Tuesday Jun 11, 2019
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led federal government on Tuesday unveiled a Rs7,022 billion austerity budget for the fiscal year 2019-20, setting ambitious tax collection targets to stabilise a faltering economy.
The budget sets an ambitious Rs5,555bn target for the Federal Board of Revenue—a 25% increase or Rs1.12 trillion in additional taxes from the previous year.
The increased FBR revenue would be supported by a Rs346bn increase in direct and Rs773bn rise in indirect taxes from the previous budget, which would mean Rs407.7bn in additional sales tax revenue, Rs363bn increase in income tax collection, Rs265.5bn rise in customs duties, and a rise of Rs99bn in federal excise duties as compared to the previous year.
"A challenging target of Rs5,555bn FBR revenue collection will be combined with aggressive expenditure controls to reduce primary deficit to 0.6% of GDP," said State Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar presenting the budget in the National Assembly.
He said the ambitious increase in tax revenue would be combined with "unprecedented reduction in expenditure" by both the civil administration and the military to bridge the widening gap between the government's revenue and expenses.
"We have slashed the civil budget by five percent while the military budget will remain the same," he added as he announced the details of the plan.
"The financial year 2019-2020 will be a year for economic stability. We will make some tough decisions and will try to save the poor public from the effects of those tough decisions."
The government says the budgetary proposals are focused on economic stability and sustainable growth, with an emphasis on austerity, revenue generation, and uplift of downtrodden segments of society.
The special budget session of the National Assembly was marred by protests from opposition parties, which accused the government of presenting a budget "dictated" by the International Monetary Fund.
The government has secured a provisional agreement for a $6bn bailout from the IMF, contingent on measures to cut a rising budget deficit.
During the budget presentation, members of the opposition protested in front of the NA speaker's dais.
Opposition members chanted slogans against the government and Prime Minister Imran Khan.
END OF LIVE UPDATES [PRE BUDGET]
10% decrease in salaries of advisers, special assistants
Sources have informed Geo News that the budget will have a 10 per cent decrease in the salaries of advisers and special assistants.
National Assembly session begins
The session of the National Assembly is underway. The PTI government will present the budget during the session.
'Govt hiding inflation under shroud of accountability'
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Tuesday that the federal government was trying to sweep a flood of inflation and rising prices under a shroud of so-called accountability and arrests.
"The problem is not of (the arrests of) Nawaz Sharif or Asif Zardari," Bilawal said at a joint session of opposition parliamentary parties. "The question is which direction the country is going in."
‘Imran doesn’t know how to control inflation’
PML-N leader Khurram Dastagir speaking to reporters said Prime Minister Imran Khan did not know how to control inflation.
Dastagir said the government’s budget would be a ‘storm’ of inflation, adding it will contain a mountain of taxes.
“We will let them [government] present the budget and not will give them the opportunity to run,” said Dastagir.
Joint session of opposition parties
Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly and leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Shehbaz Sharif chaired a joint session of the opposition parties. The session was attended by Pakistan People's Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and PPP leaders Raza Rabbani, Sherry Rehman, Khursheed Shah, PML-N lawmaker Ahsan Iqbal, and other opposition leaders.
Sources said the leaders discussed the political situation following the arrests of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz.
Opposition leaders also formulated a strategy for the budget session during the joint meeting, sources said.
PM chairs special budget session of federal cabinet
Prime Minister Imran Khan is chairing a special budget session of the federal cabinet in Islamabad.
The PM's Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and other officials are briefing the cabinet on the budgetary targets set for the upcoming fiscal year, sources said. They added that revenue targets set by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and other matters related to different ministries are also being discussed.
The federal cabinet will give its nod to the Finance Bill in the special budget session.
Hammad Azhar to present Federal Budget
The federal budget 2019-20 will be presented by Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar, sources informed Geo News on Tuesday.
According to sources, a debate would be sparked in Parliament if the budget was presented by Advisor to the Prime Minister Imran Khan on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.
What to expect from the budget 2019
The total outlay is an estimated Rs. 6,800 billion
Federal Cabinet to approve Finance Bill
The Federal Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan will be held shortly during which Abdul Hafeez Shaikh will give a briefing on the budget.
The cabinet is expected to approve the Finance Bill during its meeting.
Opposition parties to meet ahead of budget session
Opposition parties have conveyed a meeting ahead of the budget session. The meeting is scheduled to be held at Parliament House at 4 pm.
The meeting which will be attended by PPP, PML-N and other parties will deliberate on the strategy for the budget session.
Development budget features
Government to allocate Rs951 billion for the development budget