Next budget encompasses economic programme for national progress

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Friday said the Federal Government had unveiled the next fiscal year budget which encompassed a complete economic programme and road-map for national progress and prosperity.
Talking to media persons, she said that incentives had been given to Information Technology sector to create job opportunities for youth and empower them for economic growth. A comprehensive relief package had also been announced for the agriculture sector including farmers, she added. The Minister said substantive allocations had been made for promotion of the education by improving its overall standard and quality.
For the first time, the health insurance scheme had been announced for working journalists and artists, she remarked. The Minister said the previous government also presented budgets in four-year tenure that lacked any vision for the progress and development of the country.
It seemed that sole purpose of previous PTI government was to shatter the social cohesion in the country and the economic stabilisation was not part of its agenda. Marriyum said the previous government was fully exposed when they suspended the IMF programme after its flagrant violations.
A mega relief package was being given for agriculture, IT sector and youth in the budget, she said while reiterating that there was a “good news” for the government servants. To a query, she said four years of pervasive incompetence, widespread corruption, and severe economic deterioration had deeply disappointed the nation.
Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the 5E’s framework formulated by the Ministry of Planning and Development & Initiatives (MoPD&SI) will prove a game changer for economic development in Pakistan.
In a series of tweets, she said that ‘Exports’, ‘E-Pakistan’, Environment & Climate Change, Energy & Infrastructure, and Equity & Empowerment were the pillars of the turnaround of Pakistan. Through this framework, she added, new businesses and employment opportunities will be encouraged to increase exports. She stated that the promotion of education and health and population control will pave the way for the development of Pakistan.
Affordable and uninterrupted energy supply will give a new boost to the economy and business, she said adding environment will be improved through water reservoirs and food security. Through e-Pakistan, youth will be given development opportunities and they will be empowered, she said. She opined that the reduction of fiscal deficit to 4.6 percent of GDP from 4.9 percent was a major achievement which was a positive outcome of the correct economic policy of the government.
She said that a 76 percent reduction in the current account deficit was also a sign of sound economic policy. About 40.4 percent reduction in trade deficit showed the positive impact of economic measures. The minister remarked that the trade deficit has been reduced to $25.8 billion from $43.4 billion, which was a sign of improvement. She said that imports decreased by 29.2 percent, which had a positive impact on the economic situation. Import bill has fallen to 51.2 billion dollars against 72.3 billion dollars last year which was a step towards economic improvement, she added. Compared to Rs 5,348.2 billion during the previous financial year, Rs 6,210 billion in tax revenue was collected during the current fiscal.
In the first 9 months of the current financial year, about 912,000 new taxpayers have been registered against the FBR target of 700,000 taxpayers which she said was a manifestation of an increase in the tax net. Marriyum Aurangzeb said that with the allocation of the federal development budget worth Rs1.15 trillion, the economic activities in the country will accelerate and employment opportunities will increase.