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Pakistan commerce minister presents austerity oriented budget; 10% cut in ministers' salaries

File photo. Pakistan's currency. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 11, 2019, 07.46 PM (IST) Anas Mallick

Pakistan's state minister for trade, finance and Commerce Hammad Azhar presented the country's first Federal Budget for the coming fiscal year. The estimated outlay for the 2019-20 fiscal year is six trillion Pakistani rupees.

The budget presentation comes a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan warned of legal action against those who do not declare their undisclosed assets by June 30, as the cash-strapped government ramps up efforts to fix the country's economy.

The austerity-oriented budget, approved by the cabinet, has proposed a 10 per cent cut in ministers' salaries and a subsidy worth 40 billion Pakistani rupees (US $2.6 million) on gas and electricity. However, the salaries of government employees and the pension of retired ones will get a 10 per cent hike. 

The defence allocation was Pakistani rupees 1150 billion (US $7.5 million). It was claimed that defence allocation would remain the same as last year, however, the budget document indicates there has been a slight increase. Clarity on this is yet to be done by the Pakistani government.
 
Azhar, while presenting the budget, said that Pakistan's trade deficit has been reduced by US $4 billion and now stands at US $22 billion.

In May, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government had announced its first tax amnesty scheme "Asset Declaration Scheme" for whitening of undisclosed expenditures, sales and assets, including foreign assets, at nominal tax rates.

Pakistan recently reached a preliminary agreement with the IMF for a $6 billion bailout.

Story highlights

The budget presentation comes a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan warned of legal action against those who do not declare their undisclosed assets by June 30.