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Government begins budget preparations

January 14, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The government has started preparing budget for next financial year and decided to complete final estimates of federal receipts and expenditures by March 15 so that the federal budget may be announced by May 31. 

The ministry of finance has circulated ‘budget calendar’ to all ministries and divisions and asked them to submit their revised estimates for the current fiscal year (2012-13) latest by January 16 along with budget estimates for 2013-14 together with reasons for variations.

The ministries and divisions have been asked to submit their final estimates by March 15.

The finance ministry has already started consultations with the ministries and divisions for rationalisation of budget estimates for the current year.

In a letter to all federal institutions and ministries, principal accounting officers have been asked to submit their indicative budget ceilings for the next three years until 2015-16 latest by Feb 8. The financial advisers of the respective ministries would scrutinise the estimates for current expenditure while sectoral chiefs of the Planning Commission will scrutinise development estimates. The ministries and divisions have been asked not to make lump-sum provisions in any case and provide details of all items. They will be required to specifically explain estimates of expenditure clearly broken down into charged and voted expenditure.

The ministries have been asked not to include any scheme in the budget estimates that had not been approved by relevant forums like departmental development working parties or the central development working party.

The meetings of the Priorities Committee with all ministries, divisions, institutions and corporations will be held from April 1 to 12 to crystallise overall size of the budget, including development expenditure and current expenditure along with expected revenues and receipts during the next fiscal year.

Each principal accounting officer will be invited to make presentations on their budget proposals to the priorities committee comprising the ministry of finance, planning commission and economic affairs division to explain their plans, strategies and financing requirements and sources on current and development sides of the budget.

A meeting of the annual planning and coordination committee will be held in the last week of April to recommend public sector development programme and finalise macroeconomic framework for approval of the National Economic Council that is tentatively scheduled for the first week of May.

The budget documents, including financial management application software and green book, will be finalised by May 14 so that its printing could be completed at least 10 days before the budget speech.

The finance minister or finance adviser whoever is in office at the time is tentatively scheduled to present the budget before the federal cabinet on May 31. The ministries, divisions and other federal institutions and corporations have also been asked to follow the new budgeting system of the medium-term budget framework (MTBF), including 2013-14 to 2015-16.

Under the MTBF, all principal accounting officers are responsible for preparing three-year fiscal requirements of their respective ministries along with strategic objectives and outputs and how these programmes could be financed.