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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) Written By: 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.