April 27, 2018 / 4:16 PM / 3 months ago

Pakistan government presents annual budget two months before term ends

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan said on Friday it expected economic growth of 6.2 percent as it announced a 2018/19 budget ahead of national elections expected in July.

Newly appointed Finance Minister Miftah Ismail announced the annual budget, while the opposition called for a budget covering only the remaining two months of the federal government’s tenure.

Here are the highlights of the budget from the official federal budget document for the fiscal year starting on July 1.

GROWTH/FISCAL DEFICIT

GDP growth in 2018/19 growth seen at 6.2 percent.

Finance minister Ismail said, “We have taken GDP to 5.8 percent. This progress we have made. We will not interrupt it, but the incoming government will have the right to modify the budget.”

2018/19 fiscal deficit seen at 4.9 percent of GDP.

EXPENDITURE

Total expenditure for 2018/19 seen at 5.9 trillion rupees ($51 billion)

OPPOSITION REACTION

Two main opposition parties said it is improper to make a full-year budget with just months to go before the elections.

TAXATION

Budget estimates tax revenue of 4.9 trillion rupees.

Minister Ismail said the government is using data mining and other technologies to track tax evaders.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Government to spend on a large-scale desalination plant in Karachi city to end the city’s water woes.

AGRICULTURE

Loans to the agriculture sector to increase.

HEALTH

Package for children’s health announced.

EDUCATION

Government to pay for the transportation of female students to school.

($1 = 115.79 Pakistani rupees)

Reporting by Islamabad bureau, Compiled by Rupam Jain, Editing by Hugh Lawson

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