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Sunday, June 23, 2024  
17 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Budget Strategy Paper still pending as talks with IMF continue

Even the broad contours of the budget have not been shared with the cabinet

The delay in finalizing Pakistan’s Budget Strategy Paper (BSP) for the next three-year period is directly linked to the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over the terms of the country’s next lending program, an anonymous government official has revealed.

Speaking to Business Recorder, the official stated that without concluding the negotiations with the IMF and finalizing the macroeconomic targets agreed with the Fund, the BSP would be meaningless, as it has to be based on those targets.

The official added that even the broad contours of the budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2024-25 have not yet been shared with the federal cabinet, which is highly unusual. In previous years, the BSP used to be finalized well before the budget presentation and shared with the cabinet by mid-May.

The BSP is an important document as it highlights the government’s policies and priorities for the next three-year period.

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A senior finance ministry official acknowledged that he is unaware whether the BSP has been prepared or not, but confirmed that in the past, the document was submitted to the federal cabinet for approval at least two weeks before the budget, and then shared with the standing committees of both houses of parliament for feedback and recommendations.

The official explained that the BSP outlines the government’s policies in terms of revenue, expenditure, and other macroeconomic targets for the medium-term, with the primary objective of facilitating medium-term policy formulation based on reliable projections of revenue and expenditure, as well as new measures, specific needs, and the government’s strategic priorities.

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