ISLAMABAD - The government is likely to appoint new Finance Minister to announce its fifth budget for the year 2012-2013, as Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has decided not to award Senate ticket to Abdul Hafeez Sheikh that would lead him to work as Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance and Economic Affairs and an advisor can not unveil the budget.

Sources told The Nation on Saturday that PPP has decided not to award Senate ticket to Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and he would work as Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance and Economic Affairs. Sources further informed that Advisor the Prime Minister could not announce the annual budget, as it had already happened in 2009 when Shaukat Tarin was Advisor and Hina Rabbani Khar, who was then State Minister for Finance, had presented the annual budget 2009-10. Therefore, the government would have to appoint finance minister for the announcement of budget for upcoming financial year 2012-2013, sources added.

Sources also said that Hafeez Sheikh is also not interested for the Senate ticket. However final decision in this regard would be taken in a high level party meeting, which would be held in next few days.

The PPP-led coalition government would appoint its fifth Finance Minister in its tenure since 2008 if Hafeez Sheikh does not get Senate ticket from PPP. Senator Ishaq Dar was the first Finance Minister of the incumbent government followed by Syed Naveed Qamar, Shaukat Tarin and Abdul Hafeez Sheikh. Meanwhile, the government has also changed four governors of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), five finance secretaries and four deputy chairmen Planning Commission of Pakistan in its tenure.

The independent economists believed that regular change in economic team of the government in four years is one of the reasons behind hollow economic policies that took public debt to a record level. Similarly, they also said that other macro economic indicators also showed poor performance in the said period. 

The critics are of the view that it would be the great setback for the economy if the government decides to change the Finance Minister at a time when annual budget is around the corner, as preparation of the budget is also started. On the other hand, the government has yet to appoint new chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) after the retirement of Salman Siddique despite passage of some 20 days, which might also affect the budget preparation process of the government.