LIVE: Austerity measures, debt repayment the focus in post-budget press conference

A day after announcing the federal budget for fiscal year 2019-20, top representatives of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government held a post-budget press conference in Islamabad on Wednesday to explain salient features of the budgetary proposals.

The press conference was led by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who was flanked by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Khusro Bakhtiar, Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub, Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi and Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar.

Shaikh started off by highlighting the amount of debt handed over to the PTI-led government when it came to power. “We inherited a total of Rs31,000 billion in debt. The total collection of revenue is Rs4,000 billion – half of which is spent on repaying debts.”

The adviser said it would be unfair to blame the current government for the debt since the loans were taken by previous governments under better circumstances.

“Our imports are increasing. The trade deficit was near $40 billion. Hence, we are focusing on the management of external debt. We are offering subsidies to boost exports.”

This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.

Local and national lawmakers are expected to collectively propose development schemes worth Rs1.3 billion

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