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Budget deficit to balloon to Rs5.6tr in FY22, says Miftah as he slams PTI’s economic policies



Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Miftah Ismail, also a former finance minister, on Tuesday informed Pakistan’s budget deficit will hit Rs5,600 billion at the end of the ongoing fiscal year, a record high level, as he slammed economic policies of the ousted government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Addressing a press conference at his residence, Miftah – a key member of the PML-N whose president, Shehbaz Sharif, was elected the country’s prime minister on Monday after the ouster of Imran Khan – said the previous government informed us that the country would face a deficit of around Rs4,000 billion.

“However, this deficit will balloon to Rs5,600 billion, which is by far the highest deficit in Pakistan’s history,” said Miftah, who served as finance minister during 2018.

“If we add the Rs800 billion in supplementary grants, the deficit ends up at Rs6,400 billion,” he said, adding that out of Rs800 billion, Rs220 billion alone needs to be given to Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) while another Rs80 billion needs to be disbursed to Gencos to keep them afloat.

Tackling economic issues is one of the main, and most urgent, responsibility of the incoming government, as the South Asian country’s economy faces a number of issues on multiple fronts including a rising inflation rate and depleting foreign exchange reserves.


Terming the Rs373-billion relief package announced by then Prime Minister Imran Khan as a “landmine left for the newly formed government of Shehbaz Sharif”, Miftah said that PTI officials wrongly said that the package could be financed by the government.

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“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has not agreed on the said package, and we would have to renew negotiations with the international lender,” said Miftah.

Rejecting claims, Miftah said that the previous government never achieved a primary surplus.

The PML-N leader added that Pakistan’s trade deficit is expected to hit $45 billion this fiscal year, which is a record.

“Pakistan imports are going to hit a record $75 billion, whereas the country’s exports will reach $30 billion,” he said.


Miftah said that due to the rising current account deficit, foreign exchange reserves are declining. “Last month alone, forex reserves declined by $5 billion, which is the largest single decrease in foreign exchange reserves in the history of Pakistan,” said Miftah.

“Our government’s top priority is to stabilise and increase the foreign exchange reserves,” he said.

Miftah said that in the coming fiscal year Pakistan needs to make payments of $30 billion, for which it is important to take the IMF on board.

Praising announcements made by Prime Minister Shehbaz, Miftah had earlier said that his government increased the pension of pensioners by 10% immediately, and also raised the minimum wage to Rs25,000.

Miftah added that markets reacted positively to Shehbaz Sharif’s ascent to the PM House, as the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) posted massive gains, whereas the dollar, which was trading at 190 just days ago, has gone down to 182 against the rupee.

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Private Equity’s Risky Gamble: Unpacking the Troubles Facing European PE-Backed Insurers in the Life Insurance Sector




Private equity firms have been making significant investments in the life insurance sector, which has led to both excitement and worry among industry experts. However, recent struggles among European private equity-backed insurers have raised concerns about the sustainability of this ownership model and its potential impact on the industry.

While private equity investment can bring in new capital and expertise, critics argue that the focus on short-term profits and cost-cutting measures may come at the expense of long-term stability and customer satisfaction. As the industry continues to evolve, it remains to be seen how private equity ownership will shape the future of life insurance.

The Rise of Private Equity in Life Insurance

Private equity firms have increasingly turned their attention to the life insurance sector, attracted by its stable cash flows and potential for growth. This trend has led to a significant increase in acquisitions and investments by PE players in insurance companies.

The Promise and Perils of Private Equity Ownership

While private equity ownership can bring fresh capital, strategic expertise, and operational improvements to insurers, it also introduces a level of financial leverage and short-term profit pressure that may not align with the long-term nature of the insurance business.

Setbacks and Warnings: European PE-Backed Insurers in Trouble

Recent challenges faced by European insurers backed by private equity have highlighted the risks associated with this ownership structure. Issues such as underperformance, regulatory scrutiny, and liquidity concerns have cast a shadow over the sector.

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Regulatory Hurdles and Oversight

The regulatory environment for insurers is complex and stringent, with oversight increasing as concerns grow over the impact of private equity ownership on policyholders, solvency ratios, and overall market stability.


Impact on Policyholders and Stakeholders

The struggles of PE-backed insurers can have far-reaching consequences for policyholders, employees, investors, and the broader insurance ecosystem. Uncertainty around stability, service quality, and future prospects can erode trust and create ripple effects across the industry.

Evaluating Long-Term Viability and Sustainability

Amidst these challenges, it becomes crucial to assess the long-term viability of private equity ownership in the life insurance sector. Balancing short-term gains with sustainable growth strategies is essential for ensuring stability and resilience in an ever-evolving market landscape.

Lessons Learned and Future Outlook

The experiences of European PE-backed insurers serve as valuable lessons for both investors and industry participants. Looking ahead, a more nuanced approach to private equity involvement in insurance may be necessary to mitigate risks and maximize value creation.


The intersection of private equity and life insurance presents a complex landscape of opportunities and challenges. By understanding the nuances of this relationship, stakeholders can navigate uncertainties, drive innovation, and shape a more resilient future for the industry.

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Unpacking the Debate: UK Pension Fund Investments and Infrastructure Development – Insights from John Armitt




In a recent development, John Armitt, a prominent figure in infrastructure, has raised concerns about the pressure on UK pension funds to increase their investments within the country. This article delves into the complexities of this issue, exploring the perspectives and implications involved.

Understanding the Context:

John Armitt’s stance reflects a broader debate within the financial and infrastructure sectors regarding the allocation of pension fund investments. It raises questions about balancing national interests with global opportunities and optimizing returns for pension holders.

The Role of Pension Funds in Infrastructure Investment:

Pension funds play a crucial role in financing infrastructure projects, providing long-term capital for developments that benefit society and generate returns for investors. However, the allocation of these funds is subject to various considerations.

Benefits of Investing in Infrastructure:

Investing in infrastructure offers stable returns, diversification benefits, and contributes to economic growth and job creation. It also aligns with sustainable development goals and can enhance a country’s competitiveness.

Challenges Faced by Pension Funds:

Pension funds must navigate regulatory requirements, risk management considerations, liquidity needs, and fiduciary responsibilities when making investment decisions. Balancing these factors while maximizing returns is a complex task.


Perspectives on Domestic vs. International Investments:

The debate around whether pension funds should prioritize domestic investments over international opportunities is multifaceted, with valid arguments on both sides.

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Arguments for Domestic Investments:

Advocates for domestic investments argue that supporting local infrastructure projects can boost national development, create jobs, and strengthen economic resilience. It also aligns with principles of responsible investing and supports local communities.

Arguments for International Diversification:

On the other hand, proponents of international diversification highlight the need to seek the best investment opportunities globally to optimize returns for pension holders. Diversifying geographically can mitigate risks and enhance portfolio performance.

John Armitt’s Perspective:

John Armitt’s comments emphasize the importance of pension schemes focusing on finding the best possible investment opportunities, regardless of geographical location. His viewpoint underscores the need for strategic decision-making based on maximizing returns while considering broader societal impacts.

Key Takeaways from John Armitt’s Statements:

  • Prioritizing investment quality over geographical location
  • Emphasizing the importance of due diligence in selecting projects
  • Balancing risk and return considerations effectively

Implications for Pension Fund Managers:

The debate surrounding UK pension fund investments has implications for fund managers tasked with optimizing returns while fulfilling their fiduciary duties.

Strategies for Pension Fund Managers:

  • Conducting thorough due diligence on potential investments
  • Balancing risk factors with return expectations
  • Considering both domestic and international opportunities based on merit
  • Engaging with stakeholders to align investment decisions with broader objectives


The discussion sparked by John Armitt’s comments highlights the complexities involved in pension fund investments in infrastructure. Balancing national interests with global opportunities requires thoughtful consideration and strategic decision-making by all stakeholders involved.

In conclusion, finding the right balance between domestic and international investments is essential for pension funds to fulfill their dual mandate of generating returns for investors while contributing to societal development. By navigating these challenges effectively, pension fund managers can optimize their portfolios and support sustainable infrastructure development.

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Navigating the Path to Tame Inflation: Central Bankers Eye Rate Cuts by Summer




In the realm of economics, the battle against inflation has long been a central focus for policymakers and central bankers worldwide. Recent data has provided a glimmer of hope, suggesting that victory in this struggle may be within reach. Central bankers are now cautiously optimistic, with newfound confidence in their ability to implement rate cuts by the upcoming summer months. This article delves into the intricacies of this development, exploring the implications and potential outcomes of such a significant shift in monetary policy.

Understanding the Current Landscape:
To comprehend the significance of central bankers’ newfound confidence, it is essential to first grasp the current economic landscape. Inflation, the persistent rise in prices of goods and services over time, has been a persistent concern for policymakers globally. The delicate balance between stimulating economic growth and controlling inflation has been a perennial challenge, with central banks playing a pivotal role in navigating these waters.

Data Insights:
Recent data releases have provided central bankers with valuable insights that have bolstered their confidence in pursuing rate cuts. Key indicators such as consumer price indexes, wage growth figures, and manufacturing output have all pointed towards a more favorable outlook for inflation control. These data points serve as crucial tools for policymakers to assess the health of the economy and make informed decisions regarding monetary policy adjustments.

Policy Implications:
The prospect of rate cuts by central banks carries significant implications for various stakeholders within the economy. Lower interest rates can stimulate borrowing and spending, thereby boosting economic activity. However, there are also potential risks associated with such measures, including concerns about asset bubbles and financial instability. Central bankers must carefully weigh these factors when considering rate cuts as a tool to tame inflation.


Challenges Ahead:
While the possibility of rate cuts may signal progress in the fight against inflation, challenges still lie ahead for central bankers. Uncertainties surrounding global economic conditions, geopolitical tensions, and supply chain disruptions all pose potential obstacles to achieving long-term stability. Navigating these challenges will require a delicate balancing act on the part of policymakers to ensure sustainable economic growth while keeping inflation in check.

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Market Reactions:
The announcement of potential rate cuts by central banks is likely to have ripple effects across financial markets. Investors will closely monitor these developments, adjusting their strategies based on expectations of future interest rate movements. Stock markets, bond yields, and currency valuations are all sensitive to changes in monetary policy, making it crucial for market participants to stay informed and adaptable in response to evolving conditions.

In conclusion, the prospect of central bankers implementing rate cuts to tame inflation represents a significant milestone in the ongoing battle against economic challenges. While this development offers hope for improved economic conditions, it also underscores the complexity and uncertainty inherent in monetary policy decisions. By staying attuned to data insights, understanding policy implications, and navigating potential challenges ahead, central bankers can strive towards achieving a delicate balance that fosters sustainable growth and stability in the global economy.

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