Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik on Friday said that in the fiscal budget 2023-24, the coalition-led government has planned to use all available resources to reduce the financial burden from the middleman and provide maximum relief to small businesses. “The current budget will be a poor friendly which will reflect Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’ concern for downtrodden people of the country,” he said in an exclusive interview with a private news channel. The minister added that the new budget would strengthen the relationship between the government and the masses as it would promote pro-people economic policies. The incumbent government had to take difficult decisions to put the economy on track, and it could take more drastic measures if required to improve it, he added. Malik further explained said that a number of agreements with Russia had reached their final stage and Pakistan would receive its first shipment of discounted oil in the next few days. He said the country would receive one-third of its crude oil imports from Russia at a concessional rate. The minister highlighted “it is the first time in history” that Russian delegates visited Pakistan and began talks on an oil and gas deal on discounted rates. Under the Pak-Russia agreement, “oil and gas will start reaching Pakistan soon”, which would help provide relief to common people, he added. To a question about the TAPI project, he said that the TAPI pipeline project among multiple countries would bring peace and stability to the region, adding, Pakistan’s gas shortages issue would be eased soon under this project. “We are currently working on three pipelines including a liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline from Gwadar, TAPI and the North-South LNG pipeline,” he informed, adding, the TAPI gas pipeline project aims to bring natural gas at cheap rates. Dr Musadik Malik requested Turkmenistan and Iran to take all steps for the early completion of the project. Musadik stressed that the budget would present a long-term way forward to set economic goals for the next five years, adding, the public would reject all those elements in elections, which used politics for personal gains instead of addressing their problems.