The government has approved the fiscal budget for 2018-19 with half of the total money going to debt and defense sectors. The cabinet approved the Rs 5.237 trillion budget allocating around 23% of it to the defense needs while another 30.7% for debt servicing.
The current overall budget at government’s disposal is 10% – Rs 484 billion – higher than last year’s budget approved in June.
The government will present the budget on April 27 amid the criticism revolving the government’s ending tenure. The opposition says that the government is not eligible to present the budget as its tenure is nearing its end.
Here is how the budget for next fiscal year will go according to the plan approved by the cabinet;
- Rs 1.607 trillion will go to debt repayments. The debt servicing cost increased by 17.8% from last year’s value of Rs 1.364 trillion.
- Rs 1.1 trillion approved by cabinet for the defense budget. After adjusting salaries it was revised upward to Rs 998 billion from last year’s value of Rs 920 billion. Additional Rs 100 billion will go to Armed Forces Development Programme (AFDP) as well.
- Rs 800 billion allocated for federal development budget with a decrease of Rs 201 billion from last year.
- Rs 445 billion approved by the cabinet for running the civilian government. However, the government revised this amount and allocated Rs 426 billion instead.
- Rs 342 billion approved for pensions as compared to last year’s figure of Rs 248 billion. Rs 36 billion have been allocated upfront for the first time ever to cover these increments.
- Sources say that minimum 10% increase in salaries, 10% increase in pension to new retirees and 20% increase in pensions to old retirees will be given in the upcoming fiscal year.
- Rs 624 billion approved for grants and other expenditures.
- Rs 179 billion allocated for subsidies that government offers.
- An unrealistic target for the collection of Rs 4.435 trillion through taxes has been set for FBR as well.
The government has also reduced the net lending to Rs 78 billion from last year’s value of Rs 123 billion.
The current budget deficit stands at a record value of Rs 2.029 trillion. The cabinet approved Budget Strategy Paper plan which states that the 5.3% budget deficit of total GDP will be covered through domestic and external loans.
The current government has relied heavily on loans instead of generating a sustainable revenue stream. The government has borrowed a record, over $40 billion, in loans from local and international lenders in during its tenure. The country is planning to borrow another record-breaking $13 billion next year to cover the expenses.