Our Announcements

Not Found

Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here.

Archive for category Corruption

Pakistan’s foreign debt to hit $80b in June-2017 Business Recorder

Pakistan’s foreign debt to hit $80b in June-2017

 

Dr Ashfaque H. Khan, Pakistan’s renowned economist, former economic adviser to Ministry of Finance and Principal/Dean, NUST School of Social Sciences & Humanities says the external debt of Pakistan would increase to $80 billion in June-2017 and current account deficit is deteriorating because of non-serious approach of the government. Here is his latest article on balance of payment deterioration that he sent to the Editor Corporate Ambassador, Javed Mahmood, for sharing with readers and social media friends7th-awards00

Pakistan’s balance of payments is rapidly deteriorating since the beginning of the fiscal year 2016-17 for a variety of reasons; while independent economists have been expressing their serious concerns; the government and particularly the country’s finance minister appear to have lost interest in addressing this ominous development in external balance of payments. This is indeed a matter of serious concern and hence the subject matter of this article.

7th-awards002

Dr Ashfaque H. Khan is sitting on stage as Chief Guest at the 7th awards, organised in Islamabad in Feb 2017.

The readers would recall that I made a presentation in a Debt Conference organized by a local think tank on November 12, 2016 in Islamabad. In my presentation, I forecasted that the current account deficit for the current fiscal year (2016-17) would reach $7.5 billion as against $2.5 billion in the previous year (2015-16). Furthermore, the financing requirement for the year would reach $14.5 billion ($7.0 billion for debt servicing).  Accordingly, Pakistan’s external debt and liabilities would touch $80.3 billion by end–June 2017, rising from $73 billion in end-June 2016. In order to address the rising current account deficit and external debt, I gave several recommendations.


Instead of taking my projection seriously and taking corrective measures to address the ominous development, the finance minister reacted angrily through his lengthy article on debt (February 1, 2017, Business Recorder). He charged me and my fellow independent economists (without naming of course), for being selective in presenting the facts, misinterpreting the facts, predicting doomsday scenario for Pakistan’s debt and the overall balance of payments, venting bias through writings, and most importantly committing disservice to the nation.

May I ask the honorable finance minister to tell us the latest position of current account deficit and debt? Isn’t it true that the current account deficit has reached $7.247 billion during the ten months (July – April) of the current fiscal year while two more months still are to go? Isn’t it going to touch somewhere between $8.5 – 9.0 billion in 2016-17? Isn’t it a fact that the Moody’s Investor Services has predicted that Pakistan’s external debt would reach $79 billion by end-June 2017 as opposed to my forecast of $80 billion?

What are your views Mr. Honorable Finance Minister on these developments? Were we wrong in predicting these developments some six month ago? Did we create doomsday scenario for Pakistan’s external debt and current account deficit? Did we commit disservice to the nation by projecting the ground reality? Or, did you commit disservice to the nation by misguiding the people of Pakistan? We need your answer Mr. Finance Minister?

Why have we landed in such a difficult situation today? The current account deficit for the first ten months (July – April) of the current fiscal year has amounted $7.247 billion as compared with $2.378 billion in the comparable period of last year, which is deteriorated by 205 percent. What has caused such a massive deterioration in current account deficit in this fiscal year? At least two main reasons can be identified. Firstly, massive deterioration in trade balance owing to the decline in exports on the one hand and extra – ordinary surge in imports on the other. Secondly, significant decline in external inflows, namely remittances and Coalition Support Fund (CSF). These two inflows primarily have been responsible for keeping current account deficit low in the past.

What has happened on export front? Exports have declined from over $25 billion in 2013-14 to less than $22 billion in 2015-16—a decline of over 12 percent in two years. Exports are down by 1.3 percent in the first ten months of the current fiscal year and expected to touch $21.5 billion by the end of the fiscal year – a decline of 2.1 percent compared with last year. What has caused a steady decline in the exports? There are several factors that have contributed to the steady decline in exports. These include: i) senseless taxation to achieve revenue targets under the IMF Programme, rendering Pakistan’s exports non-competitive in the international market; ii) holding back refunds  of exporters’ to jack up revenue and hence creating serious liquidity problem for the exporters. Exporters were forced to borrow from commercial banks to run their factories and meet the importers demand. This has added to the cost of their doing business; iii) infrastructural bottlenecks such as the availability and prices of electricity, gas and water which have made our exporters non-competitive; iv) keeping the exchange rate at a level which is not consistent with the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals; v) little or no communication between exporters and the country’s chief executive; vi) relatively poor business environment in the country.

In short, the government itself continued to pursue policies that have eroded the competitiveness of Pakistani exporters in international market. The IMF is an equal partner to such misguided policies which have damaged Pakistani exports.

What has happened on the import front? Persistence of overvalued exchange rate has encouraged imports despite massive reduction in oil import bill owing to the sharp decline in international price of oil. As compared with the benchmark year of 2013-14, Pakistan has saved over $13 billion in the last three years owing to the decline in oil prices. During the first ten months (July – April) of the current fiscal year, Pakistan’s imports has registered an increase of 15.5 percent to reach $38 billion.

What has caused import to surge in 2016-17? The government has tried to hide behind the imports of CPEC—related projects, particularly power sector—related projects. This is factually untrue. Total imports bills have increased by $5.089 billion in the first ten months (July–April), of which almost 34 percent ($1.722 billion) contribution came from the import of petroleum group. Within petroleum group, the surge is mainly caused by the import of petroleum products, LNG and LPG. The latter two are the new entrant to our import bill. Pakistan has imported $1.128 billion of gas in the first ten months of the current fiscal year as against $537 million in the same period last year. Going forward, import of gas will continue to rise with serious consequences to the balance of payments.

Besides import of petroleum group, machinery imports contributed 16.2 percent ($823 million) to the rise in overall import bill. In fact, the contribution of import of power generating machinery in total increase in import was nearly 1.8 percent. The contribution of food and transport import in the rise of overall import stood at 14 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively. Thus, almost 71 percent contribution to the surge in overall import came from four groups, namely petroleum, machinery, food and transport while power generation machinery contributed negligibly.

Even an ordinary student of economics could see the ominous developments taking place in Pakistan’s balance of payments. I and others could forecast these developments six months ago. But what is so painful to see is that the staff of the IMF attached with Pakistani desk failed miserably in predicting these developments in the balance of payments. Their forecast went haywire within one quarter of the current fiscal year. How can the IMF staff go so wrong in their prediction of exports, imports, current account deficit, budget deficit and so on? This speaks volume, in the words of Dr. Hafiz Pasha, about the quality of work produced by the IMF staff working on Pakistani desk. This is not the IMF staff that I have dealt with for over a decade. Perhaps they deliberately kept their eyes and ears closed and in so doing they committed, in the words of Shahid Kardar—the former Governor of the Central Bank—‘academic dishonesty’.

Where do I see balance of payments and debt situation in the next year? If the current non-serious attitude of the government persists and reckless borrowing with pride and pleasure continues, Pakistan is likely to face serious balance of payment crisis in 2017-18. Since the government is in the last year of its tenure, this is highly unlikely that it can implement any meaningful reforms to promote exports. This is the year of promises and giving, with little resources in the pocket. Imports will continue to surge because of the inappropriate exchange rate and expansionary fiscal and monetary policies fueling aggregate demand. Accordingly, the current account deficit is likely to remain in their range of $12.5–13.5 billion in 2017-18. With debt servicing requirement rising to $9.0 billion in 2017-18, the total financing requirement for the year would be in the range of $21.5–22.5 billion. Likely availability of external financing is estimated at $12.5 billion, thus leaving a financing gap of $9-10 billion. Where has this amount come from? Accordingly, our external debt and liabilities would cross $90 billion by end-June 2018.

This is the emerging picture of Pakistan’s balance of payments for the year 2017-18. My request to the finance minister is that he should not shoot the messenger; the messenger has established its credibility in 2016-17; take my calculation seriously and do whatever you can to prevent the crisis.

, , ,

No Comments

Despite $100m investment offer, why was KASB Bank sold for Rs1,000? The Express Tribune, Pakistan

Despite $100m investment offer, why was KASB Bank sold for Rs1,000?

PHOTO:FILE

PHOTO:FILE

ISLAMABAD: Senior officials of the State Bank of Pakistan took harsh action and “misused their authority” in amalgamating KASB Bank into BankIslami for just Rs1,000, reveals an inquiry report of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The report further disclosed that BankIslami was not capable of handling the now-defunct KASB Bank without the central bank’s financial support. Moreover, the central bank’s decision to award KASB Bank’s due-diligence contract to AF Ferguson, a chartered accountancy firm, was an “illegal act”.

“Officers of the SBP and others misused their authority to refuse foreign investment of $100 million in KASB Bank and favoured BankIslami Limited by amalgamating it at a token price of Rs1,000 only,” according to inquiry findings.

The Cybernaut Investment Group of China had offered up to $100 million investment to bridge the capital shortfall faced by KASB Bank, but the SBP rejected the offer.

The assets of the defunct KASB Bank were not valued at market rate, according to the inquiry. At Rs1,000, BankIslami got billions of rupees in assets, it added. Not only that, BankIslami also got Rs5.8 billion as deferred tax that benefitted its balance sheet.

Investigators have now recommended the NAB headquarters to order an investigation. The inquiry report had been submitted in December last year.

NAB spokesman Nawazish Ali Asim did not respond to questions regarding the next step in the case. The SBP spokesman’s response was also awaited, although in the past the central bank has defended its action of amalgamating the bank, saying it had the legal mandate.

On May 7, 2015, the SBP merged KASB Bank into BankIslami after the former could not meet the statutory paid-up capital requirement of Rs10 billion. The now-defunct bank was facing capital shortage since 2009, although it had a sound deposit base, which the NAB inquiry also confirmed.

There was no point in merging KASB with BankIslami, as other remedies were also available with the SBP, according to the inquiry report. It added the amalgamation was a harsh step on part of the SBP, which nullified billions of rupees investments of KASB shareholders.

The NAB inquiry further noted that the Rs20 billion as financial assistance could also have been provided to KASB Bank by appointing administrator and changing the board.

“The SBP has committed offence of misuse of authority as envisaged in Section 9(a) (iv) of NAO Ordinance, and investigation may be authorised against the accused persons,” the NAB investigators recommended to the headquarters.

“A holder of a public office, or any other person, is said to commit or to have committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices – if he by corrupt dishonest, or illegal means, obtains or seeks to obtain for himself, or for his spouse and/or dependents or any other person, any property, valuable thing, or pecuniary advantage,” reads the relevant section of NAO.

Insider trading

The inquiry report observed that the decision to amalgamate the bank with BankIslami had taken a year before the amalgamation took place. Investigators said that the Al Karam Group, Ismail Industries, owned by Miftah Ismail family, and Ali Hussain, chairman of BankIslami, started increasing their shareholding in BankIslami from April 2014. They investigators said that this is “evident from the CDC record”.

Role of AF Ferguson

The NAB also launched an inquiry against a partner of AF Ferguson and one of its directors in the same case. The chartered accountancy firm had been accused of giving a favourable report.

“The selection of AF Ferguson and signing of tripartite agreement was an illegal act of the SBP,” according to the inquiry.

A minority shareholder of the KASB Bank, Shaheena Wajid Mirzan, had alleged that by paying Rs20.5 million as consultancy fees to AF Ferguson, the SBP got a totally fraudulent valuation report from the chartered accountancy firm. She further alleged that the Rs1,000 valuation wiped out 1.95 billion shares, held by 9,000 shareholders.

Nasir Bukhari, who had 43% stake in the defunct KASB Bank, at the time also highlighted the issue of conflict of interest, saying AF Ferguson was also the auditor of SBP and BankIslami, therefore, its Rs1,000 valuation report could not be considered impartial.

The then KASB president, Bilal Mustafa, gave a statement to NAB that the SBP summoned him and forced to sign a tripartite agreement at 12 midnight with AF Ferguson and SBP for conducting KASB’s due diligence at a hefty fee of Rs20.5 million. He told NAB that the market fee of this task was hardly Rs5 million

Mustafa further told NAB that selection of AF Ferguson at exorbitant fee that too without any tender was “not understandable”.

The inquiry report revealed that the SBP also forced the KASB Board Secretary Hameedullah to change the minutes of a meeting in which directors raised concerns about paying high fee to AF Ferguson.

  

Other players

While citing a statement given by the KASB Director, Muzzafar Bukhari, the NAB report noted that the KASB authorities were in sell-off negotiations with SAMBA Bank, which backed out and the SBP official asked it to stay away from entering into any deal, revealed the report.

SBP reply to NAB

At the inquiry stage, the SBP took the position that “interest of shareholders is not the mandate and responsibility of the SBP and they are only concerned about the interest of the depositors”, revealed the report. The SBP further stated that its actions were in line with powers available to it under the Banking Companies Ordinance.

However, NAB did not accept its response, saying the KASB Bank faced no liquidity issues and was, in fact, the most liquid bank in Pakistan due to Rs20 billion of Iranian deposits.

Reply contradiction

The SBP’s reply to NAB was contrary to what it wrote in its scheme of amalgamation. “In the case of amalgamation of banking companies, the rights of shareholders are fully protected by the Banking Companies Ordinance 1962 and the Companies Ordinance 1984”, according to the documents.

,

No Comments

Pakistan Corruption Free Or Free For Corruption – Cartoon The Nation

Panama decision will also be a verdict on Corruption in Pakistan

Either Pakistan will be Corruption Free Or Free For Corruption

, ,

No Comments

Think over it!

١: ایک پاکستانی سیاستدان دو یا دو سے زائد حلقوں سے بیک وقت الیکشن لڑ سکتا هے،
 
مگر ایک پاکستانی شهری دو حلقوں میں ووٹ نهیں ڈال سکتا.
 
٢: ایک شخص جو جیل میں هے ووٹ نهیں دے سکتا مگر ایک پاکستانی سیاستدان جیل 
 
میں هونے کے باوجود بھی الیکشن لڑ سکتا ھے
 
٣: ایک شخص جو کبھی جیل گیا هو کبھی سرکاری ملازمت نهیں حاصل کرسکتا مگر ایک 
 
پاکستانی سیاستدان کتنی بار بھی جیل جاچکا هو صدر، وزیراعظم، ایم پی اے، ایم این اے 
 
یا کوئی بھی عهده حاصل کرسکتا هے.
 
٤: بینک میں ایک معمولی ملازمت کیلیئے آپ کاگریجویٹ هونا لازمی هے مگر ایک 
 
پاکستانی سیاستدان فنانس منسٹر بن سکتاهے چاهے وه انگوٹھا چھاپ هی کیوں نه هو.
 
٥: فوج میں ایک عام سپاهی کی بھرتی کیلیئے دس کلو میٹر کی دوڑ لگانے کے ساتھ 
 
ساتھ جسمانی اور دماغی طور پر چست درست هونا بھی ضروری هے البته ایک پاکستانی 
 
سیاستدان اگرچه ان پڑھ، عقل سے پیدل، لاپرواه، پاگل، لنگڑا یا لولا هی کیوں نه هو وه 
 
زیراعظم یا وزیر دفاع بن کر آرمی، نیوی اورایئر فورس کے سربراهان کا باس بن 
 
سکتاهے.
 
٦: اگر کسی کسی سیاستدان کے پورے خاندان میں کوئی کبھی اسکول گیا هی نه هو تب 
 
بھی ایسا کوئی قانون نهیں جو اسے وزیر تعلیم بننے سے روک سکے اور…..
 
٧: ایک پاکستانی سیاستدان پر اگرچه هزاروں مقدمات عدالتوں می اس کے خلاف زیر 
 
التوا 
 
هوں وه تمام قانون نافذ کرنیوالے اداروں کا وزیر داخله بن کر سربراه بن سکتا هے.
 
گر آپ سمجھتے هیں که اس نظام کو بدلنا چاهیئے، ایسے نظام سے جس میں ایک عام 
آدمی اور ایک سیاستدان پر یکساں قانون لاگو هو تو پاکستان کی عوام میں زیاده سے 
زیاده آگاهی کیلیئے اس پیغام کو دوسروں تک پهنچانے میں تعاون کریں.همیں درحقیقت اس نظام کو بدلنے کی ضرورت هے.
 
THINK OVER IT.

No Comments

Dawn Editorial: State Bank Report

 Disastrous Nawaz Sharif Govt Spending Run Amok

State Bank Report

DAWN EDITORIAL 
— PUBLISHED 2 days ago

THE first quarterly report issued by the State Bank of Pakistan contains a few alarm bells. Thus far the SBP has been mostly optimistic of the country’s economic performance. In previous reports it has lauded the fiscal measures of the government, papered over the growing declines in exports, and celebrated the “record high reserves”. But the latest quarterly report, for the first time, sounds a few alarm bells that suggest that the government’s narrative of continuous strengthening of the economy may be running out of steam. The fiscal deficit during the first quarter reached “the highest first quarter level since FY12”. This happened “despite an exceptional growth in provincial surpluses”. Even on the expenditure side, current spending was restrained and an increase in development spending “was led by the provinces, as federal development spending posted a YoY decline of 7.6pc in Q1-FY17”. Taken together, these numbers show that the revenue effort of the government is unable to keep pace with its ambitious plans for the year, and increasingly the burden is being shifted onto the provinces. The SBP goes so far as to say that “achieving the annual fiscal deficit target of 3.8pc of GDP would be challenging. It will require additional fiscal consolidation efforts on the part of the government”.

On the external front, things are considerably less cheery. Exports continue their downward journey, but more worryingly, for the first time in four years, remittances have also registered a decline. Foreign direct investment too fell by 38pc. A more troubling sign is the overwhelming presence of China as the source of all FDI while other countries largely remained passive spectators. Taken together, these are signs that “the FX comfort available to finance a persistently high trade deficit, is now weakening”, says the SBP in the most direct words it has used to describe the external sector thus far. Even though the report tries to attribute much of this to external factors beyond the government’s control, such as fiscal tightening in GCC countries with persistently low oil prices and a “softening of demand” in traditional export destination countries, the fact of the matter is that many of our neighbouring countries saw a revival of their exports in the same months covered by the report. Given these deteriorating indicators, the SBP is right to warn that “underlying structural issues are still there”, even if the choice of words is somewhat stilted.

Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

, , ,

No Comments


Skip to toolbar