ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said the budget for the fiscal year 2020-21 should focus on creating employment opportunities for the youth.
Chairing here a meeting to review budget proposals, the premier said the government’s priority was to stabilise the economy while focusing on job creation for the youth so as to counter the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Every section of the society has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. It has also affected the government's efforts towards development,” he noted.
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The prime minister said keeping in view these stark realities, the first priority of the government was to promote those sectors which could create job opportunities for the youth and boost the economy.
PM Imran also stressed the need for reducing non-development expenditure, especially a cut in unnecessary government expenditure.
Adviser to PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh briefed the prime minister on the strategy for implementing the government's priorities, keeping in view the status of revenue, expenditure and ground realities of the budget for next financial year.
Considering the issue of subsidies granted to various sectors and the provision of financial assistance by the government, PM Imran said the subsidy given by the government was in fact tax money and it was important to utilise it properly.
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“It is vital that this money is used efficiently to achieve the desired goals.”
The prime minister said the present economic situation demanded that the pace of reforms be accelerated so that unnecessary burden on the people could be minimised and relief be provided to them.
The Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) has recommended a Rs1.312-trillion National Development Budget for the fiscal year 2020-21 to the National Economic Council (NEC). Over Rs233 billion will be borrowed from foreign lenders to finance the country’s development needs in the next fiscal year.
Budgetary allocations for the new fiscal year are lower by Rs292 billion as compared to the original allocation of Rs1.61 trillion for the outgoing fiscal year.
However, in an official statement, the Ministry of Planning said under the special programme for improving the quality of life of common people, Rs100 billion had been proposed. “The total proposed outlay of the PSDP (Public Sector Development Programme) 2020-21 is Rs630 billion,” said the planning ministry. But this Rs100 billion is not officially part of the PSDP until the finance ministry increases the budget allocation and the prime minister approves it.
The APCC proposed Rs536 billion for the PSDP, down Rs165 billion or 24% over the current year’s original budget.