Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail unveiled PKR 5.246 trillion “tax-free” budget for the fiscal year 2018-19 in the National Assembly on Friday. It was a historic moment for any elected government to present the sixth federal budget during its tenure. The total budget of PKR 5.246 trillion was announced, with the tax revenue and FBR revenue targets set at PKR 4.88 trillion and PKR 4.435 trillion. Continuing the negligence of previous budgets towards education, the new federal budget is no different.
HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION
Higher Education Commission’s development budget has been raised to PKR 46.7 billion as against PKR 35.7 billion in the outgoing fiscal year. According to the budgetary document, out of total 46.7 billion amount, around PKR 40,218 million has been allocated for ongoing schemes, while PKR 6,462 million has been allocated for new schemes.
Pre-Primary and Primary Education
- The government has allocated PKR 10.12 billion for pre-primary and primary education affairs in budget 2018-19 as compared to PKR 8.748 billion for 2017-18.
- Likewise, PKR 12.365 billion allocated for Secondary Education Affairs & Services for 2018-19 which was previously PKR 10.798 billion for 2017-18.
- And, PKR 71.824 billion embarked for Tertiary Education Affairs and Services against PKR 68.252 billion earmarked for 2017-18.
Pakistan’s spending on education as a percentage of GDP remains among the lowest in the region South Asia which was 2.2 percentage of GDP in the fiscal year 2017 as compared to 2.3 percentage of GDP in the fiscal year 2016. It is sad to see that children of Pakistan are way behind in getting an education than every other country in the region. If we want to see Pakistan stand among developed nations then it is essential that the government allocates a decent budget for that ensures equal and quality access to education for all citizens of the country.