The Economic Survey launched yesterday made revelations that the Government has missed out on nearly all of the targets it set in the previous year. Although, the growth rate which crossed the 5% benchmark was laudable rest of the numbers issued in the Survey were below expectation.
The government will present budget for the fiscal year 2017-18 today during a parliamentary session. The budget will be presented to the parliament at around 0400 o’ clock on Friday. The Finance Minister will present the current government’s 4th budget document ever since its inaugural.
Sources are of opinion that the Government will release a budget worth Rs. 4.9 trillion. The target for tax collection for the coming year is expected to be around Rs. 4.025 trillion where non tax income is expected to be Rs. 950 billion
Budget allocation of defence expenditure is expected to be increased by an amount of Rs. 85 billion and will total at Rs 945 billion, a 10 percent increase.
The Government after numerous demands from different business circles and even opposition parties is expected to raise salaries of Government employees by 10%. Also, sources reveal the government is expected to increase pensions by 15%. For this increase in salaries, the government will is set to increase the budget allocation by an additional amount 40-45 billion. Salaries budget is expected to rise from 390 to 395 billion. A total of additional funds worth 25-30 billion are to be added in the budget for the allocation of increase in pension, raising the total of pension allocation somewhere around 270-275 billion. Government is also considering raising allowances for the government employees.
In their pursuit of releasing a populous budget, the government is anticipated to raise the amount of subsidies and grants with a main focus on energy sector. The energy sector can expect to receive a hefty sum of 118 billion in the forms of subsidies in order to fast track the progress of energy sectors. However, Pakistan Railways is also set to receive a robust subsidy of 37 billion which is aimed at covering damages of the railway employees.
In order to fulfill their campaign promises during the last year of their tenure, the government aims to reduce load shedding down to zero in the upcoming year. The budget has allocated grants and subsidies worth billions for different projects in the energy sector in order to fast track their progress. The government has projects with a power generation capacity of 8,000-10,000 MW already approved or in progress which are expected to be completed during the next year. 203 Power Generation projects are expected to receive a cumulative total of Rs 385 billion in the next year.
The projects and the government’s support to them are all as follows:
- Diamer Bhasha Dam – Rs 29 billion
- Dasu Hydro – Rs 53.77 billion
- Neelum-Jhelum Hydro – Rs 19.57 billion
- Tarbela Dam – Rs 16.39 billion
- Jamshoro Coal Power Plant – Rs 16 billion
- Balloki LNG – 39.25 billion
- Bahadur Shah Power LNG – 37 billion
- Thar Coal – 10 billion