Upcoming budget: Ambitious govt hopes to achieve 5.1% growth

Budget 2014-15 framework eyes restricting deficit at 4.8% of GDP.


Shahbaz Rana May 16, 2014
Budget 2014-15 framework eyes restricting deficit at 4.8% of GDP. DESIGN: FAIZAN DAWOOD

ISLAMABAD:


The federal government may announce a Rs3.744-trillion budget outlay for the next fiscal year with an ambitious economic growth rate of 5.1% that is expected to be achieved through the completion of unfinished economic reforms agenda in the second year of the Nawaz administration.


The budget framework for fiscal year 2014-15 revolves around the pillar of restricting the overall budget deficit at 4.8% of Gross Domestic Product – or Rs1.4 trillion – aimed at continuing fiscal consolidation during the second year.

The deficit will be filled by borrowing from domestic and external sources.

Attainment of the 4.8% target will hinge on the ability of the four provinces to save over Rs110 billion out of their shares in federal receipts, which they will receive from the federal government, officials said. By excluding provinces’ surpluses, the federal budget deficit will be 5.2% of GDP, they explained.

Meanwhile, the tax revenue target is to be set at Rs2.801 trillion, non-tax revenues’ target at over Rs675 billion, and the petroleum levy target is expected to be over Rs125 billion. The tax target will be 23.5% higher than this year’s twice-downward revised target of Rs2.27 trillion, while the non-tax revenue will be lower than this year’s.

Officials said gross federal receipts are likely to be around Rs3.6 trillion. Out of that, the provinces are expected to get about Rs1.7 trillion, including straight transfers, as their share in federal taxes, leaving the federal government with a net income of Rs1.9 trillion.

The proposed budget outlay is Rs158 billon higher than the Rs3.591 trillion budget of the outgoing fiscal year, according to Ministry of Finance officials. The planned budget expenditure was shared with the federal cabinet on Thursday, while discussing the Budget Strategy Paper.

The government seemed to have more trust in bureaucrats than the cabinet ministers, as after the meeting, the strategy paper was taken back, two federal ministers confirmed to The Express Tribune. 

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar briefed the cabinet ministers about the economic achievements in the first year of the government.

Officials said the budget will be presented with an objective to increase the tax base through the withdrawal of Statutory Regulatory Orders, cutting power subsidies and deepening economic development.

The government will announce development schemes under the Pak-China Economic Corridor project, according to officials. Out of Rs525 billion proposed development budget, the government is considering to set aside Rs100 billion for new initiatives, including Lahore-Karachi motorway, building jetties and roads to link China with Gwadar.

The government will set 5.1% economic growth rate target for the next fiscal year, they informed. The inflation target is likely to be set around 7.8% to 8% that will be achieved by controlling expenditures and ensuring price stability.

As a price stability measure, the government is expected to keep the rupee-dollar parity at Rs99 to a dollar aimed at avoiding the rupee-deprecation impact on prices of electricity and petroleum products.

Because the government could not achieve the goal of increasing FBR’s tax-to-GDP ratio to 9.5% this year, it has decided to introduce reforms during the next fiscal year. It will announce the aim of bringing in 100,000 people in the tax net – a goal that it could not achieve this year. The main focus of the government will be on withdrawing tax exemptions.

On the energy side, officials said the government is expected to allocate over Rs190 billion in power subsidies, which are lower than this year’s revised estimates of around Rs300 billion.

For paying fertiliser subsidies, Rs25 billion may be allocated while Rs35 billion will be given in subsidies to Pakistan Railways, officials told The Express Tribune.

For servicing the domestic and foreign debt, the government is considering allocating Rs1.29 trillion next year. Meanwhile, the defence budget is expected to be around Rs690 billion, according to officials.

An amount of Rs294 billion is expected to be allocated for running the civilian government.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2014.

COMMENTS (2)

Parvez | 7 years ago | Reply

...and what is the expected growth, with true figures ?

Umaima | 7 years ago | Reply

Immediate attention should be given on even distribution of income. Only increasing production won't lead to economic prosperity at the grass roots level until the newly produced income is evenly distributed.

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