ISLAMABAD: A budget deficit of 3.8 percent or Rs1,687 billion has been recorded during the first nine months of the current fiscal year, July-March 2019-2020, ahead of corona pandemic expenditure and ramifications of lockdown on the revenue and economy of the country. On Wednesday, the Finance Ministry uploaded consolidated fiscal operation for July-March2019-2020, revealing highest spending on debt servicing and very little on social protection.

Of the total expenditure of Rs6376 billion or 14.5 percent of the GDP, highest expenditure was incurred on debt servicing of around Rs1,879 billion both the domestic and foreign with Rs1,646 billion on servicing of domestic debt and Rs234 billion on servicing of foreign debt followed by defense spending of Rs802.4 billion and development spending of Rs751.722 billion by both the federal and provinces with Rs340 billion by the federal government and Rs382 provincial during the first three quarters of the current fiscal year .

The government expenses on pension payments were Rs218.9 billion, public order and safety affairs Rs72.01 billion, Rs31.8 billion and Rs15.105 billion on social protection.

Of the total revenue collection of Rs4,689 billion during July-March 2019-2020, tax collection was Rs3,594 billion and non-tax revenue Rs1,033 billion.

In non-tax revenues, the government had collected Rs70.03 billion as mark-up on public sector entities, Rs26.05 billion as dividend, Rs635.5 billion as profit of the State Bank of Pakistan, and Rs113.1 billion as the Pakistan Telecommunic-ation Authority (PTA) profit.

Other component of non-tax revenue included Rs10.8 billion as defence receipts, Rs16.3 billion on account of passport fee, and Rs10.5 billion for discount retained on crude oil.

Rs65.5 billion was received on account as royalties on gas and oil, Rs4.6 billion as windfall levy against crude oil, and Rs60.1 billion through other sources.

The FBR collected Rs3,044 billion during the first three quarters of the current fiscal year against the budgetary target of Rs5.5 trillion, which is now projected to remain around Rs3.9 trillion after the corona pandemic. Direct tax collection was Rs1,146 billion and indirect taxes contribution in revenue was Rs1,898 billion in total FBR collection, the government also collected Rs198 billion on account of petroleum levy.—ZAHEER ABBASI