National budget for 2019-20 presented

Islamabad: The government on Tuesday presented the budget for 2019-2020. The new budget envisages total

development outlay of Rs 1,863 billion for the next fiscal year.

The size of federal Public Sector Development Programme has been set at 951 billion rupees, which also

includes foreign assistance of 127 billion rupees.

Besides an amount of 912 billion rupees has been allocated for provincial Annual Development Plans.

During the next fiscal year, the government plans new initiatives such as District Equalization Plan,

interventions in the agriculture sector to ensure food security, prioritization of construction of mega dams for

water conservancy, interventions in the field of knowledge economy and skilled development on the youth.

An amount of 210 billion rupees has been earmarked to implement various physical planning and housing

initiatives including Urban and Regional Planning Framework, Smart City Plans and Integrated Strategic

Development Plans, including Prime Minister’s Naya Housing Programme and slum upgradation programme.

Similarly, interventions in the conservancy of environment and improvement in environment through Clean

and Green Pakistan and Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programmes have been initiated.

The PSDP allocation for Climate Change Sector has been kept at 1102 million rupees for the next fiscal year.

The National Agriculture Emergency Program intends to spend 290 billion rupees in the next five years to

boost the sector.

The programme will be executed with the coordination of all provinces to ensure productivity of major crops,

including wheat, sugarcane, cotton, rice, oil seed crops, improvement of water use efficiency and promoting

high value fish farming. It also includes calf saving and promoting backyard poultry.

An amount of five billion rupees, including foreign aid of 2.4 billion has been allocated for the governance

sector in the next fiscal year. Capacity of public sector will be enhanced for improved public service delivery.

The budget proposes allocation of 63.5 billion rupees for special areas including merged districts of Khyber

Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Further, a special allocation for 75 billion rupees will be provided for equitable Regional Development in

order to accelerate development of less developed areas and 22 billion rupees are set aside for 10 year

development plan of merged districts.

The annual plan aims to improve the capacity of IT sector by enhancing infrastructure facilities, improving

skill quality of human resource and accelerating implementation of public E services for citizens.

In the upcoming year, special emphasis will be made towards a robust advocacy and awareness campaign for

adoption of family planning services and encouraging financing of population sector projects.

Higher Education Commission has been allocated an amount of over 28,646 million rupees for the ongoing and

new schemes in the next fiscal year.

Allocation for the projects proposed by “Task Force on Technology Driven Knowledge Development” will be

in addition to regular HEC budget.

The HEC budget will be used to transform the universities into world class institutions and encourage

innovative ideas of researchers.

Ministry of Science and Technology has been allocated an amount of over 6231 million rupees.

This includes 921 million rupees for ongoing and 5310 million rupees for new projects.

The government’s planned initiatives for employment and skill development during the next year will help

alleviate unemployment in the country.

The plan focuses to provide and promote technical and vocational training by extending geographical access

through the public private partnership in market demand trades.

In the health sector, the key initiatives to widen the coverage of health care spending and achieve health

targets include increase in the number of paramedical staff, expansion of lady health workers programme,

strengthening of primary healthcare with backup of skilled personnel including women, medical officers in

basic health units, establishment of health emergency surveillance and response system, implementation of a

national plan for vaccination and establishing a health information and disease surveillance system.

Micro health insurance schemes will be made part of existing social safety nets to extend health coverage to

the vulnerable segments of the society.

An amount of over 516 million rupees has been allocated for digitization of production and transmission

infrastructure of Pakistan Television and Radio Pakistan with thrust on reaching out to far-flung areas of the

country.

The services of Radio Pakistan will be expanded to the uncovered areas.

An amount of over 128 million rupees has been allocated for conservation and promotion of rich and diverse

cultural heritage of Pakistan.

The annual development plan also envisages upgradation of power transmission and distribution system in

order to reduce line losses and check power theft.

Since construction of large take substantial time, quick alternatives will be adopted like construction of

medium and small dams.

Out of total water sector’s development budget, amounting to 71.9 billion rupees, an amount of about 56.5

billion rupees has been proposed for system augmentation for the next fiscal year.

An allocation of over 237 billion has been made for development programme of Transport and Logistics

sector.

Giving an overview of the economic situation when the PTI government came to power, Minister of State for

Finance Hammad Azhar said the country was facing overall debt of 31000 billion rupees including 97 billion

dollars of external debt.

The foreign exchange reserves had dropped to 10 billion dollars.

He said trade deficit was 32 billion dollars while current account deficit touched 20 billion dollars all due to

financial mismanagement of the previous government.

Circular debt had reached 1200 billion rupees at a rate of 38 billion rupees per month.

A loss of 1300 billion rupees was being faced by public sector institutions. This was unsustainable and as a

result the rupee started falling in December 2017.

He said the government took a number of steps to correct the course of economy.

Import duties were increased and imports reduced from 49 billion dollars to 45 billion dollars.

Circular debt was reduced by 12 billion rupees per month and it was brought down to 26 billion rupees from

38 billion rupees.

Financial aid from China, UAE and Saudi Arabia helped stabilize the economy. Incentives for export sector

were increased for three more years.

He said a programme of 6 billion dollars has been agreed with IMF.

This will help us gain 2 to 3 billion dollars loan more at very economical rates. Oil payment deferred facility

from Saudi Arabia will also help reduce pressure on the government.

Seven billion dollars reduction in Current Account Deficit will be achieved this year, which will be 6.5

billion dollars next year.

The Asset Declaration Scheme will bring the undeclared assets into mainstream and help increase revenue of

the government.

Tax policy has been separated from tax administration.

Pakistan Banao Certificates were issued in order to provide benefit to Overseas Pakistanis to invest in

Pakistan. Billion Tree Tsunami and Clean and Green Pakistan initiatives were launched.

He said in Naya Pakistan, the culture of tax evasion will be overcome. Civil and Defense authorities have

agreed to voluntary reduced in their budgets.

The Minister of State for Revenue said our aim during the financial year 2019-20 will be to increase the tax

net.

Regretting the low tax to GDP ratio, he said the country cannot make progress without payment of taxes.

He appreciated the gesture of both the civilian government and the military leadership for voluntarily

deciding to cut their expenditures.

He said the civil expenditures will be reduced by five percent from 460 billion rupees to four hundred and

thirty seven billion rupees.

The defense expenditure will be maintained at 1150 billion rupees.

The Minister of state said we are firm for the defense and sovereignty of the country, and no compromise will

be made on the defense capability of the country.

Given the current economic situation, Hammad Azhar said the government has acted with responsibility and

taken steps for the economic stabilization.

We have increased import duty which helped us bring down imports from forty nine billion dollars to forty

five billion dollars.

He said remittances have witnessed an increase of two billion dollars.

He said the IMF package will also help the country steer the economy towards stability.