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The terms to know for understanding the budget

If you're going to listen to the entire speech, here are some other terms that may go over your burger head.
Published June 12, 2024

Today is budget day, the day when a government official, usually the finance minister, comes to the floor of the National Assembly and lays out, in complex economic terms, policies that will ultimately affect every single citizen.

Read: Finance Minister Aurangzeb announces Budget 24-25

A budget is the government’s financial plan that outlines its proposed expenditures and the means of financing them for a single fiscal year (July 1-June 30).

If you’re going to be watching the finance minister’s speech, which is usually delivered in Urdu, here are some of the important terms you should be looking out for.

Maali khasaarah (مالی خسارہ) — Fiscal deficit

You’re going to be hearing khasaarah a lot during the speech, which means deficit. An important term to look out for is maali khasaarah, which refers to the fiscal deficit. A fiscal deficit occurs when the total income of a government is less than its total expenditure.

Budget khasaarah (بجٹ خسارہ) — Budget deficit

The budget deficit differs from the fiscal deficit as this refers to shortfalls in the entire budget. Similarly, the term budget surplus can be used if there was one, but at this point in time it is unlikely that will happen.

Tijaaratii khasaarah (تجارتی خسارہ) — Trade deficit

The trade deficit is the difference between goods and imports of visible goods. On the other hand, the current account deficit takes into account both goods and services as well as fund transfers.

Pakistan’s current account, which reflects the country’s net trade in goods and services and is an important component of the balance of payments, has consistently recorded large deficits over the years.

Ma’ashi sharah naamon (معاشی شرح نمو) — Economic growth rate

This refers to the economic growth rate, one of the several numbers the finance minister will be speaking about. It is essentially the percentage change in the value of all of the goods and services produced in the country over the year.

Gardishi qarza (گردشی قرضہ ) — Circular debt

An important thing to watch out for is the gardishi qarza, which is circular debt. A owes money to B, who owes money to C, who owes money to A. A can’t pay B until they get money from C, and C can’t pay B until they get paid by A, hence the circular debt.

Bainalaqwaami qarza / qarzajaat (بین الاقوامی قرضہ ) — Foreign debt

Another important term to look out for is the external or foreign debt. Debt overall is a critical subject considering a large chunk of the budget is used for debt servicing, which means interest payments.

Zarai qarz (زرعی قرض) — Agricultural loans

This simply refers to agricultural loans. Sometimes, the federal government introduces special packages to promote the agricultural sector. Last year, for example, the government announced the provision of free seeds and inexpensive loans to farmers.

Mayaari beej (معیاری بیج) — Quality seeds

When talking about the agricultural sector, the finance minister may slip in the importance of mayaari beej, ie, quality seeds.

Hadaf (ہدف) — Target

A word for target.

Kifaayat-shi’aarii (کفایت شعاری کے اقدامات) — Austerity measures

This means austerity measures. This term may be used when the government discusses belt-tightening measures. It simply means a set of economic policies, usually consisting of tax increases, spending cuts, or a combination of the two, used by governments to reduce budget deficits.

Zar-e-mubaadala ke zakhaair (زرِمُبادلہ کے ذخائر) — Foreign exchange reserves

Foreign exchange reserves are simply, a country’s stock of foreign currency. Also called forex reserves, they are “assets of a country’s monetary authorities that can be used, directly or through assured convertibility into other assets, to support its rate of exchange when its external payments are in deficit”.

Ghair mulki zar-e-mubaadala ki ghair qaanooni tarseel (غیر ملکی زرِمُبادلہ کی غیر قانونی ترسیل) — Illegal remittance of foreign exchange

This refers to the illegal trade of foreign exchange. In September, the rupee significantly improved against the dollar after an army-backed crackdown on illegal dollar trade, which stopped the black market activities in the country’s foreign exchange market.

Intizaami iqdamaat (انتظامی اقدمات) — Administrative measures

Administrative measures simply refer to the policies and procedures set by the government to manage resources.

FBR ke muhaasil/mehsoolat (ایف بی آر کے محاصل / محصولات) — FBR’s revenue

An important aspect of the budget. This refers to revenue of the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) tax collection inflows.

Wafaaqi hukoomat ka non-tax muhaasil/mehsoolat (وفاقی حکومت کا نان ٹیکس محاصل/محصولات) — The non-tax revenue of the federal government

This simply refers to the non-tax revenue of the federal government. It refers to recurring income earned by the federal government from sources other than taxes. The major sources are interest receipts, dividends, and profits earned by various regulatory authorities.

Mulki difaa (مُلکی دفاع) — The country’s defence

The country’s defence. When the foreign minister mentions this, he’s referring to amounts allocated to defence spending.

Ifraat-e-Zar / mehngaai (افراط زر/مہنگائی) — Inflation

Inflation, put simply, is a gradual loss of purchasing power, reflected in a broad rise in prices for goods and services over time.

It is considered to be among the most pertinent issues affecting Pakistan’s economic stability. The resultant effect of inflation is the reduction of the purchasing power of money.

Andaazan (اندازاً) — Approximately

In the speech, the finance minister might provide an “approximate” number when it comes to economic indicators. In the previous budget speech, the previous finance minister had stated that public debt had stood at “andaazan (approximately) Rs25 trillion”.

Takhmina (تخمینہ) — Estimated

Previously, the head of the national kitty had presented the revised budget with the total expenditure takhmina (estimated) at Rs11,090 billion.

So when the minister says kul akhraajaat ka takhmina (کُل اخراجات کا تخمینہ), he means estimated total expenditure.

Kul aamdan (کُل آمدن ) — Net income

This refers to the net income. So when the minister says Wafaaqi hukoomat ki kul aamadan (وفاقی حکومت کی کُل آمدن), he means the net income of the government. This is the net income of the federal government. Previously, then-finance minister Ishaq Dar had highlighted that the net income of the federal government stood at Rs6,887tr.

Civil intizamiya (سِول انتظامیہ) — Civil administration

Civil administration refers to the body responsible for governing and managing the country.

Dar-aamad / dar-aamadaat (درآمدات) — Imports

This refers to imports of the country. One of the biggest issues that plague the economy is the outflow of dollars being bigger than the inflow of dollars in the country. Pakistan specifically needs to save its precious dollars for necessary imports. Economic oracles have often therefore suggested imports to be curbed immediately because exports can’t increase overnight.

Akhraajaat (اخراجات) — Expenditures

Akhraajaat simply means expenditures. In its simplest form, a budget is an estimation of expenditures and income for a defined period of time.

Rawaan maali saal (رواں مالی سال) — Current fiscal year

The finance minister during his speech will be mostly concerned about either the next or the current financial/fiscal year.

Arab (ارب) and kharab (کھرب) — billion and trillion

When talking about the economy, the finance minister will mention numbers in billions and trillions.

For example, the US economy stood at $25.44tr, China’s economy stood at $17.96tr while the Pakistani economy stood at at $374.7bn in 2022, according to the World Bank.

Zara’at (ذراعت) — Agriculture

To steer the economy out of its incessant crisis, the elected federal governments would have to address the agricultural sector in the upcoming finance bill as it is a pivotal source of foreign exchange earnings, with a substantial delta as high as $15bn in our current account.

Tax / duty se istasnaa (ٹیکس/ڈیوٹی سے استثنیٰ) — Tax exemptions

A Dawn report suggested that the tax officials were working on several proposals to eliminate tax exemptions — istasnaa — worth billions of rupees in the Budget 2024-25 as prerequisites to secure an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a new bailout package.

San’ati aur bar’aamdi shubajaat (صنعتی اور برآمدی شعبہ جات) — Industrial and export sectors

This refers to the industrial and export sectors. Previously, the prime minister had underscored the importance of the industrial and export sectors. He has discussed the provision of facilities to the industrial sector and growing exports. The finance minister had also vowed to boost exports by increasing investment in key sectors.

Bunyaadi tawazun (بنیادی توازُن) — Primary balance

The primary balance is the difference between the government’s revenue (what it is earning) and its non-interest expenditure (what it is spending, not including debt payments).