ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Miftah Ismail Tuesday said that the government was set to present a balanced, responsible, and low deficit Federal Budget for the year 2018-19 on Friday (April 27).
"We will present a responsible budget that will be acceptable to any upcoming government," he said while talking to a private news channel.
To a question regarding opposition's demand for presenting the budget for only three months, Ismail said it was totally irrational and not workable.
"We will need a foreign loan of around $1.8 billion during the next year so how can we make a commitment with the international financial institutions for only three months," he said adding for mega projects like Diamir Bhasha Dam, it was not possible to allocate budget for three months only.
Similarly, he said, changes in tax regime and increase in salaries of government employees also could not be announced for only one quarter of the year.
"They (opposition) know these things but they were doing politics on the issue," he said.
He said about a month ago, he met leaders of the PTI and PPP Sheerin Mazari, and Naveed Qamar in the Speaker's Chamber where both of them agreed to present the budget, but now he did not know as to why they were opposing the matter.
Ismail said after meeting with the PPP and PTI leaders, the federal government wrote letters to chief ministers of all the provinces to start preparations for the budget 2018-19.
To a question regarding allocation for various projects under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), he said that most of them were old projects.
He said keeping in view the upcoming general election, the government deliberately kept relatively low volume of the federal PSDP 2018-19 and left a space of around 70 to 80 billion rupees for the new government, which could introduce new projects of its own choice.
He said the PSDP was not the mandate of National Economic Council (NEC), but it was to be approved by the Parliament.
Responding to a question regarding walkout by the chief ministers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan from the NEC meeting, Ismail said they were doing politics on the issue. They walked out even before the start of meeting,
Earlier after staging walkout from the NEC meeting, Chief Minister Kyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervaiz Khattak, Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah, and Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bazenjo addressed a press conference here and expressed reservations over the presentation of federal budget 2018-19 by the present government.
They said that since the tenure of present government was going to be completed by the end of May, therefore it had no mandate to present the budget for the full next year. They urged the federal government to provide equal funds to all the provinces in the next budget. Murad Ali Shah was of the view that all the provinces should have been treated equally regarding the development budget.