Finance Minister Ishaq Dar tabled the fiscal year 2023-24 federal budget with a total outlay of over Rs14 trillion during a National Assembly session on Friday. This is the second budget of the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government, which came into power in April last year.
According to the details, at the outset of his speech, the finance minister compared the economic performances of the PML-N and PTI governments. He blamed Pakistan’s current economic crisis on the PTI government, which took over the reins in 2018.
Dar said that when the coalition government took over from the PTI in 2022, the country’s economy was in dire straits, with forex reserves depleting and the IMF program in the doldrums.
“The PTI government’s incompetence led to the current challenges the country was facing,” Ishaq Dar said. He further lambasted the PTI government for ‘destroying the country’s economy’, saying that the previous rulers laid ‘economic mines’ for the next regime.
Ishaq Dar made PTI responsible for all the economic failures in the country.
— Ihtisham Ul Haq (@iihtishamm) June 9, 2023
Budget 2023-24: Key takeaways
Giving details of the federal budget 2023-24, finance minister Ishaq Dar said for the next year, GDP growth had been budgeted at 3.5 percent, terming it a “modest target”. Ishaq Dar said this budget is “not an election budget” and focuses on the “elements of the real economy”.
The government has increased the agricultural loans to Rs2250 billion. Rs30 billion has been allocated to shift 50,000 agricultural tube-wells will be shifted to solar energy.
Moreover, all taxes and duties have been removed from the import of quality seeds, while food processing units will also be tax-free. The government has removed all “taxes and duties” on machinery used to increase rice production, while taxes on the import of saplings have also been removed.
— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) June 9, 2023
The government has also set a non-tax revenue target of Rs2.7 trillion and the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) tax collection target at Rs9.2 trillion.
Moreover, it has been proposed to provide Rs5.27 trillion to the provinces in the federal budget. A sum of Rs1.8 trillion has been proposed for defence.
For the Higher Education Commission (HEC), the federal government has proposed an allocation of Rs65 billion under the current expenditure, while Rs70 billion have been allocated for under the development expenditure.
Read more: What to expect from FY23-24 budget
Regarding Information Technology (IT) Sector, Ishaq Dar said that the incumbent government has decided to grant it the status of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Income tax relief on IT imports has been extended till June 2026 while Rs5 billion venture capital fund will be established for IT sector.
A 30% increase in the salaries of government employees has also been approved while the government also proposed raising the minimum wage to Rs30,000 per month.