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Friday May 24, 2024

Federal budget likely to be tabled in NA on June 9

Govt will be convening key meetings relating to federal budget, starting with APCC in mid-May

By Business Desk
May 03, 2023
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar speaks in the National Assembly after lawmakers unanimously pass the Finance(Supplementary) Bill, 2023 in Islamabad on February 20, 2023. — Twitter/@NAofPakistan
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar speaks in the National Assembly after lawmakers unanimously pass the Finance(Supplementary) Bill, 2023 in Islamabad on February 20, 2023. — Twitter/@NAofPakistan

ISLAMABAD: The federal budget for the fiscal year 2023-24 would be presented in the National Assembly in June, sources told Geo News on Wednesday.

They added that the budget session would either be convened on June 9 or June 10 in the lower house of the parliament. 

The development comes amid talks between the ruling alliance and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

The sources said that the government would be convening key meetings relating to the federal budget, starting with the Annual Plan Coordi­nation Committee (APCC) in mid-May. It will prepare the outline of the development budget.

They added that the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) — under the chair of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif — regarding the federal budget will be held in the first week of June.

It was learnt that while preparing the budget efforts will be made to meet the conditions set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Budget has been under discussion since last few days since PTI raised concern regarding what kind of budget will be presented by the Pakistan Democratic Movement if the National Assembly is not dissolved early.

Earlier, PTI leader Hammad Azhar in a tweet said: “The budget for next fiscal year must be devised sensibly and in consultation with the multilaterals.”

He wrote: “It is imperative that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stops playing games with the economy. He has already inflicted massive damage. The budget for next fiscal year must be devised sensibly and in consultation with the multilaterals.”

The tweet showed that the PTI, which is expecting to form its government after the next general elections, wants the next budget to be strictly in line with the recommendations of IMF.

Another senior PTI leader, who did not wish to be named, also said: “The real issue is the upcoming annual budget. We want the budget to be presented by a caretaker government or a new government as the present rulers want to present a political budget for the next year which will be disastrous for the country.”

Pakistan has less than a month's worth of foreign exchange reserves and is awaiting a bailout package of $1.1 billion from the IMF that has been delayed since November over issues related to fiscal policy adjustments.

The funds, which can only be released after signing a staff-level agreement, are part of a $6.5 billion bailout package the IMF approved in 2019, which analysts say is critical for Pakistan to avert defaulting on external payment obligations.