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Next budget should focus on development, inflation control, directs PM Imran Khan

Next budget should focus on development, inflation control, directs PM Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday chaired a high-level meeting to discuss the country’s economy in detail and directed his team to focus on development and inflation control in the next budget.

The forum was informed that the upcoming budget would be a development budget with a focus on increasing growth.

The premier directed that special attention be given to development projects in the forthcoming budget. He said that development projects should be finalised keeping in view the needs of the people as well as ensuring completion of ongoing projects.

PM Imran instructed the officials that along with development projects, special attention should be paid to curb inflation.

The meeting was attended by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, federal ministers Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pervaiz Khattak, Shafqat Mahmood, Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, provincial ministers Hashim Jawan Bakht, Timur Saleem Jhagra and related high officials.

The meeting sought suggestions from the senior leadership of the party regarding the forthcoming budget and it was informed that the budget for the next financial year will be development-oriented in which the focus will be on increasing the growth rate.

In the next financial year, development projects will be further accelerated and new projects will be launched which will increase economic activities, create numerous employment opportunities, increase the volume of GDP and revenue.

The meeting was informed that the coronavirus pandemic has affected the economy of the world, but due to the comprehensive policies of the government, the wheel of the national economy is moving.

It was shared that the rate of revenue before the recent smart lockdown had almost doubled since April last year. The prime minister was also briefed on the comprehensive strategy for curbing inflation.

Due to a rise in prices of food and energy posing a downside risk to the economic growth recovering from the pandemic, the annual consumer inflation has shot up to 11.1% in April from 9.1% in March, according to official data released last week.

The April outrun is in contrast to the government’s forecast, as the Ministry of Finance expected inflation to remain between 8 – 9.5% in April.

However, from the beginning of the next fiscal year, assuming the absence of any new supply shocks, favourable base effects may start to drive annual inflation to lower levels, the ministry had noted.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer price index (CPI) inflation increased by 1% in April 2021 as compared to an increase of 0.4% in the previous month and a decrease of 0.8% in April 2020.

Prices of food with nearly 35% weight in CPI basket increased 15.9% year-on-year in April.

Mainly, the food inflation was driven by non-perishable food prices that rose by 18.36%. Prices of housing, water, electricity, and fuels increased to 9.68% year-on-year in April compared to 0.51% in March.