Rs1bn earmarked for journalists' health insurance in budget: Marriyum

Information minister thanks premier, finance minister for first-ever allocation

NNI June 10, 2023
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb addressing a press conference in Islamabad on April 7, 2023. PHOTO: PID


Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Saturday that it was for the first a government has allocated funds to provide health insurance to journalists.

Taking to media personnel, the minister said that she was “very happy” to announce that Rs1 billion have been allocated for journalists’ insurance in budget 2023.

She expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for earmarking funds for this important step.

Marriyum stated that as the information minister making this facility available for working journalists was her priority, “especially in their hour of difficulty”.

 A day earlier, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar unveiled a Rs14.5 trillion bloated budget, with the highest-ever deficit of Rs7.6 trillion in a bid to appease nearly a dozen sectors ahead of the general elections that could antagonise the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Read 'Economy linked with political stability': PM addresses cabinet before budget reveal

The budget for the fiscal year 2023-24 appeared to be promoting an informal economy at the expense of the formal sectors and places heavy reliance on bilateral creditors – Saudi Arabia, China and the United Arab Emirates – to fund the expenses.

The measures like an amnesty scheme for legalising $100,000 or Rs29 million in black money and a 0.6% tax on cash withdrawals would encourage the informal economy and increase currency in circulation.

Dar loaded the budget with tax relief and subsidies for nearly a dozen sectors, including 30% increase in salaries of officers and 35% for employees of Grade-1 to Grade-16. He has also announced a 17.5% increase in pensions, besides setting the minimum wage at Rs32,000.

Unveiling the budget in the National Assembly, Dar stressed that “the next fiscal year’s budget will not be an election year budget, rather it is a fiscally responsible budget”. He went on to say that “no independent analyst could say otherwise”.


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