The federal budget 2019-20 has been presented by the Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar in the National Assembly. Amongst the total Rs. 951 billion for the development budget, Rs. 43 billion have been allocated for science and technology sector whereas the development budget for the Education sector will be granted an amount of Rs. 28 billion, as reported by Geo News.
There were rumors that a debate would be sparked in Parliament if the budget will be presented by Advisor to the Prime Minister Imran Khan on Finance, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. This is the reason that the PTI government has selected Hammad Azhar to present the budget.
It is worth mentioning here that the National Development Programme will have a total size of Rs. 1,800 billion, of which, Rs. 950 billion will be spent by the federal government and the rest will be allocated to provinces.
While presenting the budget Revenue Minister Hammad Azhar said;
“Our institutions will be strengthened and 2019-20 will be the year of change. The govt will avoid taking loans from the SBP to cover shortfalls, while inflation will be targeted to be kept between 5-7pc.”
First time in Pakistan’s history, the budget allocated for science and technology sector seems quite rational as the Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Ch has thanked PM Imran Khan and his cabinet for highest ever allocation to the sector. It would be interesting to see what the IT and Telecom sector will get from the development budget.
Moreover, while Mr. Hammad Azhar was presenting the budget opposition members have gathered around treasury benches and started chanting anti-PTI slogans. Many protesters were carrying placards saying ‘Go Niazi Go’ and ‘Say no to IMF budget’.
Even though the concerns of the opposition were paid no heed by the government, the local industry also does not seem very optimistic about the budget being effective for the current financial year.