Finance Minister Aurangzeb unveils Budget 2024-25 with total outlay of Rs18tr

Islamabad: Minister for Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb on Wednesday presented Pakistan’s budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 with a total outlay of Rs18.877 trillion.

The National Assembly (NA) session began with recitation of the Holy Quran followed by the national anthem. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is also in attendance.

Meanwhile, the opposition lawmakers belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Sunni Ittehad Council stood on their desks, raised slogans against government and PML-N president Nawaz Sharif. They even tore the copies of the Finance Bill 2025.

Analysts expect the budget for the fiscal year to June 2025 to set ambitious fiscal targets as it looks to strengthen the case for a new bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In Pakistan’s economic survey on Tuesday, the government said GDP would expand 2.4% in the current year, missing the budgeted target of 3.5%, despite revenues being up 30% on year, and the fiscal and current account deficits being under control.

Pakistan is in talks with the IMF for a loan estimated to range from $6 billion to $8 billion, as it seeks to avert a default for an economy growing at the slowest pace in the region.

But a recent economic uptick following stabilisation measures and falling inflation, as well as an interest rate cut by the central bank on Monday, have made the government optimistic about prospects for growth.

At the outset of his speech today, Finance Minister Aurangzeb said that PM Shehbaz Sharif and his team should be congratulated over his efforts in past one year to revive economy. He vowed that Pakistan will soon be on the path of inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

“I am thankful to the leadership of the coalition partners in the government, including Nawaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Abdul Aleem Khan and Khalid Hussain Magsi, for their guidance in making of budget 2024,” he said.

Muhammad Aurangzeb believes that despite political and economic challenges, the government’s progress on the economic front in the past one year has been impressive. He urged Pakistan to capitalise on a fresh opportunity to revitalise its economy.

“Under PM Shehbaz Sharif’s leadership, we have pursued a homegrown agenda that has enabled us to overcome current economic challenges and boost the pace of development.”
He acknowledged the challenges faced by Pakistan’s economy, which had been struggling with depleted foreign reserves, a 40 per cent depreciation of the rupee, stagnant economic growth, and soaring inflation.

He commended the government for securing a crucial nine-month IMF programme in June 2023, which helped Pakistan avoid economic collapse.

“The previous IMF programme was ending, and a new deal was essential to prevent a default. I commend Shehbaz Sharif’s government for their efforts in securing the programme,” he said.

Muhammad Aurangzeb confirmed that a long-term loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to bail out Pakistan’s economy will provide relief to inflation-broken masses, whose incomes have hit stalled in recent years.

The minister highlighted the significant improvement in economic indicators, crediting the PM and his team for their efforts. “Inflation stood at 11.8pc in May, a notable achievement considering the challenges. We’re on the right track, and inflation is likely to decrease further in the coming days,” he said.