Monday September 20, 2021

‘Budget directed towards survival rather than growth’

June 19, 2020

Islamabad : In light of the COVID-19 pandemic that has gripped the entire country, “will the new budget aid businesses and the general public financially or make matters worse?” Just one of the many questions making rounds as the Government of Pakistan issued its new budget 2020-21, says a press release.

An interactive webinar moderated by the Iqbal Institute of Policy Studies (IIPS), included academicians and experts in the field of economics and financial planning to talk about the matter at hand.

Distinguished speakers were invited to share their expertise in a constructive discussion which included Lt. Gen. Haroon Aslam, President IIPS Advisory Board, Salman Shah, Advisor to the Chief Minister of Punjab on Economic Affairs, Waqar Khan, Former Secretary Finance, Saleem Mandviwalla, Deputy Chairman Senate, Bakhtiyar Kazimi, Partner and Head of KPMG’s Audit Practice of Pakistan and Fawad Mukhtar, CEO Fatima Group.

Keeping the discourse apolitical while analysing the budget in a more objective manner, the speakers talked at length about how the budget was directed towards survival rather than growth.

Understanding the pre and post corona environment as two very contrasting worlds, Advisor to the Chief Minister of Punjab on Economic Affairs, Mr. Salman Shah clarified: “The revenue target for the budget is unlikely to be achieved; meaning that this year there will be a lot of spending and no returns.”

Waqar Khan elucidated his take on the matter as: “The current budget is focused on the existing macroeconomic reality. In the case that COVID lasts more than the expected time, the government will make changes to the budget plan accordingly.” Being a successful businessman, Mr. Fawad Mukhtar added his point of view as: “Confidence in our private sector and growth in our agriculture sector are two areas that can quickly get us out of this COVID-19 economic crisis.”

Bakhtiyar Kazimi and Lt. Gen. Haroon Aslam both expressed an optimistic approach towards the budget plan and were hopeful that this year it will be executed accordingly.