ISLAMABAD  - The government has started preparing budget for the upcoming financial year 2014-2015, which is likely to be announced on May 30 next year after getting approval from the federal cabinet on the same day.

The Finance Ministry on Tuesday circulated ‘budget calendar’ to all ministries and divisions. The Finance Minister directed them submit the First Preliminary Revised Estimates for the ongoing financial 2013-14 and Budget Estimates (2014-15) of Federal Government Receipts together with reasons for variations by 30th January 2014. The ministries and divisions have been asked to submit their final estimates by March 14, 2014. Meanwhile, in a letter to all federal institutions and ministries, principal accounting officers have been asked to submit their indicative budget ceilings for the next three years until 2015-16 by December 23 2013.

The meetings of the Priorities Committee with all ministries, divisions, institutions and corporations will be held from March 24 to 4th April to crystallize overall size of the budget, including development expenditure and current expenditure along with expected revenues and receipts during the next fiscal year 2014-2015. Each principal accounting officer will be invited to make presentations on their budget proposals to the priorities committee comprising the ministry of finance, planning commission and economic affairs division to explain their plans, strategies and financing requirements and sources on current and development sides of the budget. The Priorities Committee will discuss past performance, current year’s budgetary allocations, and ceilings for the budget year and forecast years. In addition, discussions will focus on ‘outputs’ (services) to be delivered and policy priorities.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the annual planning and coordination committee will be held in the end of April to recommend public sector development programme and finalise macroeconomic framework for approval of the National Economic Council that is tentatively scheduled for the first week of May. The budget documents, including financial management application software and green book, will be finalized by May 12 so that its printing could be completed at least one before the budget speech.

The finance minister is tentatively scheduled to present the budget before the federal cabinet and National Assembly on May 30. All Federal Ministries/Divisions will prepare their budgets based on New Budgeting System also known as MTBF (medium-term budget framework) including 2014-15 to 2016-17. Under the MTBF, all principal accounting officers are responsible for preparing three-year fiscal requirements of their respective ministries along with strategic objectives and outputs and how these programmes could be financed. The ministries and divisions have been asked not to make lump-sum provisions in any case and provide details of all items.

They will be required to specifically explain estimates of expenditure clearly broken down into charged and voted expenditure.

The ministries have been asked not to include any scheme in the budget estimates that had not been approved by relevant forums like departmental development working parties or the central development working party.