The federal government has imposed a mini-budget after its agreement with the IMF, and that too through the promulgation of a presidential ordinance, rather than by legislation through Parliament. The ordinance becomes all the more questionable because it consists of a bill which has been passed by one House, the Senate, and has been sent to the National Assembly. Apart from the propriety of using an ordinance to pass a law which has already been passed by a House of Parliament, there is the issue of why a Money Bill had to be imposed by an ordinance. The substance of the ordinance will give an idea of why the government chose the cover of isolation for its passage, and did not expose it to an open debate. There has been an introduction of a 15 percent flood surcharge on the income tax and an increase of 1.5 percent in the special excise duty. The exemptions from sales tax on fertilizers and tractors, the partial exemption to sugar from the sales tax, and the zero rating for major export sectors, textiles, leather, sporting and surgical goods have all come to an end. This may lead to an increase in revenue, and these measures are meant to help the government achieve the target of Rs 1.6 trillion for the current financial year, 2010-11, but they will also translate into galloping inflation. Already, sugar is expected to go up, because all of these taxes are treated as pass-through items by the manufacturer. Another effect will be the increase in the prices of agricultural products, as the new fertilizer and tractor prices take hold. Pakistanis, who were hit at the beginning of the month with the cumulative effect of fuel inflation, now seem destined to face more food inflation. The ordinance only came after an IMF team had extended its stay in Pakistan, and the measures have come as no surprise. However, it is also noteworthy that the PPP government has abandoned all pretence of building a consensus, and this promulgation came without any gesture towards the opposition, with which the government is not on good terms. It is also noticeable that the government has not taken any real economy measures in what must be a national crisis, beyond announcing measures that have also been imposed by the IMF, and which merely retread old ground. The glaring omission of the imposition of an agricultural income tax has been passed over in silence, and once again large landowners, as well, perhaps better, represented in the legislatures as the sugar lobby, have been allowed to avoid contributing to the national exchequer. As a supplement, those in the government continue to live luxurious lifestyles paid for by the taxpayer. The government must reconsider its relationship with the IMF; only then will it be able to end a relationship that ruins the economy, not promotes it.