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Pakistan: 'Budget Making Is Now More Challenging' - Bring Inflation Down, Prime Minister Asks Economic Team
Source: brecorder.com
Source Date: Saturday, April 17, 2010
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: Pakistan
Created: Apr 19, 2010

ISLAMABAD (April 17 2010): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Friday directed his economic team headed by Advisor on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh to prepare pro-poor and relief-oriented federal budget for next fiscal year, minimising the inflationary impact.

Chairing a pre-budget meeting here, the Prime Minister said the budget making for the next year (2010-11) has become even more challenging after the announcement of 7th National Finance Commission (NFC) award and the economic team needs to review the status of revenue collection, debt profile and commitments with the IMF under the stabilisation programme.

Gilani said the 7th NFC award is a historic achievement and added that the federal government had transferred about 10 percent of divisible pool resources to provinces. The Prime Minister also guided the committee that the next budget should be growth-oriented and supportive of business, industry and agriculture.

He asked the Ministry of Finance to work on a macroeconomic paradigm where Pakistan could sustain a reasonable level of economic growth consistently. This is necessary to actualise our growth potential, eliminate poverty and achieve a decent living standard worthy of a civilised nation, he added.

"While we work on the new paradigm, Gilani said, the Finance Ministry should provide adequate resources to fund immediate relief measures for the poor and marginalised segments of the society. He made it clear to the budget committee that the poor has the first right on the national exchequer. He also asked the economic team to bring down inflation to provide relief to the common man.

The Prime Minister said the country is in the middle of war on terrorism, therefore, the cost on security, defence, law & order and re-settlement of IDPs has substantially increased. However, he added, we must continue to ensure the necessary allocation of financial resources for this purpose. The Prime Minister said his government inherited a serious energy crisis, which has affected the economy of the country and created difficulties for the common man. He said the government would overcome this challenge in near future.

Gilani directed the Ministry of Finance to ensure the implementation of new initiatives in power and water sector and should not delay these due to financial constraints. He expressed satisfaction over achievement of macroeconomic stability during last two years.

Earlier, while briefing the meeting, Advisor on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh apprised the Prime Minister of the progress with regard to preparing budget for 2010-11. He especially mentioned that the objective before the economic team is to gradually move towards economic self-reliance. The secretary finance informed the meeting about the possible receivables and expected expenditures. Advisor to PM for Finance Dr Hafeez Shaikh, Secretaries Finance, Planning & Development, Revenue Division, Statistics Division, and Economic Affairs Division were also present in the meeting.
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