Pakistan’s parliament passes $36 bn budget

June 25th, 2009 - 2:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, June 25 (IANS) Pakistan’s parliament Thursday passed a Rs.2.9 trillion ($36 billion) budget for fiscal 2009-10 focusing on sustainable development, revival of industry and providing relief to the vulnerable and the millions of refugees uprooted by the anti-Taliban offensive in the northwest.
The budget, which was presented June 13 by Minister of State for Finance Hina Rabbani Khar, will be effective July 1. It was the first time in Pakistan’s 62-year history that a woman had presented the budget.

The budget has a Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) component of Rs.646 billion that is aimed at improving infrastructure and ensuring provision of better civic amenities to the masses.

The government has taken a number of steps in the new budget to give relief to the common man, particularly the poor, that include allocation of Rs.70 billion for the Benazir Income Support Programme and a 20 percent increase in the salaries of government employees in the 1-16 grades.

Some difficult decisions have been taken in the budget for reworking the economic structure and expanding tax net to enhance government revenue and to improve the socio-economic condition of the masses, APP news agency reported.

The budget allocates Rs.50 billion for providing basic necessities to the refugees who have fled the military’s anti-Taliban operations in three districts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

The budget hikes defence spending for fiscal 2009-10 to Rs.347 billion.

Of this, Rs.343 billion have been allocated for the armed forces, Rs.463 million for defence production and Rs.840 million for the defence division.

While presenting the budget, Khar said GDP would grow 3.3 percent during the fiscal on the back of 3.8 percent growth in agriculture, 1.8 percent growth in manufacturing and 3.9 percent growth in the services sector.

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