The good news is that Pakistan will not impose the RGST in the coming budget. The bad news is that the IMF has made the government agree to the withdrawal of exemptions in it, through the issuing of SROs, which will ruin the vital export sector of the economy. Once again, by handing over the budget-making process to the IMF, the government has taken the path of subjugating the economy to a foreign organization, whose purpose is not to benefit Pakistan, but to keep the Washington Consensus going, whereby the financial organizations of the world work for the furthering of US political aims. The government has not obtained the release of the tranche that the IMF has kept pending since last year, and is to use the budget as the basis on which the negotiations are to be held. The real interest Pakistan has in these negotiations is the issue of a Letter of Comfort by the IMF, which would be used with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to obtain more loans. Under the plan agreed upon with the IMF, the government will end exemptions and the tax target will be Rs 1.952 trillion, though revenue has been estimated at Rs 1.968 trillion. The RGST would have been levied at 15 percent, but the sales tax will continue to be levied at 17 percent. The withdrawal of exemptions and zero-ratings will mean additional revenue of Rs 90 billion, which will not be borne by the manufacturers, but passed on to the consumer, in this case the importer, who would prefer to turn to other markets for his needs. He may deal with the same exporter, as one consequence of current policies has been the shifting elsewhere by businessmen. Thus, while the coming budget will probably not hurt the businessman, the burden will once again be borne by the ordinary consumer, as the end of exemptions cause a fresh round of inflation in addition to that caused by the hike in international oil prices. The government must take over the responsibility for making the budget, and make policies which not only reflect the economic realities facing the country, but which work to its benefit. The negotiations with the IMF did not discuss how the coming budget was going to relieve the power crisis that has been crippling its economy, and has been driving investment abroad. This alone should show that the IMF should be shown the door, and the government should make the budget itself. There are political and strategic reasons to dispense with the USA; and these are economic reasons to get out of the Washington Consensus.