ISLAMABAD: The development budget is likely to be reduced by Rs 150 to Rs 200 billion amid International Monetary Fund (IMF) pressure, ARY News reported citing sources.
The Federal Minister of Finance held a meeting with the Provincial Finance Ministers at the Finance Division, according to a press release issued here.
The meeting was held in a hybrid format, where the respective Provincial Ministers joined through the video link.
Federal Minister of Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs Division Dr. Shamshad Akhtar on Wednesday reviewed the spending patterns of the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) and controlling prices of essential commodities
The meeting was attended by the Chief Minister of Sindh, Finance Ministers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), and Balochistan, besides the Federal and provincial Finance Secretaries, Federal Secretary of Planning, as well as senior government officials.
The meeting was aimed at reviewing the spending patterns of PSDP, controlling prices of essential commodities, enhancing the quality of services in education and health sectors, and providing relief to the general public by strengthening the social safety nets.
The Finance Minister emphasized that the provinces are the interface with the public and have a major role to play in improving social services as well as ensuring food security and stabilizing prices by minimizing the gap between the wholesale and retail prices of essential commodities.
She added that policy and fiscal coordination between the federal and provincial governments is pivotal for economic prosperity and sustainable growth.
Dr. Shamshad Akhtar underscored that there is a huge potential for rationalizing the public expenditure arrangements between the federal and provincial governments for promoting efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditure, as well as prioritization for speedy and smooth implementation of the projects under public sector development programs, with emphasis on social protection.
She underlined that the corrective measures in this regard would not only result in substantive savings but would also contribute to improving the effectiveness and implementation of the project in the priority sectors of education and health.
While sensitizing the provincial finance Ministers regarding the expenditure and revenue targets in the current budget of the FY 2023-24, Dr. Akhtar encouraged the provincial governments to ensure achieving these targets, so that the primary budget deficit targets can be achieved.
The meeting recommended that provinces bring forward prioritization of various projects funded by the Federal Government which falls under the ambit of the provincial subjects following the devolution of power.
The Provinces assured that efforts are underway to control prices improve the quality of service in the health and education sectors and streamline financial discipline to meet budgetary targets۔