Pakistan News

PML-N govt presents historic sixth budget

Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail unveiled Rs 5.246 trillian “tax-free” budget for fiscal year 2018-19 amid ruckus in the National Assembly on Friday.

It is for the first time that an elected government has presented the federal budget for the sixth time.

The total budgeted government of Rs 5.246 trillion was announced, with the tax revenue and FBR revenue targets set at Rs 4.88 trillion and Rs 4.435 trillion.

Miftah Ismail said despite many difficulties and challenges, the government achieved economic stability over the last five years and took the growth rate to the record level.

Highlighting the economic performance of incumbent government, the Finance Minister said GDP ratio remained five point eight percent during the current fiscal year which is the highest in the last thirteen years.

He said volume of economy over the last five years has increased to thirty four thousand, three hundred and ninety six billion rupees.

Finance Minister said per capita income has increased to over one hundred and eighty thousand rupees. Today, the country has become the twenty fourth biggest economy.

He said the agriculture sector grew by three point eight percent, industrial sector by five point eight percent, services six point four percent during the current fiscal year.

Miftah Ismail said government also controlled the inflation rate to three point eight percent. The food inflation remained two percent.

10pc raise in salaries

The finance minister announced ten percent ad hoc relief allowance for civil and armed forces employees and ten percent increase in pensions across the board. House rent ceiling and house rent allowance was also increased by 50 percent each.

Minimum pension fixed at Rs 10,000

Minimum pension was increased from the existing Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000 considering the difficulties of low paid pensioners.

Similarly, family pension would also get increase from Rs 4,500 to Rs 7,500. Minimum pension of pensioners above seventy five years of age would be Rs 15,000.

The government has also proposed an allocation of Rs 12 billion for provision of advances to government servants for house building and purchase of transport facility. It has also set aside Rs 5 billion for senior officers’ performance allowance, details of which would be announced separately.

Defence spending increased to Rs 1.1 trillion

Defence budget was proposed at Rs 1,100 billion against the revised budget of Rs 999 billion in the outgoing year.

Education

The government has allocated Rs 46,680 million under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the ongoing and new schemes of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) during fiscal years 2018-19.

According to the budgetary document, out of total amount, around Rs 40,218 million has been allocated for ongoing schemes, while Rs 6,462 million has been allocated for new schemes.

100-100-100

“We are introducing a new programme to be called 100 100 100. This is a federal government’s commitment to ensure that 100% Pakistani children will be enrolled in schools, 100% children will be retained in schools and finally, 100% will graduate from schools. This is a solemn commitment of not just of Prime Minister Shahid Khakaan Abbasi but the entire parliament to the children of Pakistan,” said the finance minister in his speech.

Rs 13.9 billion for health sector

The federal government set aside Rs 13.9 billion for health sector

BISP gets Rs 124.7 billion

Finance Minister said budgetary allocations for Benazir Income Support Program for the next financial year had been increased to Rs 124.7 billion rupees against Rs 121 billion rupees in the outgoing year.

The Minister said government has launched a national poverty graduation program for BISP beneficiaries with more than nine point five billion rupees.

Under this program beneficiaries willing to start their own businesses will be provided with a one-time cash grant of Rs 50,000 to start their own business.

Rs 688 million allocated for poverty alleviation

Miftah Ismail said that 688 million rupees are being allocated for Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund.

Rs 90 billion for rehabilitation of IDPS

The government announced to allocate a sum of Rs 90 billion for rehabilitation of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Key targets of budget strategy

GDP growth rate of 6.2%
Inflation to remain below 6%
Tax to GDP ratio of 13.8%
Budget deficit of 4.9% of GDP
Budget deficit of 4.9% of GDP
Net Public Debt at 63.2% of GDP
Foreign exchange reserves at $15 billion

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