Adopt austerity measures, cut govt’s expenditures: finance adviser
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Hafeez Shaikh has said the focus of new budget is to check fiscal and external deficits, adopt austerity measures and cut the expenditures of the government.
Addressing a post budget news conference on Wednesday explaining further the details of federal budget 2019-20 with Planning Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar and Minister of State for Finance Hammad Azhar, Hafeez Shaikh pointed out that the expenditures of civilian government for the next fiscal year have substantially been reduced whilst the armed forces have also voluntariliy accepted freeze on their expenditures.
Allocations for social safety net enhanced
The finance adviser said that despite difficult economic situation, the government has enhanced allocations for protection of vulnerable segments of the society and development projects in the next year’s fiscal budget.
“We have doubled allocations for the social safety net in the budget. As compared to one hundred billion rupees of current fiscal year, we are allocating one hundred and ninety one billion rupees to protect the weak segments of the society,” Hafeez Sheikh said.
Rs216bn subsidy allocates for electricity consumers
Hafeez Shaikh said two hundred and sixteen billion rupees have been earmarked in the budget as a subsidy for those electricity consumers using less than three hundred units per month. He said this subsidy is aimed at protecting the poor electricity consumers from the rise in power prices.
As regards the development budget, the adviser said that the annual development plan for the next fiscal year envisages allocation of nine hundred and fifty billion rupees as against the 550 billion rupees allocated for the current fiscal year.
Create job opportunities
He said this amount will be spent on the construction of infrastructure including roads and dams which will help create job opportunities for the youth. “We have also announced separate packages both for Karachi and Balochistan,” he added.
He said that the new budget also aims to reach out to the poor districts including those in Balochistan as well as erstwhile FATA. He said one hundred and fifty two billion rupees have been earmarked for the development of tribal districts.
The adviser said we are also giving subsidies to the private sector on the gas and electricity tariff besides they will be given loans as part of efforts to promote economic activity in the country.
The finance adviser said the focus of new budget is to check fiscal and external deficits, adopt austerity measures and cut the expenditures of the government.
Inherited debt burden of Rs31000bn
Referring to the country’s debt, Hafeez Sheikh said we have also earmarked two thousand and nine hundred billion rupees for the payment of interest of loans taken by the previous governments. He said the present government has inherited debt burden of thirty one thousand billion rupees.