Next budget to focus on COVID-19, not austerity

ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh to make suitable increase in the federal budget 2020-21 to mitigate sufferings of government employees because of coronavirus.

The Prime Minister has stressed the need for taking measures with wisdom so that economic activity could be generated, but not at the cost of health. The budget 2020-2021 expected to be announced in the first week of the next month is being prepared in view of the coronavirus to minimise the impact of the deadly virus on various segment of the society.

Meanwhile, speaking in a private TV programme Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has expressed the hope to meet their budget expectations. “This is the ‘corona-budget,’ so we would like to mitigate the sufferings of our people and give them a hope, provide them cash, food and recreate employment opportunities for them,” he said.

In the past, austerity measures were the dominant feature of the

 budget, he said and added that we still need to make expenditures in a way so that public money is not wasted. He said that it was a big economic principle that through government expenditures money goes in the hands of people who generate economic activities and create jobs, which helped in tackling recession.

Dr Hafeez Shaikh says ‘corona-budget to help mitigate sufferings of government employees

He said that the budget for the upcoming fiscal year would also feature a balanced tax collection approach.

The government would adopt a strategy for documentation of the economy; however, it would not be so strict that it hurt the businesses. He said that the government would try its best to enhance taxes at a reasonable rate to help in the growth of economy.

Dr Sheikh said policies would be introduced, in consultation with provinces, to improve agriculture productivity, promote industry and exports. However, he said that the private sector had to play a big role, as government could only make policies and provide business-conducive environment for them, or give some subsidies from its limited resources. “The real players are the businessmen, investors, exporters, workers and farmers.”


The advisor said that the country had to focus on enhancing business relations with other countries as no country in the current era could progress on its own. He also underlined the need for enhancing exports, reducing imports and also giving incentives to the expatriate Pakistanis to invest in their homeland and open their business here. He said that the government was making economic policies for the public good adding the State Bank of Pakistan had reduced the policy rate, whereas the government had also announced relief packages to ensure the economic activities were not affected much.


Stressing the need for striking a balance between health and economic activities, he said the government had to protect the people from COVID-19’s effects and at the same time it had to save the country’s economy.

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