After a ruckus in the National Assembly and a walkout by the opposition, Dr Miftah Ismail, the day-old finance minister of Pakistan, announced the budget for fiscal year 2018-19.
The speech was preceded by a commotion with leader of the opposition Syed Khursheed Shah criticising the government for announcing the budget as its tenure is due to end next month.
Ismail, who was earlier the Board of Investment chairman before being appointed adviser to the prime minister on finance in December 2017, was sworn in as the country’s finance minister earlier today.
The move was meant to clear the hurdle in his way of announcing the federal budget in the National Assembly.
The announcement means the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) now becomes the country’s first political party to announce six budgets in its tenure.
The development comes even as the opposition voiced concern over the government’s move to announce a full-year fiscal budget. Its tenure is due to end in May, and the next fiscal year starts on July 1.
Opposition political parties have called the move “illegal and unconstitutional”, but the government has remained adamant that fiscal operations need to be announced for the entire year.
“Expenditure allocation takes place for a 12-month period. You cannot announce a budget for three or four months,” said Ismail while unveiling the Pakistan Economic Survey 2017-18 on Thursday.