Adviser on Finance Hafeez Sheikh along with other federal ministers, while addressing a post budget conference said that despite difficult economic situation, the government has enhanced allocations for protection of vulnerable segments of the society and development projects in the next year’s fiscal budget.
Hafeez Sheikh said that we have doubled allocations for the social safety net in the budget. As compared to one hundred billion rupees of current fiscal year, we are allocating one hundred and ninety one billion rupees to protect the weak segments of the society.
The Adviser on Finance said two hundred and sixteen billion rupees have been earmarked in the budget as a subsidy for those electricity consumers using less than three hundred units per month. He said this subsidy is aimed at protecting the poor electricity consumers from the rise in power prices. As regards the development budget, the adviser said that the annual development plan for the next fiscal year envisages allocation of nine hundred and fifty billion rupees as against the 550 billion rupees allocated for the current fiscal year.
He said this amount will be spent on the construction of infrastructure including roads and dams which will help create job opportunities for the youth. We have also announced separate packages both for Karachi and Balochistan. Hafeez Sheikh said the new budget also aims to reach out to the poor districts including those in Balochistan as well as erstwhile FATA. He said one hundred and fifty two billion rupees have been earmarked for the development of tribal districts.
The Adviser said we are also giving subsidies to the private sector on the gas and electricity tariff besides they will be given loans as part of efforts to promote economic activity in the country. The Adviser on Finance said the focus of new budget is to check fiscal and external deficits, adopt austerity measures and cut the expenditures of the government.
He pointed out that the expenditures of civilian government for the next fiscal year have substantially been reduced whilst the armed forces have also voluntarily accepted freeze on their expenditures. He said this sends a positive message both to the world and the masses that the we are united on the matter. Referring to the country’s debt, Hafeez Sheikh said we have also earmarked two thousand and nine hundred billion rupees for the payment of interest of loans taken by the previous governments. He said the present government has inherited debt burden of thirty one thousand billion rupees.
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