close
Saturday June 15, 2024

PPP leadership calls on PM Shehbaz to mull over budget 2024-25

Upcoming budget will be a test case for incumbent govt as IMF has conditioned next bailout package with "aligned" budget

By Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai
May 26, 2024
PM Shehbaz Sharif (centre) meets senior PPP delegation including Sherry Rehman, CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah, Naveed Qamar and others in this undated image. — Screengrab via YouTube/Geo News/File
PM Shehbaz Sharif (centre) meets senior PPP delegation including Sherry Rehman, CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah, Naveed Qamar and others in this undated image. — Screengrab via YouTube/Geo News/File

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan looks forward to securing a fresh bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the federal government Sunday joined heads with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to mull over the budget for next fiscal year 2024-25.

The development comes as a report published in The News stated that the federal government intends to present the budget for the next fiscal year on June 7 — however, the government is yet to announce the official date when the budget will be unveiled.

The huddle, attended by PPP's Raja Pervez Ashraf, Cheif Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah, Sherry Rehman and Naveed Qamar along with Deputy PM Ishaq Dar, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Adviser to PM on Political and Public Affairs Rana Sanaullah, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar and Information Minister Ataullah Tarar also mulled over the prevailing political situation in the country.

The meeting comes as the PM Shehbaz-led Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government will need the PPP's support to pass the budget as it lacks the required numbers in the National Assembly to do so on its own.

The two parties, following the February 8 polls, agreed to join hands with the PPP supporting the PML-N in the election of Shehbaz as the country's premier in exchange for various constitutional posts such as Senate Chairman, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab governors etc.

The passing of the FY2024-25 budget holds significance as the country, in April, made a formal request to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for seeking the next bailout package in the range of $6 to $8 billion under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

An IMF team, led by Nathan Porter, the IMF’s Mission Chief to Pakistan, visited Islamabad during May 13-23, 2024, to discuss the country’s plans for a home-grown economic programme that can be supported under the EFF.

The visiting IMF team had secured relevant data of all major economic fronts and informed the relevant authorities what kind of budget the Fund staff would like to see in 2024-25.

Although the Washington-based lender has acknowledged making significant progress with Islamabad toward reaching a Staff Level Agreement (SLA) on a comprehensive economic policy and reform programme, it has conditioned the next bailout package with the approval of the aligned budget, The News reported.

"In the budget 2024-25, the government will have to demonstrate its ability to raise the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) revenue, [...] the government will have to hike electricity and gas tariffs in coming July and August 2024 to strike a deal with the IMF," top official sources confirmed to the publication.

Therefore, the upcoming budget for 2024-25 will become a test case for the incumbent regime to demonstrate its ability to deliver on the IMF's stringent conditions.