The State Bank of Pakistan, in its latest bimonthly review of its base rate, has cut it by 50 basis points, or half a percent, to 12.5 percent. This comes after no change at the last review, and a one percent cut at the review before that, four months ago, and is aimed at providing a stimulus to the economy, which has been adversely affected by both the international financial crisis, which has meant that Pakistan's export markets abroad are just not buying any longer, and soaring prices of imported fuel and food. Though SBP had hiked interest rates to protect against the inflationary pressures buffeting the economy, it had also by this measure placed a brake on private-sector investment, which was the main means of getting out of the situation. Though this was not what it had intended, the State's action had made Pakistan a country that repelled the investment it badly needed to keep its economy on an even keel. Though it seems to have realised its mistake, it has not yet carried out a sufficient cut in interest rates. The State Bank, in its report on fiscal policy, pointed to the public sector's, or rather the government's hunger for money which was placing inflationary pressure on the economy. That is the key area for any federal Finance Minister to address, government spending, yet that is the area in which the present government's ministers are being given free rein. According to the State Bank, the Finance Ministry, while sticking to the pre-announced targets, had sold Rs 91 billion worth of Treasury Bills in the fiscal year so far, against maturities of Rs 37 billion. The report also makes the revelation that the country's financial policies are not made at home, by calling IMF conditionalities on gas and fuel necessary. These conditions were imposed solely to prevent Pakistan from taking an independent economic line. Though the report and the decision are both the SBP's, it is the government that will have to act to establish the country's independence, in its economy as well as its politics.