ISLAMABAD: Federal Adviser for Finance, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh said that the Defence budget of the country will be increased by Rs105 billion in the upcoming budget.
He made this announcement while giving a briefing on the federal budget of 2010-11 to the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance. Moreover, as announced by the National Finance Commission (NFC) award, Rs1036 billion will be distributed among the provinces while another Rs5 billion have been fixed for health. The energy sector will also be allotted a subsidy of Rs127 billion. Meanwhile sources have confirmed that a salary raise for government employees is also on the cards, with Rs40 billion allocated for this purpose.
According to sources, the new fiscal year’s tax collecting target has been set at Rs170 billion. Sheikh was elected unopposed as senator on the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) ticket from Sindh. The Sindh election commissioner said that since no other party had fielded a candidate against Sheikh. The Senate seat was vacant after the resignation of former finance minister Shaukat Tareen. Sheikh is likely to assume the charge of finance minister in the first week of June.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2010.