Over Rs 4.8 trillion federal budget to be presented tomorrow

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar will present the fourth Federal Budget of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government with an outlay of over Rs 4.8 trillion for the fiscal year 2016-17 in the Parliament on June 3 (Friday).

Special budget sessions of the National Assembly and Senate have already been summoned by President Mamnoon Hussain.

According to official sources, the budget will envisage further improving economic growth, overcoming challenges, particularly energy crisis, maintaining fiscal discipline and reducing non-development expenditures and providing relief to the masses, besides promoting investment for jobs creation and people-friendly policies for the socio-economic prosperity of the country.

Main focus in the budget would on the development of energy, infrastructure and human resource sectors. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects would also be prioritized.

The budget is likely to enhance allocations for social safety net for providing maximum relief to vulnerable segment of the society.

It would also focus on social sector development and revenue enhancement measures. Besides, reforms would also be introduced for improving governance and boosting private sector investment for the overall progress and prosperity.

The National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, through video link from London approved Rs 1.675 trillion development outlay including Rs 800 billion as federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and Rs 875 billion as provincial Annual Development Programme (ADP).

The NEC was informed that 4.71 growth rate was achieved during the outgoing fiscal year (2015-16), which is the highest growth for the last 8 years while other economic indicators have shown a marked improvement in the fiscal year 2015-16.

The sources said that “Pakistan of 2016 is far better than the country which was in 2013 and now it is gradually progressing”. The economy was now on the take-off stage and would further improve, they added.

They further said that the National Economic Council (NEC) in its meeting held on Wednesday, has fixed GDP growth rate target of 5.7 percent for the forthcoming budget 2016-17.

They expressed the hope that keeping in view of improving economy, the government would be able to achieve the said target of 5.7 percent.

The Government had earmarked Rs.1,675 billion in the forthcoming budget for the development schemes under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the year 2016-17.

“Out of the total allocation, Rs.875 have been earmarked for the provinces,”, the sources said.

Giving break-up of the allocation, they said that Rs. 468 billion were allocated for infrastructure including Rs.157 billion for power, Rs.260 billion for transport and communications, Rs. 33 billion for water, Rs.18 billion for Physical Planning and Housing.

Out Rs.89 billion allocated for social sector, Rs.29 billion were earmarked for Education including Higher Education Commission (HEC), Rs.30 billion for Health and Population, Rs. 20 billion for Sustainable Development Goals Programme and Rs.10 billion for other social sectors.

The sources added that, Rs.9 billion were allocated for Science and IT, Rs. 8 billion for Governance, Rs.42 billion for Special Areas including AJK, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan respectively.

They added that out of Rs.4 billion for Production, Rs. 2 billion each were earmarked for industries and Food and Agriculture sectors while, Rs.28 billion were earmarked for special federal development programme under PSDP.

The sources added that government in the Budget 2016-17 is likely to announce a special package for the promotion of agriculture sector in the country.

The budget speech of the Finance Minister would be broadcast and telecast live from the Parliament House on the Friday afternoon. -APP