Budget approval.

The federal budget passed without incident as most of the opposition in the National Assembly was absent. However, the document, as passed, had some significant changes from the one presented earlier, after several amendments were made to meet IMF conditions while attempting to avoid too much backlash from voters. Unfortunately, many of the changes did away with relief for lower and middle-income people offered earlier.

Overall, the Rs9.5 trillion budget Finance Minister Miftah Ismail presented three weeks ago has contracted to about Rs8.7 trillion, which is still about 15.5% higher than last year's. Debt servicing accounts for over 45% of the total budget. However, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha still tried to play the changes as locally-decided necessities rather than IMF conditions.

Among the biggest changes was the imposition of a Rs50 levy on petroleum products, although Miftah later noted that the amendment was only meant to preemptively seek permission for a levy, adding that the government has no short term plans to actually impose it. Let's hope this remains as Miftah expects, as the fuel prices have already proven too much for the masses. Another interesting amendment is related to sales tax collection, which would be based on...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT