Pakistan unveils agri-focused budget, increases defence too

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Islamabad, June 3 (IANS) Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday presented the country’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2016-17, with a 10 per cent increase in defence allocations.

Dar unveiled an budget outlay of $41.99 billion (Pakistani Rs 4.394 trillion) – a 7.3 per cent increase over the previous year, and targetted growth of 5.7 per cent.

Finance Minister Dar, outlining the economy’s performance in the past two years, said: “In the past two years progress went over 4 per cent and reached 4.7 per cent — the highest in eight years.”

Dar increased the country’s defence budget by 10 per cent to Rs. 860.2 billion from Rs. 781 billion last fiscal year.

Dar conceded that the agriculture sector’s negative growth of -0.19 percent had dragged the economy down, and there were expectations that the budget would come up with new measures to spur growth in the sector.

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