a few trademarks. These include myriad lawn brands, juicy mangoes, skin infections and a never-ending spree of load shedding. This year, however, a peculiar viral disease hit the urban areas of Pakistan in form of the FIFA World Cup 2014. Pakistan is not amongst the ‘big boys’ in football and the national team has never qualified for World Cup matches, yet the football fever still, somehow, hits Pakistan each time there is a football tournament taking place. The English Premier League has only recently attracted a substantial number of followers from Pakistan, but people have been following the ...

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We should have seen it coming…

In hindsight, I suppose we should have seen it coming. Karachi had been a great city, once called the Queen of the East, but for a long time now it had become unlivable, given the daily killings, terrorist attacks, the rampant looting of pedestrians and motorists by armed gangs. We should have seen it coming. The city was the most highly taxed in the country, but no one knew what happened to the hard-earned money we gave as tax. It was widely believed, though, that our corrupt rulers were siphoning away most of the budget amount into their foreign ...

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