ISLAMABAD -  The federal government has picked a seasoned bureaucrat to steer finance issues and make preparations for the annual budget. Senior bureaucrat, Tariq Bajwa, was appointed as Secretary Finance on Friday, said a notification issued by the Establishment Division.

“Tariq Bajwa, a BS-22 officer of the Secretariat Group, presently posted as Secretary Economic Affairs Division is transferred and posted as Secretary Finance Division with immediate effect and until further orders,” it said. Bajwa also served as chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue and Secretary Finance of Punjab.

Sources told The Nation that the federal government took almost two weeks to appoint the new secretary finance after Dr Waqar Masood Khan retired from the post on January 20, 2017.  The sources said that after the retirement of Dr Masood Khan, who played an important role during negotiations with the International Monitory Fund and the World Bank at different forums, Finance Minister Shaq Dar had been given the task to pick a well-experienced officer.

According to the sources, the government was also considering two other names for the position but the prime minister picked Bajwa on the recommendation of the finance minister, they sources said.

The federal government has started focusing on its last budget of the five years term before next general elections. Preparations for the next budget will start by the end of February and the government is expected to present a tempting budget with a focus on development projects and creation of jobs to attract voters in the next polls. On the other hand, most members of the government economic team have retired in recent months and other would be retiring by April this year. Nisar Ali Khan retired from the post of FBR chairman in January, 2016. Governor State Bank Dr Ashraf Othra will retire on April 29, 2017, and SBP deputy governor will also retire in 2017.

Auditor General of Pakistan Rana Asad Amin will retire on April 8, 2017. Similarly, President Zarai Taraqiati Bank Syed Talat Mehmood will retire on April 30th, 2017.

Senior officials said that the government could face serious crises of economy experts after Aril and it may engage services of retired bureaucrats to make the most of the economic gains.