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Tuesday, July 23, 2024  
17 Muharram 1446  

Federal cabinet gives nod to budget

Also approved package for industries, farmers, youth
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif presides over PML-N’s parliamentary meeting on June 12, 2024. PID
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif presides over PML-N’s parliamentary meeting on June 12, 2024. PID

The federal cabinet has a given nod to the annual budget for the fiscal year which according to sources includes a comprehensive package for farmers, youth, and industries.

The details of all the schemes would be announced in the budget speech by Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb.

The budget proposals, amounting to over 18 trillion rupees, have been approved. The budget includes significant allocations for various sectors and initiatives aimed at stimulating economic growth and supporting key segments of the population.

On Tuesday, the finance minister expressed his intention to tax the “holy cows” as he revealed that Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) stood at 2.38% up from the estimated two per cent.

“There are no sacred cows. Everyone will have to contribute to this economy because schools, hospitals, colleges, and universities can run through philanthropy but the country does not,” he said while responding to a question after presenting the Pakistan Economic Survey in Islamabad on Tuesday.

“The country can only run through tax,” he added.

In FY22-23, the GDP contracted by 0.2% while the Pakistan rupee depreciated by 29%. As per the survey, the real GDP grew by 2.4% during 2023-24 (July to March) compared to a contraction of 0.2% in 2022-23, but lower than the targeted 3.5%.

The finance minister, a former CEO of Habib Bank Limited, added that the country’s saviour was agriculture because of the bumper crop. He was of the view that dairy and livestock would remain a “big upside” for the country in the years to come and that agriculture was going to be a “huge lever of growth.”

When asked, he did not exact statistics about the amount of funds taken from the market for the foreign exchange reserves. “A significant amount has come from open market operations,” Aurangzeb said.

In response to a query, he said that the repayment of loans would not be an issue. “The easiest way to describe it is the way we have managed 2023-24. It’s going to be the same pattern more or less we see in 2024-25. We will see rollovers,” he said about the economy’s outlook for the next fiscal year.

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