Budget deficit target may be missed: adviser

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ISLAMABAD: Miftah Ismail Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance on Thursday admitted that few budget targets for fiscal year 2017/2018 would be missed.
“The government would manage to achieve most of the targets however few targets including budget deficit could be missed, Miftah said at the 2nd ‘Leaders in Islamabad’ Business Summit.
“We will try out best to contain the budget deficit in five per cent,” he said and added that the current government inherited the budget deficit at over 8 percent and it managed to bring it down to around four per cent within three years.
He said the local currency depreciation was allowed in December 2017 due to increasing trade deficit. “When imports are going high and exports are on declining trend, the government has the best tool in the box to devalue its currency,” he added.
He however said there was nothing wrong with high current account deficit or trade deficit as in a developing country like Pakistan, most of the imports consist of machinery to install new industries which would ultimately give a sustainable economic boost to the country.
Miftah said in order to streamline the course of national economy, it was vital to sell all public sector entities including Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), and Pakistan State Oil (PSO).
The adviser said every month, the government was paying over Rs 400 million to PSM as a bailout package however this amount could be utilized for development projects for the people.