Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso was given a briefing on Tuesday by senior officials of the Finance Ministry about budget preparation, state of the economy and immediate challenges facing the country. The Prime Minister was briefed about the current economic situation, including balance of trade, budgetary and balance of payment position as well as role of remittances in the economy.
Senior officials of the Finance Ministry reportedly informed the PM that budget strategy papers, envisaging macroeconomic framework and fiscal projection for the next fiscal year and following two years, had been approved by the outgoing Cabinet. The PM was briefed about the overall proposed size of the outlay for the next fiscal year and risks to the budget. He was also informed that a number of budgetary targets had been revised upward, especially the expenditure estimated at Rs 2,960 billion at the time budget announcement had now been revised upward to Rs 3,195 billion.
A senior official said the expenditure might be even higher than the revised estimates subsequent to the decisions taken by the government during last couple of weeks for the release of funds through supplementary grants and discretionary fund utilisation by the PM under People”s Works Programme (PWP-II). The PM was reportedly informed that next fiscal year”s outlay was estimated to be around Rs 3.495 trillion with a deficit of Rs 1.601 trillion.
According to a statement, the PM said Pakistan was an agricultural country and there was a need to focus on this sector, exploiting its true potential to revive the national economy. He directed the Ministry of Finance to streamline the banking system, which would help in checking illegal Hundi transactions and increasing remittances from Pakistanis living abroad. The briefing was presented by Secretary Finance Abdul Khaliq and was attended by senior officials of the PM”s Secretariat and Finance Ministry.