Pakistan unveils $67.8B annual budget

Pakistan unveils $67.8B annual budget

Islamabad sets target of PKR 12.9 trillion ($46.3 billion) in tax revenue for new fiscal year

​​​​​​By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - Pakistan on Wednesday unveiled a PKR 18.9 trillion ($67.75 billion) budget for the fiscal year 2024-25, aiming for tax revenue of PKR 12.9 trillion ($46.3 billion) and setting an annual growth target of 3.6%.

Finance Minister Aurungzeb Khan proposed the budget in parliament amid a protest by the opposition, which termed the proposals “IMF-dictated,” pointing to interventions and advisories by the global lender International Monetary Fund.

Earlier, the Cabinet led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had approved the budget proposals.
The budget is likely to be passed by the parliament where the ruling coalition enjoys a comfortable majority.

Apart from an increase in taxes, the budget proposed some new taxes on several sectors, and luxury and essential import items, including agriculture machinery, cosmetics, vehicles, etc.
A 15% to 25% increase in salaries of government employees has also been suggested.

An amount of PKR 2.1 trillion ($7.61 billion) has been proposed for defense, compared to PKR 1.8 trillion ($6.46 billion) allocated in the last fiscal year.
The country aims to achieve a target of $32.4 billion in exports and $30.27 in foreign remittances in the next fiscal year. For imports, the target is $58 billion, while $3.70 billion is for the current account deficit.

Marred by an acute balance of payment crisis and depleting foreign reserves, Pakistan’s faltering economy has shown little signs of recovery in recent months, banking on tight financial policies and a $3 billion IMF bailout package, which ended in May.

In the lead-up to the budget, the South Asian Country, which last year touched over 38% inflation rate, recorded a 30-month low of 11.8% in May.
Islamabad is negotiating with the IMF for a "larger and longer" bailout program to the tune of $7 to $8 billion.

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