Cash-strapped Pakistani government proposes budget, complete with funds to fight climate change

By AP News

Pakistan’s cash-strapped government has presented its draft for the national budget, allocating funds to fight climate change despite staggering $30 billion in losses from last summer’s devastating floods

Pakistan Daily Life

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s cash-strapped government on Friday presented its draft for the national budget, allocating funds to fight climate change despite staggering $30 billion in losses from last summer's devastating floods.

Lawmakers are expected to approve the proposal by the end of the month, after a clause-by-clause discussion.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif's government, which succeeded that of former Premier Imran Khan, has struggled with an unprecedented economic downturn since taking over last year. Meanwhile, talks with the International Monetary Fund for the revival of the $6 billion bailout package have been on the hold since December.

The draft budget envisages $940 billion for the next fiscal year, starting July 1, a significant increase from last year's budget of $786 billion.

Of the proposed sum, $1.3 billion is destined for the government's Climate Change Division — the agency in charge of projects meant to mitigate effects of climate change on the country.

Presenting the budget, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the government is determined to work on climate resilience and preparedness against natural disasters. Rehabilitation and reconstruction projects underway in flood-hit areas will be allotted $201 billion, he said.

Pakistan is among the top 10 countries most affected by climate change, experts say, while the country’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is less than 1%. Last summer's floods devastated Pakistan, killing more than 1,700 people and affecting around 33 million people, with nearly 8 million displaced.

The deluge pushed millions into poverty, and the national poverty rate is expected to increase by 4%, according to the country’s post-disaster assessment report.

On Thursday, a government survey showed that severe macroeconomic imbalances, flood damages, domestic supply shocks, and international economic slowdown dampened the economic growth to just 0.29% in this fiscal year.

Pakistan’s inflation this year reached 28.2%, compared to 11% last year. The current account deficit was at $3.3 billion in July-April, compared to $13.7 billion in the same period a year earlier.


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