The global ratings agency Fitch on Wednesday said that the federal budget for fiscal year (FY) 2025 “strengthens prospects for an IMF deal”.

The government presented the budget for the next year on June 12, which contained an ambitious tax revenue target of Rs13 trillion rupees ($47 billion) for the year starting July 1, a near-40 per cent jump from the current year, and a sharp drop in its fiscal deficit to 5.9pc of GDP from 7.4pc for the current year.

Fitch, in a comment, said it forecasted “the fiscal deficit will narrow” assuming partial implementation of the budget — whether fiscal targets will be met entirely remained uncertain.

“This should reduce external pressures, albeit at a cost to growth,” it added.

The US-based agency recounted that the budget draft projected budget deficit of of 5.9 per cent of the GDP — from the previous year’s estimated 7.4pc — and 2pc primary surplus “on wide-ranging tax increases and also significant fiscal efforts at the provincial level”.

Additionally, a separate report by rating agency Moody’s said that the government has projected real GDP growth at 3.6pc and headline inflation at 12pc. It also sought to increase federal government revenue to an ambitious Rs17.8trillion — 46pc higher than previous year’s.

Overall, the budget also seeks to boost development expenditure of the centre and provinces by over 58pc to nearly Rs3.8tr.

According to Fitch, “Our updated fiscal forecasts assume partial implementation and project a primary surplus of 0.8pc, on shortfalls in revenue generation and an overshoot in current spending, partly offset by under-execution in development spending.

“We believe tight policy settings may depress growth more than the government expects, and have reduced our growth forecast to 3.0pc for FY25, from 3.5pc, despite some improvements in short-term indicators of economic activity.”

Meanwhile the total current expenditure is estimated to surge by 21pc to Rs17.2tr, with power and other subsidies jumping to Rs1.4tr and defence expenditure by 14pc to Rs2.1tr.

The agency added that its forecast reduction was due to the plans of the coalition government facing “stiff resistance” inside parliament from allies, opposition and among broader society after the Feb 8 elections and a “weaker-than-expected mandate” for the current government.

On a positive note, it did note that the previous year’s primary deficit “was in line” with the target — with the authorities undertaking “unpopular subsidy reforms over the past year, supporting fiscal credibility”.

“While Pakistan has a poor record of sustaining reforms over time, the absence of viable alternatives has strengthened support for tough policy decisions, at least in the near term,” it said.

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

Injustice undone
Updated 13 Jul, 2024

Injustice undone

The SC verdict is a stunning reversal of fortunes for a party that was, both before and after general elections, being treated as a defunct entity.
Looming flour shortage
13 Jul, 2024

Looming flour shortage

FOR once, it is hard to argue against the reason that compelled flour mills to call a nationwide strike from...
Same old script
13 Jul, 2024

Same old script

WHEN it comes to the troubling issue of enforced disappearances/ missing persons — either Baloch or belonging to...
Misery and despair
Updated 12 Jul, 2024

Misery and despair

Is a life lived happily and respectably too much to ask for from your country?
Temporary extension
12 Jul, 2024

Temporary extension

THE cabinet’s decision to allow ‘legal’ Afghan refugees — meaning those with Proof of Registration cards —...
Anti-smog strategy
12 Jul, 2024

Anti-smog strategy

BY acknowledging that smog is a year-round problem, and not just a winter issue, the Punjab government has taken the...