Islamabad, Jun 11 (EFE).- Pakistan’s annual budget for the current fiscal year – starting July 1 – presented Friday was $54.345 billion, which is 19 percent higher than last year, when it made an 11 percent cut due to the coronavirus crisis.
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin presented the budget before the National Assembly or lower house of the parliament, amid opposition protests from the opposition.
The allocation for the all-powerful Pakistani Army, the world’s sixth largest in terms of the number of troops with some 650,000 military personnel, increased by almost 11 percent to $8.782 billion.
This figure amounts to 16 percent of the country’s total budget, keeping aside other items such as the pensions of military personnel leaving the central government.
The government has also set up a $640 million fund to address the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis and has provided $1.1 billion for the purchase of vaccines for its 220 million population.
Moreover, the minister announced that there will be no tax increase for the middle classes and raised the minimum wage from $96 to $128 a month.
The GDP growth target for this upcoming fiscal year – from Jul.1, 2021 to Jun.30, 2022 – has been set at 4.8 percent, while inflation is expected to fall below the 8.6 percent recorded in the current period.
The Pakistani government announced Thursday a growth of 3.9 percent in the current fiscal year that ends this month, after recording -0.4 percent growth the previous year due to the impact of the pandemic.
Tarin stressed the country needed to grow faster in order to provide employment to its young population.
Pakistan has been in a difficult economic situation for years. In May 2019, it received financial aid of $6 billion from the International Monetary Fund. EFE