ISLAMABAD

Pakistan's budget deficit widened to Rs328.2 billion during first quarter (July-September) of the current fiscal year due to the government's failure in achieving tax collection target.

The country's budget deficit was recorded at Rs328.2 billion (1.1 per cent of the GDP), as expenditures stood at Rs1265.2 billion against the revenues of Rs 937 billion during July-September, according to the latest figures of the Ministry of Finance.

The budget deficit, a gap between revenues and expenditures, went up due to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR)'s inability to collect taxes despite collecting higher taxes on petroleum products.

The FBR had missed the first quarter's target by Rs40 billion, as it collected Rs600 billion against the target of Rs640 billion. The government had missed the International Monetary Fund's target for restricting budget deficit at Rs305 billion during July-September due to the shortfall in taxes.

The government had assured the IMF to introduce revenue generation measures worth Rs40 billion to meet the shortfall occurred during July-September. Pakistan would have to impose new taxes before IMF's executive board meeting, which is scheduled to meet in mid December to approve $502 million for the country. Otherwise, the Fund would not approve to release fresh tranche for the government.

"Although, the government had missed the budget deficit target during first quarter of the ongoing financial year, but we are working to restrict it at 4.3 percent of the GDP (Ra1328 billion) by the end of June 2016," said an official of the Ministry of Finance. He further said that government is devising a strategy to meet the tax collection target of Rs3.1 trillion, set for the year 2015-2016. The government ended the last fiscal year with a 5.4% budget deficit minus circular debt.

EXPENDITURES

Pakistan's overall expenditures were recorded at Rs1265.2 billion during July-September of the fiscal 2015-2016.

The expenditures break-up showed that government had spent Rs145.6 billion on defence, Rs415.9 billion on interest payment, Rs42.5 billion on pension payment, Rs21.8 billion on public order and safety affairs, Rs14.3 billion on education, Rs2.2 billion on health, Rs1.5 billion on recreation culture and religion and Rs146.4 billion on Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of federal and provincial governments.

REVENUES

The country had generated revenues worth Rs937 billion during first three months of the ongoing financial year. The government had collected Rs723.5 billion as taxes and Rs213.5 billion as non-tax revenues.

Meanwhile, in non-tax revenues, the government had collected Rs911 million as markup on public sector entities, Rs16.3 billion as dividend, Rs67.6 billion as profit of State Bank of Pakistan, Rs75.7 billion as defence (coalition support fund etc), Rs3.4 billion as passport fee, Rs2.1 billion as discount retained on crude oil, Rs17.6 billion as royalties on gas and oil, one billion rupees as Widfall Levy against crude oil and Rs28.8 billion through other sources.

PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS

The four provincial governments had recorded budget deficit worth Rs29 billion during July-September, as their expenditures remained at Rs395 billion as compared to the revenues of Rs366 billion.

The Punjab province had given budget deficit of Rs28.5 billion. The expenditures of the Punjab government had registered at Rs196.2 billion and revenues at Rs167.7 billion. Similarly, the Khyber Pakhunkhawa's budget was also in deficit of Rs3.3 billion, as their expenditures were of worth of Rs58.4 billion as against the revenues of 55.1 billion.

However, the Sindh and Balochistan governments had recorded surplus budgets of Rs1.5 billion and Rs1.4 billion respectively.

The expenditures of the Sindh were Rs101.9 billion and revenues at Rs103.4 billion. Meanwhile, the Balochistan's government expenditures registered at Rs38.4 billion against its revenues of Rs39.8 billion during July-September of the fiscal 2015-2016.