ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar presented the country’s Federal Budget 2018-19 in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
He started off by shedding light on the gloomy economic situation of the country before the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s regime. He mentioned that Pakistan’s total debt had reached Rs31 trillion owing to high-interest loans taken by the previous government.
Moreover, he mentioned that the foreign exchange reserves had dropped below $10 billion, current account deficit (CAD) had reached $20 billion, whereas the trade deficit had reached $32 billion.
“Pakistan received a bailout package from International Monetary Fund (IMF), along with financial assistance worth $6 billion from Saudi Arabia in the form of deferred oil payments to alleviate the burden on foreign exchange reserves,” he maintained.
- CAD will be reduced to 6.5pc in the upcoming fiscal year of FY19-20.
- Exports will be enhanced via a revised duty structure.
- Power and gas rates will be lowered and free trade agreements will be re-evaluated.
- Pakistani will be made a part of the international value chain.
- Defence budget will remain the same i.e. Rs1.15 trillion.
- Four key policies will be introduced with regard to social welfare programmes.
- Rs200 billion will be allocated to provide power to consumers belonging to low-income slabs at subsidized rates.
- Around one million people shall be provided ration cards under the Ehsas programme.
- The government’s running expenses will be reduced from Rs460 billion to Rs437 billion.
- Rs110 billion will be allocated to provide Rs5,000 as income support to nearly 5.7 million households every month under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
- Federal Board of Revenue’s first and foremost priority would be to increase tax revenue in the upcoming fiscal year to nearly Rs5,500 billion.
- Approval and implementation of Treasury Single Account (TSA).
- Budget size would be 30pc higher i.e. Rs7.022 trillion.
- Fiscal deficit would be 7.1pc of GDP i.e. Rs3.13 trillion, while overall fiscal deficit would be Rs3.56 trillion.
- Tax to GDP ratio targeted at 12.6pc
- The National Development Programme will be allocated Rs1,800 billion.
- Rs55 billion will be spent on Dasu hydropower project.
- Rs24 billion will be allocated to Havelian Thakot motorway.
- Construction of the Samrial-Kharian Motorway shall be commenced.
- Rs60 billion will be allocated for human development.
- Rs45 billion will be spent on higher education.
- Rs1.2 trillion will be provided for agriculture.
- Rs45.5 billion will be earmarked for nine projects in Karachi.
- Rs10.4 billion and Rs30 billion will be provided for water projects under the Balochistan development package.
- The minimum wage will be increased to Rs17,500
- Federal government employees from Grade 1-16 shall be given a 10pc pay raise, whereas employees from Grade 17-20 shall be given a 5pc pay rise, while no increment for Grade-21 and above.
- Salaries of cabinet members will be slashed by 10pc.