Upcoming Budget to Focus on Fiscal Consolidation: Finance Minister

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail Tuesday said that the government is determined to present a progressive budget with a focus on fiscal consolidation.

Addressing a pre-budget business conference, the finance minister said that fiscal consolidation will bring down the budget deficit to below 5 percent of GDP.

The minister said that the government has formulated an effective strategy to achieve a GDP growth of 6 percent and curtail inflation.

Ismail said that the coalition government was forced to take some difficult decisions to put the economy back on track and more such measures could be taken if required.

The minister said that the government came into power in a tough situation but expressed hope that it would leave the economy in a much better condition at the completion of its tenure.

He said that the government has had positive talks with Saudi Arabia, China, the United Arab Emirates, and a number of other friendly countries, and they would hopefully help Pakistan get out of this tough situation.

Ismail said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had directed to take adequate measures to provide maximum relief to the lower income groups before the hike in petroleum prices. The minister mentioned that the government would provide a monthly stipend to approximately one-third of the country’s population to cushion the impact of the fuel price hike.

Ismail said that the government is in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and an agreement would be signed soon.