Budget to be finalised after consultations with PPP, assures PML-N's Sanaullah

PPP demands PML-N adhere to "written pact" agreed upon back when govt was being formed

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Rana Sanaullah, Adviser to Prime Minister on Political Affairs and PML-N's Punjab president, speaks to reporters in Faisalabad, on June 17, 2024. — Screengrab/GeoNews
  • Sanaullah acknowledges that PPP's concerns are valid.
  • He says govt eyeing to pass budget before June ends.
  • PPP's Gilani demands PML-N adhere to "written pact".

Following strong reservations from its ally, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has said that it would ensure to take the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) into confidence before the budget 2024-25 is passed. 

"These are budget proposals right now [...] there will be discussions on these within the parliament as well as on the sidelines," Rana Sanaullah, Adviser to Prime Minister on Political Affairs and PML-N's Punjab president, told reporters in Faisalabad.

Just moments before Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb presented the budget for the next fiscal year on June 12, the PPP — an ally of the PML-N during the previous government as well — decided to boycott the National Assembly session.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar was able to convince the PPP's leadership to ensure their presence, but only a handful of lawmakers from the party joined the session — marking their 'token attendance'.

Even ahead of the budget, PPP leaders had expressed annoyance over not being consulted over the budget proposals, saying that they were allies and questioned whether the government wanted them to express their displeasure on the assembly's floor.

Acknowledging PPP's reservations, Sanaullah said that their concerns were valid, but it wasn't like they weren't consulted at all. "Yes, there was some lack from our side. However, the budget isn't finalised yet, we're still taking proposals."

Sanaullah said that the government eyes to get the passed before the end of June — since the next fiscal year begins on July 1.

The government has set a challenging tax revenue target of Rs13 trillion for the year starting July 1, a near-40% jump from the current year, and a sharp drop in its fiscal deficit to 5.9% of GDP from 7.4% for the current year.

The coalition government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif does not have the luxury of a parliamentary majority to help it pass the budget smoothly.

PPP's Yousaf Raza Gilani speaks to reporters in Multan, on June 17, 2024. — Screengrab/GeoNews

Sticking to the reform measures will require it to resist pushback from key economic sectors as well as a broader public already angry at the prospect of further price rises.

Talking to reporters in Multan, PPP's top leader and Senate Chairman Yousaf Raza Gilani said his party wants the PML-N to adhere to the "written pact" that was agreed upon back when the government was being formed.

"We will try to make sure that the needy are provided relief in the budget. People should also be provided relief from inflation," the Senate chairman stressed.