The national budget for the fiscal year, 2018-2019 may also be added to the list of poorly thought of and inefficient administrative functions carried out this year. There is one day left to the announcement of the budget, yet the budget plan is behest with problems and indecision.

It seems as if the government kept putting off things till tomorrow, as there are still some major questions left to be decided on the budget. This includes the fate of at least three major taxes — super tax, tax on bonus shares and on undistributed inter-company dividends — the decision on whether to reinstate these taxes has still not been made. This situation is hugely inefficient and pernicious, as these taxes largely affect the common consumers and customers. There are huge complex considerations to be made while weighing the cons and pros of eliminating the taxes- while the taxes are hugely unpopular among industries, which claim that they amount to a penalty for compliant taxpayers, these taxes could do much to alleviate the monstrous deficit the country has incurred. Such complex and difficult decisions being left undetermined one day before the budget announcement is baffling and disappointing.

There are also other damaging; the chaotic meeting of the National Economic Council on Tuesday, in which crucial allocations for the development budget were to be finalised for next year, ended with three chief ministers walking out. The point of contention between the centre and the provinces is the issue of commitment by the centre to projects in the provinces, a task which the centre wants to allocate to the provinces. The centre still only has itself to blame for the discord, because of the failure of the centre these five years to address provincial dissents. By ignoring provincial complaints, the government has left itself vulnerable to attacks just before elections.

To add to these bundles of problems, there is political opposition holding up the budget as well. The opposition believes, not unreasonably, that the next government should present the fiscal plan for the full year while the outgoing government can introduce a three to four months’ budget. PM Abbasi is, however, determined to present the full fiscal year budget before going into the general elections.

With such heavyweight problems looming over the Fiscal budget, it seems unlikely that the announcement tomorrow will reveal a well-thought out and well-allocated budget. Considering it is perhaps the most influential function of the government, this situation is indeed a pity.