ISLAMABAD   -  The federal government has started preparing budget for next financial year and decided to complete final estimates of federal receipts and expenditures by March 14 so that the federal budget may be announced by late May 2019.

Finance Division here on Friday issued Budget Call Circular for the FY 2019-20 through the E-Office facility which was recently implemented in the Division.  Call Circulars to the offices, which have not so far shifted to E-Office system, were conveyed through email. The issuance of the budget call circular electronically is in line with government’s initiative to use electronic/e-office facility.

The ministry of finance has asked all the ministries and divisions to submit their first preliminary revised estimates (2018-19) and budget estimates (2019-20) of Federal Government Receipts together with reasons for variations by 30th January, 2019. Meanwhile, it has also asked to submit the final estimates of Federal Government Receipts (Revised 2018-19 & Budget 2019-20) together with explanatory notes thereon by 14th March, 2019.

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 latest by second week of February 2019. 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 meetings of the Priorities Committee with all ministries, divisions, institutions and corporations will be held in the first week of April 2019 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 middle 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 last week of April next year.

The budget documents, including financial management application software and green book, will be finalised by late April 2019 so that its printing could be completed before the budget speech.

The finance minister is tentatively scheduled to present the budget before the federal cabinet in May 2019. 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 2019-20 to 2021-22. 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.

The budget call circular, it may be added, is issued every year to all Federal Ministries/ Departments wherein the Finance Division calls upon them to initiate the budget making process.