The Old Rose Advisor, Volume II: Updated, Enlarged, and Revised Second Edition
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Sharply lower prices for energy products were seen during the month and reflected in this report. These figures are generally in line with expectations. The U. Conference Board announced that its consumer confidence index improved moderately in September from August's downwardly revised level. The index now stands at The Present Situation Index increased from These results are stronger than market expectations. Consumer confidence is an indicator of future spending patterns. The growth in June and July followed five consecutive monthly declines from January to May. The increase in July was led by mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction, manufacturing, and the finance and insurance sector.
These results are somewhat stronger than market expectations. GDP is the broadest measure of aggregate economic activity and encompasses every sector of the economy. This is a significant drop from August's The reading is below consensus expectations and indicates a deceleration in manufacturing activity within the region.
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Department of Labor announced that initial jobless claims totalled , seasonally adjusted in the week ending September 26, an increase of 10, from the previous week's unrevised , level. The four-week moving average was ,, a decrease of 1, from the previous week's unrevised average of , These results are marginally weaker than consensus estimates. This is a 0. The reading is below expectations and indicates a deceleration in manufacturing activity. Census Bureau announced that construction spending during August rose 0.
The August level is The results are in line with consensus estimates and indicate continued growth in the construction sector. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5. He also emphasized better and increased use of automation for revenue generation. KP raised the issue of net hydel profit and difficulties being faced on account of funding required for retirement benefits of employees. Secretary Finance Punjab called for improved coordination between federal and provincial authorities for timely data sharing.
Member Sindh pointed out less transfers made under the heads "Straight Transfers" and proposed that data on this account may be shared with Provinces. The participants laid emphasis on smooth vertical and horizontal transfer of funds. The participants also emphasized on the need to end regional disparities. The participants of the meeting were of the opinion that both the federal government as well as the provinces were under-resourced and that additional revenue was needed to meet expenses in different realms including socio-economic development activities.
The need was also felt for more clarity on revenue projections by FBR so that the provincial governments could plan adjustments in expenditure accordingly. It was decided that the next NFC meeting will be convened after six weeks at Lahore. NFC Sectt. Finance Minister called upon all the members to contribute their best towards formulating a new NFC award in future. The meeting was especially called on the instructions of the Prime Minister to look into the matter of inflated gas billings to the consumers.
The reports of both the inquiry and the independent audit would be submitted to CCoE. Prior to that Secretary Petroleum Division gave a detailed presentation to the Committee on the recent billing exercise of the Gas sector. The meeting was informed that the consumers are billed according to the slabs in which they fall, in accordance with their consumption. The Secretary Petroleum Division said that following the complaints of a large number of consumers an inquiry has already been launched to look into the matter.
The inquiry would look at the issue comprehensively from all the different angles. It was also pointed out by chairman OGRA that during the month of December the domestic consumption of gas doubles which has changed the pricing slabs for many consumers. However, she also suggested that the data for the last two months may be looked into to find any anomaly. Further, it will propose certain changes in SEZ Act to make it more investor friendly. The government has decided to reduce the prices of petroleum products barring HSD, for the month of February While price of HSD is being maintained at the current level, price of petrol has been reduced by Rs 0.
Accordingly, prices of petroleum products for the month of February shall be as under:. The Chief Economist also had exchange of views with the Finance Minister on government's plans to reform the energy sector and promote renewable energy solutions. She informed the Minister that DFID is ready to assist the Government of Pakistan to tap climate finance funds to support the drive for renewable energy.
The meeting was chaired by Finance Minister, Mr. Asad Umar. The meeting reviewed the fiscal and monetary policies besides having discussion on the external sector. The on-going adjustment plan for fiscal consolidation was presented to the Board. While reviewing the fiscal policy, the Board observed that there is further scope for tightening of the fiscal stance.
The corrective measures taken by the government, both on the fiscal and quasi fiscal deficit were discussed. The meeting observed that fiscal consolidation is a key element of the adjustment plan, and necessary for ensuing macroeconomic stability.
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The Board emphasized ensuring that revenue targets both on tax and non-tax side are met and expenditure controls continue to remain well in place. The key economic variables for the first half of FY 19 were deliberated in detail. The direction of external trade data is encouraging and points to the fact that fiscal and monetary tightening are having an impact on correcting the imbalances. The growth in remittances is also encouraging.
The meeting appreciated the fact that there was substantial participation in the last auction of PIBs. The meeting observed that real interest rates are positive and would help manage aggregate demand and reduce the output gap. Turning to private sector credit, its growth momentum continued and is explained by increased input prices, the continuation of the investment cycle and ample liquidity with banks.
Moreover, analysis shows that subsidized and non-subsidized credit to export-orientated sector has increased.
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The decision was made keeping in view the rising prices of wheat in the international markets, sufficient available stocks 1. The Ministry of Energy, Power Division gave a detailed presentation on the current situation of Circular Debt and the components that have contributed to its build up. The plan envisages to end polio cases through Supplemental Immunization Activities SIAs across the country and undertaking environmental surveillance to completely curb polio virus transmission. The scope of work includes construction of 14 new bridges, improvement of 8 existing bridges, underpass, 75 new culverts besides having other features.
The Committee after detailed deliberations decided to seek additional technical inputs on the project from the Government of Sindh so that an informed decision could be taken at the next meeting. These will be submitted for consideration of the Federal Cabinet.
The amendments are aimed at enhancing ease of doing business in the country. The step is aimed at ensuring sufficient supply of cotton for the textile industry, especially its export segment. ECC discussed and approved another proposal from Ministry of Commerce and Textile to clear outstanding claims of drawback of local taxes and levies DLTL under the exports incentive scheme announced by the Government in Finance Act The ECC decided that cases which were submitted in time but have been pending due to want of funds, will be entertained by the government.
Data indicates that the import compression measures taken in the supplementary Finance Act, have firmly taken hold and are now effectively curtailing imports as per policy regime of the government. There is a growth in exports of 5. The Committee accorded approval for revised project with a total cost of Rs.
Administration concerned. ECC had a detailed discussion on the proposal of Textile Division regarding withdrawal of custom duty, additional custom duty and sales tax on import of cotton. The proposal was aimed at facilitating the import of cotton to bridge the demand and supply gap in the country, thereby helping out the textile industry, especially the export segment. The Committee noted that detailed trade and revenue related data was required, which was not made part of the proposal. The Committee directed Ministry of Industries and Production to chalk out a plan for continuous and smooth operation of urea plants in the country throughout the year.
ECC observed that the institution had done great service for the engineering sector and had the potential to effectively carry on this role, for which it needed to be strengthened. SNGPL to meet the existing gas demand on the system. Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the progress of work on different economic zones in the country. Finance Minister Asad Umar chaired a meeting here on Monday to review the progress of work on different economic zones in the country.
The meeting during the progress review extended special consideration to economic zones in the province of Baluchistan including Hub. As for requirement of electricity, the Power Division will look after all necessary matters. The government has decided to reduce the prices of petroleum products for the month of January Price of Petrol and diesel has been reduced by Rs 4.
The price of Kerosene oil has been reduced by Rs 0. Accordingly, prices of petroleum products for the month of January shall be as under:. Chief Minister GB apprised the Finance Minister about the different development schemes in Gilgit-Baltistan and also shared with him the financial requirements in different areas. During the meeting they both expressed agreement that there was great potential for development in the spheres of hydro energy and tourism.
The Chief Minister said that steps were being taken to develop the tourism sector in GB and added that road connectivity within GB as well as with KP, would facilitate achieving this objective. Finance Minister Asad Umar Chaired the meeting. CCOP also accorded go ahead to divest residual govt.
Finance Minister chaired the meeting with different Islamic Banks on matters pertaining to launch of Islamic Sukuk. A consortium of Islamic Banks, it may be added has been assigned the task to coordinate with the Government and facilitate it for the launch. During the meeting representatives of the Islamic banks apprised the meeting about the progress for the subject launch. They also informed that most of spade work had already been completed and there were minor irritants left to be removed.
Finance Minister appreciated the increasing role of Islamic Banks in the overall banking sector and their potential for providing strength to economy. He assured the delegation of all out support from the Government for the planned launch of Islamic sukook which aims to generate sufficient finances to ease out liquidity of the power sector.
Expeditious Refund System to be improved for early processing of exporters' claims. The recommendations included measures related to tax as well as ease of doing business in general. Finance Minister said the government believed in facilitating all sectors of the economy and was taking serious measures to create an enabling business environment.
The Old Rose Advisor : Volume II
He informed the delegation that FBR had been directed to review and improve the Expeditious Refund System ERS parameters to ensure early processing of exporters' claims. He said that the procedure for processing of DLTL claims was also being revised to ensure that the delays are eliminated. The delegation also raised the issue of GIDC. The Minister said that the prolonged litigation was neither in the interest of the business community nor the government. He sought recommendations of the business community to resolve this long standing issue.
The Minister said that the government was working on enhancing productivity of various sectors and promoting value addition with a view to achieving export enhancement and job creation. He invited the business community to make suggestions for achieving these objectives. Finance Minister Asad Umar received Mr. Pakistan achieved more than 1 billion USD disbursement from ADB during FY which is the highest disbursement amongst all multilateral development partners.
Minister Asad said the present government is taking various measures and reforms that will help the country steer out of current economic situation on both fronts i. As regards domestic challenges, we are focusing on fiscal consolidation, monetary policy and financial inclusion. He dilated on different new lending products including special policy based lending. Discussion also focused on private sector lending. This lending facility, it may be added, is part of the COBP. Tomoyuki Kimura for the provision of technical assistance in capacity building of personnel in Finance and Economic Affairs Divisions.
After detailed deliberations on various aspects of the assessment report, the NEC approved the same subject to addressing certain observations in respect of key policy and legislative areas. NACTA will finalize the report accordingly. Financial Monitoring Unit FMU presented the analysis on suspicious transaction reports filed by the financial sector in the last three years and the law enforcement actions taken against money laundering and terrorism financing on the basis of such reports.
The NEC advised the authorities concerned to enhance enforcement actions and adopt a result oriented approach. The need for a coordinated effort with the provinces was also highlighted. ECC discussed and approved proposal of the Ministry of Commerce to amend the Export Policy Order EPO , to the effect that the export of ethanol and other products manufactured from cane molasses shall be subject to the condition that cane molasses used in production of ethanol and other products manufactured from cane molasses being exported is either produced in-house by the exporter or purchased directly from a sugar mill.
Proper recording of production and sale of molasses, can be used as an indicator to gauge the production of sugar thus assist in collection of due taxes. ECC however, observed that NTC being an autonomous and self earning body should be empowered like other public sector corporations to formulate and approve its own budget. The Committee directed that necessary authorization may be granted so that in future the budget is considered and approved by the NTC Board.
The following areas were reviewed: i the fiscal policy; ii the external sector and iii the recent steps in monetary policy. While reviewing fiscal policy, the Board noted that fiscal deficit for the first quarter of FY19 turned out to be 1. The Board appreciated the authorities adjustment plan for fiscal consolidation. The impact of fiscal consolidation measures implemented in the recent months would be visible from the second quarter of the current financial year. This consolidation is an important element of the homegrown adjustment plan and will play an integral part for ensuring economic stability.
The need for continued effort to ensure revenue generation and expenditure controls was emphasized in the meeting.
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As far as the financing of the fiscal deficit is concerned, the Board discussed the inflationary and monetary impact of reliance on SBP financing during the current financial year. The fiscal authorities explained that the financing mix is expected to record a substantial improvement as most of the external financing would be realized from January, onwards, which will result in lesser reliance on banking sector borrowing. Turning to the external sector the Coordination Board was apprised that current account is visibly responding to the measures taken since Jan On the exchange rate front, the Board discussed the recent volatility in the PKR parity.
The Board is of the view that the present developments are mainly explained by market demand-supply gap of dollar liquidity on the one hand and more underlying structural impediments on the other. In principal the parity should be at their competitive-enhancing levels. The Board also anticipates that the short-term conditions on the exchange rate front are likely to normalize.
Particularly, availability of deferred oil facilities and the recent decline in the international oil prices is expected to reduce pressures in the Pakistan foreign exchange market in the near-term. Moreover, the bilateral flows would close the financing gap for FY These positive developments will build FX reserves in the coming months. On recent changes in monetary policy, the Board was of the view that the stance is appropriate at current levels given the projections for inflation in FY19 and FY The real interest rates are significantly positive and would help manage aggregate demand and reduce output gap closer to sustainable levels.
Going forward, the Board expects that the Monetary Policy Committee would continue to make data-driven decisions based on macroeconomic fundamentals. PEFA, it may be added is a tool for assessing the status of public financial management. He said that Government recognizes the importance of sound financial management including budgets and expenditure and enjoys an enhanced level of responsibility for accountability.
Therefore, PEFA assessment is very much in line with the reform agenda of government, and that the findings and recommendations coming out PEFA assessment will be received well. Ministry of Finance will consider recommendations for improvement of public financial management. Mr Afzal added that Mr. John Ogallo, senior financial management specialist. This will be the first PEFA conducted at the Federal level and in the Provinces of Punjab and Sindh since the report is scheduled to be completed during The assessment identifies strengths and weaknesses within PFM systems allowing for reform efforts to be better targeted.
The Committee observed that the matter relating to freight support etc for exports fall in the domain of the respective provincial governments. The Committee sought further proposals on the utilization of the gas for power generation or production of fertilizer. The delegation shared with the Minister their concern that supply of gas to different industries in the metropolis might suffer interruption as they had been served notices regarding gas load management for next three months.
They also had discussion with the Finance Minister on their tax related issues. The government has decided to reduce the prices of petroleum products by Rs. Prices for the month of December shall therefore be as under:. These prices shall be applicable from 1st of December to 31st December It may be added that OGRA works out the petroleum prices for a month on the basis of the prices of cargoes purchased for that particular month.
The prices for December are accordingly based on the purchases made during the period from 10 October to 12 November, Finance Minister Asad Umar has said the Government is committed to improving the fundamentals of economy and achieving sustainable and balanced economic growth. Secretary Finance gave a detailed presentation to the meeting on the economic and fiscal situation. The meeting was informed that external balance has improved in the first four months of current fiscal year as current account contracted by 4.
Fiscal consolidation remained a challenge during the first quarter as fiscal deficit increased to 1. FBR revenue continued to increase by 6. Headline inflation is increasing on the back of non food inflation above 8 percent, whereas, food inflation is rising moderately by 2. The Secretary also briefed the meeting about the economic reforms which the Economic Advisory Council has approved. The meeting also discussed the export credit facility offered by Saudi Arabia envisaging the purchase of crude oil and or other petroleum product s of up to USD 3.
Governor State Bank discussed monetary aggregates along with views on the economy. Broad money M2 witnessed a rise of Rs. Despite rising interest rate overall private sector credit remained higher than last year. The government borrowed Rs. While, net government borrowing from the banking system reached Rs. The private sector credit increased to Rs. Expansion is seen largely in working capital followed by fixed investments. Giving his concluding remarks, Finance Minister said that the decline in LSM sector needed to be studied by disaggregating the data so that appropriate measures could be taken to address the same.
He also directed Finance Division to earnestly complete integrated policy paper focusing on economic strategy over the medium term. ECC decided that there will be no gas load shedding this winter. The ECC also decided that the recent increase in gas prices will not be applicable for Roti Tandoors, and they will continue to pay their gas bills on the previously applicable rates.
The decision has been taken in view of the concerns that the increase in gas prices was leading to increase in the prices of tandoori roti and naan. The Committee accorded approval for the import with the condition that all sanitary and phytosanitary regulations shall be abided. ECC also directed the relevant ministries to engage with the industry for establishment of a permanent quarantine facility for cotton imported through land route.
Secretary Ministry of National Food Security shared with the meeting a report on value chain of sugar. The ECC took note of the issue of pending payments to sugarcane growers as well as difficulties faced by the millers in view of surplus stocks, possibility of their export and redressal of liquidity issues. ECC also had deliberations on the proposed plan of Ministry of Energy for gas load management during winter season and decided to have further discussions in the matter at the next meeting to finalize the plan.
An IMF mission, led by Mr. Harald Finger, visited Pakistan from 7thto 20th November These discussions covered all sectors of the economy. Members of Parliament and provincial finance ministries also exchanged views with the Mission. The Federal Minister for Finance, Mr. Asad Umar, chaired the concluding session with Mission today. Substantive progress has been made by the Government of Pakistan and the IMF Mission towards developing a common understanding on the policy and structural reforms framework for the prospective IMF programme, including fiscal and monetary measures, corrective interventions for balance of payments sustainability, pro-poor spending, governance and development of a business-friendly environment.
The positive engagement with the IMF will continue over the coming weeks to finalise the programme with the Fund. The Committee granted approval for export of 0. It was decided that any financial support for freight etc. Finance Minister, Mr. Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Mr. Tariq Bajwa, presented National Financial Inclusion Strategy to improve quality and increase access to financial services in Pakistan. He outlined targets and necessitating policy actions to be taken at various levels in coming years to achieve the targets.
Discussion revolved around fast-tracking the digitization of financial services to reach out larger number of consumers, small and medium business and newly emerging entrepreneurs throughout country. Finance Minister appreciated the Financial Inclusion Strategy and emphasized on diligently time-lining the goals, targets and actions to be taken, and cautioned against delaying the implementation process of the strategy.
Julian Hamilton Barns and Mr. Rashid Iqbal here Friday. The delegation especially shared with the Minister the proposal regarding establishment of a network of hospitals across Pakistan aimed at providing quality healthcare to the people. The Council could muster financial support from Pakistani diaspora, international financiers, philanthropists and other financing institutions towards this end, the delegation said.
The delegation also apprised the Minister about the Councils' interaction with the Pakistan diaspora in UK and in other countries and said they were especially keen to invest in Pakistan. Finance Minister welcomed the initiative by the Councils and assured of all possible support from the government. He asked the delegation for a formal proposal in this regard which could serve as the basis for developing future cooperation. He said the present government highly appreciated such initiatives and had a resolve to facilitate international investors in every possible manner.
Ghazanfar Bilour. The meeting approved development projects in various areas of the country. Muzaffarabad and Mahal, distt. Bagh in AJK at a cost of Rs. The main objective of the project is construction of kV transmission network to provide interconnection facilities for evacuation of electricity from the above mentioned projects being constructed under CPEC. The project aims to support the scale up of solar power in Sindh province and increase access to electricity. The meeting approved rehabilitation project of Dargai hydroelectric power station, Malakand, KP at a cost Rs.
Completion of the project will help enhance the capacity of the power station to 22 MW. The meeting considered proposal from the Ministry of Water Resources to include Tangir Hydropower in the Diamer Basha Dam project and approved the revised cost of the project at Rs. Harald Finger here Tuesday. The Mission leader shared his initial assessment with the Finance Minister on various sectors of the economy, following the delegation's interaction with officials of relevant ministries and entities. He referred to the corrective measures being taken to remove imbalances in the economy and said that the new government had come to power with an agenda of wide ranging reforms.
Along-with structural and governance reforms, revival of domestic industry and export sector are high priorities of the Government. The Mission will continue its discussions with the relevant authorities during the next several days. Likewise there would be no gas load management for domestic consumers. Chairman PIAC briefed the meeting about current operational and financial position of the organisation. It was noted that the wheat prices in the international market were considerably lower and the government of Pakistan was incurring a huge expenditure in the wheat procurement process, to protect the interests of the farmers.
The ECC also directed the Ministry of Industries to take immediate action for disbursement of outstanding dues to widows of PSM's deceased employees which have been pending for the last almost four years. On another proposal from the Ministry of National Food Security, the ECC allowed import of 50, tons of urea fertilizer to meet requirements of farmers in Rabi season Further, the ECC also directed that fertilizer plants may be kept fully operational for whole of Rabi season for adequate production of urea and prevent its shortage.
The ECC maintained that no undue increase in prices of urea will be tolerated on the pretext of increase in gas prices. He suggested that a revised mechanism be put in place to ensure that the full amount of due taxes are recovered from the industry. During the visit several avenues of mutually beneficial collaboration were identified and a number of Memoranda of Understanding MOU were signed between the two sides in the sphere of economic cooperation. These included agreements in the area of socio-economic development, poverty alleviation, agriculture, economic and technical cooperation, forestry, earth sciences, higher education and technology.
It was decided that the next stage of CPEC will focus on industrial expansion, agricultural revitalization and trade integration of the two economies. This phase will help the Government of Pakistan in achieving its objectives of job creation and export growth. The top Chinese leadership expressed their strong support and a Task Force was established by both sides to discuss the matters further.
The Government has decided to absorb the substantial impact of increase in the prices of petroleum products and only partially pass on the increase to the consumers for the month of November. The decision has been taken to minimize the burden on the public at large. However, an increase of Rs. Likewise as against the recommended increase of Rs. The reports were approved for presentation to the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies. The meeting was briefed by the Ministry of Finance regarding the fiscal consolidation program of the Federal Government.
Provincial Finance Ministers assured the Federal Government of their full support for the fiscal consolidation efforts as it was need of the hour. Governor State Bank was assigned the task to chalk-out a simplified procedure in this regard. Matters relating to provincial surpluses were also discussed. The provincial governments expressed their support and cooperation in this realm. It was agreed that provincial governments will provide names of their representatives for the Sub-Committee as well as Technical Committees.
The Secretary Privatization Commission made a detailed presentation to the Committee on the Privatization Program pursued by the government over the last two decades. The Committee discussed the objectives and rationale of the Privatization Program. It was noted that only one entity was privatized during the last five years, apart from divestment of shares in a few already privatized entities. Ministry of Industries was directed to put up an action plan for operationalization of Pakistan Steel Mills within 45 days. Similar instructions for improvement and revitalization of other entities were given to the relevant ministries.
In the case of CAA it was noted that the Authority performed a regulatory function and could not be privatized. The Committee also directed the Ministry of Industries to carry out a detailed review of all the entities in its purview, and make recommendations for their revival or privatization. In the case of gas sector utilities the CCOP decided that privatization of these entities should could not be undertaken before putting in place a regulatory regime to create competitive market place.
The Committee directed the Ministry of Petroleum to take necessary action in that regard. Regarding financial institutions it was decided to delist National Bank of Pakistan. Delisting of IDBP was also approved as the process for its winding up was already underway. However the relevant ministries were directed to submit proposals for improvement in their working along with plan for disposal of their non-essential fixed assets. The Committee also directed the Privatization Commission to ensure complete transparency in all its transactions. The Finance Minister maintained that the process of divestment was meant to encourage and attract private sector partnership to turn around ailing PSEs by injecting capital, modernizing through technological upgradation besides introducing best corporate practices.
The Federal Government had invited Dr. Following her acceptance, the Government has made the appointment. Nishtar is a well-respected apolitical professional, civil society leader and former cabinet minister. She is also a widely published scholar in the field of public healthcare systems and reform. Poverty alleviation and provision of social protection to marginalised groups, especially in the less developed areas of the country, is amongst the highest priorities of the Government.
BISP has recently outlined its plans for a comprehensive social protection strategy aimed at protecting the poorest of the poor from economic shocks. Under Dr. He also desired appropriate and complete responses to APG's follow-up queries. Further it was agreed to develop an effective monitoring mechanism to ensure that all concerned stakeholders complete the assigned tasks within delegated timelines. The Minister directed that all stakeholders may be advised to develop internal actions plans which shall be monitored on a fortnightly basis.
Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and other relevant stakeholders attended the meeting.
The ECC in its meeting chaired by Finance Minister, Asad Umar on Monday considered the proposal for electricity tariff rationalization, submitted by the Ministry of Power and directed the concerned officials to submit a detailed plan for improvements in the power sector, especially measures to increase recoveries and reduction of losses, before the proposed tariff rationalization plan could be approved. The ECC would meet again on Wednesday, to consider the above mentioned plan and tariff rationalization proposals.
The Auditor General, shared with the ECC a report on audit findings pertaining to financial and operational issues in the four Power Distribution Companies i. The report highlighted significant areas of the distribution system responsible for line and commercial losses. There are nearly users in various wings for the E-office suite. Addressing senior and middle management level officers on the occasion, he called upon them to master e-office skills and benefit from the automated system.
He also stressed complete digitization of records on priority basis. He added that implementation of the program shall facilitate institutional reforms and help improve performance. Javed Iqbal Khan, Joint Secretary BI for taking on the challenge of training a large number of officials in a short span of time. He hoped that the implementation of the E-office program at Finance Division will serve as a good example for other divisions to follow. October 17, PR No. Special Secretary Finance chaired the meeting. The chairman informed the forum that there is lot of flux that characterizes the world economy at present, emerging markets are facing uncertainty.
Their currencies have devalued significantly.