Finance Minister Miftah Ismail is unveiling the unity government’s ‘growth and investment oriented’ budget for the fiscal year 2022-2023 in the National Assembly, with an outlay of Rs 9.5 trillion amid strict regulations by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
While presenting the ‘toughest’ budget yet, Miftah Ismail berated the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, saying their ill-conceived policies brought the country to the brink of an economic disaster.
He said that the budget presented by the incumbent government will be based on ‘sustainable and inclusive growth’, adding that the growth target for the next year was 5%.
“The problem of our economy is that growth is 3-4%, but when it moves up to 5-6%, our current account deficit goes out of control, because we give priority to the elite, which increases our imports. We need to adopt new thinking, to facilitate the lower-income section to increase domestic production,” the minister said.
On inflation he said that the government was aware that the masses were struggling with the skyrocketing prices, and had set a target of bringing it down to 11.5%.
Other key points discussed included a 15% increase in the salaries of federal government employees, on an ad hoc basis, as well as a 5% increase in the pensions of retired government officials.
The minimum tax bracket for small business owners will be raised from Rs 0.4 million to Rs 0.6 million, and the minimal taxable income limit will be raised from Rs 0.6 million to Rs 1.2 million on salaried class. Advance tax will be applicable on cars more than 1600cc.
Rs 51 billion have been proposed for education related projects, while Rs 24 billion have been approved for the health sector.
The total current expenditure budgeted by this government is 15.5%, which comes out to be Rs 8,694 billion.
The defence expenditure is Rs 1523 billion, which is 17.5% of the total expenditure, and is 11.6% higher than last year’s budget.
Debt servicing makes up 45.5% of the total expenditure, and have increased by 29% since last year, sitting at Rs 3,950 billion.
More to follow.