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Friday, September 22, 2023

Budget figures may change to appease IMF

PTI Spokesperson on Economy and Finance Muzzammil Aslam has claimed that the PML-N government is "confused".

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said the recent budget 2022-23 may change according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal.

“The figures are provisional. Final figures will be provided during the budget session”, reads the footnote of almost every main table of the Budget-in-Brief and Annual Budget Statement for 2022-23.

According to media reports, one of the reasons behind presenting the provisional budget figures was the disagreement between Pakistan and the IMF over the budget numbers and some of the tax proposals.

Read more: Shaukat Tarin says Miftah Ismail wanted his help to deal with IMF

One of the disagreements is the tax on the salaried class. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has given relief to the salaried class earning up to Rs. 1.2 million per annum. However, as per reports, the IMF rejected the proposed tax relief in the Personal Income Tax (PIT) to the tune of Rs. 47 billion. Therefore, the government is left with no option but to consider making changes to the proposal.

Govt confused?

As a result, the government is receiving criticism. PTI Spokesperson on Economy and Finance Muzzammil Aslam has claimed that the PML-N government is “confused”.

“For the first time in history, the budget presented is ‘provisional’, clearly indicating confusion, disagreement among coalition partners and with IMF,” Muzzammil Aslam said. Pertinent to mention, Foreign Minister and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has claimed that the IMF deal is “outdated”.

Read more: Bilawal says $6 billion IMF deal is ‘outdated’

“So all the analysis put by experts are wasted because the real budget is still not presented. Disaster,” Muzzammil Aslam further added.

On the other hand, the government admitted to underreporting foreign loans for the upcoming fiscal year by $7 billion by mistakenly forgetting to add Chinese and IMF loans in the annual budget announced on Friday.

As per media reports, the government did not include $4 billion of Chinese loans and a $3 billion minimum of IMF loans in its foreign receipts in the budget. It has also formally requested China for a rollover of the $2 billion worth of debt maturing soon.