Budget 2018-19: PML-N unveils Rs5.932 trillion layout for next fiscal year amid ruckus by opposition

  • Opposition protests budget presentation by 'un-elected' Miftah Ismael
  • Khursheed Shah says Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz got 'no right to present full-term budget'
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) became the country’s first political party to announce six budgets in its tenure on Friday amid opposition protests calling for a budget covering only the remaining three months of the federal government’s tenure.

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail started the speech for Budget 2018-19 with a total outlay of over Rs5.932 trillion, which has been approved by the federal cabinet, at 05:30pm (PST).

While the opposition criticised the government for snatching the right of deciding a budget from the next government, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the successive government would  be free to make any changes.

budget_speech_english_2018_19

Defence

The defence budget has increased to Rs11.33 trillion from a revised budget estimate of Rs999 billion in the previous year, 10pc hike.

    • An addition of Rs180 billion in Defence Budget.
    • Rs5.33 trillion has been allocated for Army.
    • Rs1.19 trillion has been allocated for Navy.
    • Rs2.33 trillion has been allocated for Pakistan Air Force (PAF)
    • Rs2 billion has been allocated for Pakistan Rangers.

Law and Order

A total of Rs1.2 trillion has been allocated for Law and Order in the country.

  • Rs5.63bn for courts
  • Rs1.22 trillion for Federal Police
  • Rs5.30 billion for Prisons
  • Rs6.27 billion for Airport Security Force (ASF)

Ramazan Package

A sum of Rs2 billion has been allocated for Ramazan Package.

Health

An addition of Rs37 billion in funds for Basic Health.

Education

An addition of Rs57 billion in funds for Higher Education Commission (HEC); Rs10bn for Youth.

An amount of Rs4.336 billion for the ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training Division for six on-going and nine new schemes for the financial year 2018-19.

Civil Government

A total of Rs463.4 billion allocated for Civil Government.

Development

A total of Rs1067 billion has been allocated for development projects.

    • Rs137bn for 31 projects in Gwadar, Balochistan.
    • Rs24.5bn for FATA.
    • Rs47bn for Continued Development.
    • Rs76bn for Dasu dam.
    • Rs32.5bn for Neelum-Jhelum project.
    • Rs90bn for areas affected by military operations.

    Special Packages

    A Rs25bn Karachi Package for development in the port city.

        • A large-scale desalination plant will be set up in Karachi to end the city’s water woes.
        • Rs5bn will be allocated for the construction of roads, fire brigades and bridges in the coming fiscal year.
        • Rs8bn will be set aside for expansion of the Expo Centre.

    A special Children package targeting 100pc admission, attendance and graduation of children in schools.

        • The government will pay for the transportation of female students to school.
        • Another special package amounting to Rs10bn ─ along with a supplementary grant ─ for children’s health.

  • Agriculture, Livestock and PoultryAn addition of Rs800 billion has been proposed for Agriculture.
        • Rs5 billion allocated for Agriculture Technology.
        • Rs100 billion allocated for Agri-loans.
        • 3 percent reduction in sales tax on fertilizers, which will stand at 2 percent only.
        • Rs 5 billion allocated for Agriculture Fund.
        • A total of Rs31.18 billion subsidies for Agriculture, Livestock and Poultry.
        • Rs6 billion subsidy for Utility stores.

    Salaries & Pensions

    The government has proposed 10 percent increase in the salaries of federal employees.

        • A 50% increase in House Rent for federal employees

    A total of 342 billion fixed for pensions.

        • Minimum pension is raised from Rs6,000 to Rs10,000.
        • A raise from Rs4,500 to Rs7,500 in Family Pension has been proposed
        • Minimum Rs15,000 pension proposed for people above 75 years

    Loans

    A total of Rs 1016.3 billion will be taken as loans from banks, according to budget documents.

    Religious Affairs

    A total of Rs1.3 billion has been earmarked for Religious Affairs in the country.

    BISP

    A total Rs124 billion fixed for Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

    Taxes

    The tax revenue and FBR revenue targets have been set at Rs 4.88 trillion and Rs 4.435 trillion.

    Forex Reserves

    The finance minister estimated forex reserves to come to about $15bn in FY18-19, with the steps of the social safety net to continue. The target tax to GDP ratio is 13.8pc, the target budget deficit 4.9pc and the target net public debt to GDP ratio 63.2pc, he announced.



    ‘Historic moment’

    “This is a historic moment for the parliament that the 6th budget is being presented. A government cannot run for a day without the budget. The provincial government’s cannot decide their budgets without approval of the federal budget,” Miftah Ismail told the National Assembly as he unveiled the budget speech.

    “We cannot interrupt the 5.8 per cent GDP growth. However the next government will have the right to make changes to the budget,” he assured the opposition.

    “The GDP growth rate was 5.4pc last year – it has now grown to 5.8pc, the highest in 13 years,” he recalled.

    “In the last five years, inflation has been kept below 5pc which was up to 12pc when we took over. The budget deficit will remain restricted to 5pc this year,” he said.

    “The State Bank policy rate was 5.7pc which was the lowest in decades, coming down from over 9pc. The lowest interest rate in history has brought an increase in businesses” he explained.

    ‘No right to present full-term budget’

    As the session started on Friday, the opposition parties objected to the ‘un-elected’ Miftah Ismail presenting the budget speech. Miftah, who was earlier the Board of Investment chairman before being appointed adviser to the prime minister on finance in December 2017, was sworn in as the country’s finance minister on Friday morning.

    Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah staged a protest against the outgoing PML-N presenting a full-term budget instead for the remaining three months of its tenure.

    “Unfortunately, the government is snatching the right of the next assembly with today’s budget,” said Shah. “My wish is that whichever party wins the elections, has the right to present the budget.”

    Finance Minister Ishaq Dar unveils Rs 4.778 trillion Budget 2017-18

    The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) are opposing the budget as leaders of both parties earlier lambasted the government’s decision to present a full-year budget, terming it “illegal and unconstitutional”.