ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar presented Rs6,800 billion deficit budget for the fiscal year 2019-20.
At the beginning of the budget speech, the federal minister said that Pakistan is passing through exceptionally critical juncture but the government has focused on public welfare and wellbeing and reducing the external deficit.
He said that it was time to change the lifestyle of the downtrodden people and need to do away with corruption and take care of neglected segments of society.
Minister added, that the current account deficit will be brought down to 6.5 per cent in the next fiscal year and full attention will be paid to boot exports and the year 2019-20 will be the year of sustainability.
He said that the government has allocated Rs925 billion under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and free trade agreements will be reevaluated.
Hammad Azhar said that the government has allocated Rs1150 billion for defence and Rs47 billion for the Higher Education Commission and Rs45 billion for Karachi under a special package.
As regards the Federal Bureau of Revenue, 5.550 billion target for revenue collection has been set.
He said that the government will give a subsidy of Rs40 on electricity and gas and government’s expenditures will be slashed to Rs434 billion from the current Rs460 billion.
The government will introduce a new ration card scheme for one million people, who will be given food supplements.
The minister announced 10 per cent increase the salary of government servants in pay scale 1 to 16 and army men and a pay raise of 5% in salaries of grade 17 and grade 20. No salary raise has been given to officers of scale 21 and 22. The government has announced 10 per cent slash in salaries of federal ministers.
At the beginning of the budget speech, the minister said that the country was facing Rs3100 billion debt including 97-billion-dollar foreign debt. He said that the current deficit was $20 billion, trade deficits $32 billion; circular debt stands at Rs1200 billion.
He said that the government received remittances of around $20 billion in the outgoing year; $2.5 billion help received from the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has also extended the oil facility on deferred payment and over $2 billion annual will annually be saved. Azhar said that the current account deficit will be brought down to 7-billion-dollar next year.
He said that the government has decided to set up one single treasury account and the government money will be kept in commercial banks. The minister said that the tax to GDP ratio was 11 per cent, which was the lowest and it will be increased to 20 per cent. He said that almost 50 percent of companies registered with SECP did not pay taxes, which will be brought in the tax net. Azhar said that government expenditures to be slashed to Rs434 billion from Rs460 billion
He said that Ahsas fund will be established for elderly people.