Prime Ministers Advisor on Finance Dr Abdul Hafiz Sheikh has revealed that the power tariff will be raised by 6 percent and that this has been decided now in principle. Talking to the media, he said there is a need to take speedy measures for strengthening the economy and some departments that are running in deficit, like Pakistan Steel Mill, have to be privatized. He said that once the problem relating to Sindh is sorted out, the Value Added Tax (VAT) will be enforced from 1st of July. He said that a property gain tax and tax on agriculture were still under consideration. Commenting on Dr Hafeez Sheikhs press conference, some economic experts have expressed the view that Budget 2010-2011 would provide strength to the economy but only if due consideration is given to the dwindling rate of investment, unemployment, inflation, poverty, debt trap and the energy crisis. Some economists suggest that strategy for the budget can be devised in two different ways. Either the government should go for a development-oriented budget with out paying any heed to the macro economic imbalance it might cause or pay full attention to macro economics to ensure a steady rate of growth in the coming years. Both options would entail entirely different costs and results. They agree that the government deficit will be between 5.5 % to 6 % of the total national output. And VAT, once it comes in force in July would help pay this deficit. The Advisor on Finance has rightfully said that taking maximum advantage of the available resources to better the stagnating economy is the call of time. The sooner we realize this, the better it will be for us all. -SHANZEH IQBAL, Lahore, May 15.