Govt’s Focus Will be on Growth and Job Creation: Tarin

The Minister for Finance, Shaukat Tarin, has said the government will focus on a growth strategy to create new job opportunities and enhance the income levels of the people.

Winding up the discussion on the budget for the next fiscal year in the National Assembly, he declared that Pakistan is heading towards inclusive and sustainable growth. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken bold and difficult decisions to steer the economy in the right direction.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, a growth of four percent had been achieved during the current fiscal year due to the interventions in different sectors, including industries, housing, construction, and agriculture.

Minister Tarin also announced a series of relief measures for the different sectors, and said that the tax relief that had been given earlier to the auto sector for vehicles up to 850cc is being extended to 1000cc vehicles.


ALSO READ

SBP Steps Up To Boost Infrastructure Financing


He said that the tax imposed on medical bills and the GP fund is being withdrawn, and the tax imposed on milk has also been waived off.  He said there will be no tax on the Internet and SMS, while users will only be charged 75 paisas for a call of more than five minutes.

He said there will be zero tax on the registered IT platforms, while it will be only two percent for the unregistered ones. He said that there will be a 17 percent tax on the value-added products of gold, and that tax on poultry is being reduced from 15 percent to 10 percent.

The tax on textile products has been reduced from 12 percent to 10 percent. Similarly, the tax rate on real estate has been reduced. The ratio of income tax has been reduced from 35 percent to 20 percent under the construction package.

He said that tax relief has also been given to oil refineries so that they can turn to Euro-5 fuel.

Minister Tarin categorically stated that no tax has been imposed on flour and its products. He said the budget has given hope to all the tiers of society, and that the budget is aimed at a comprehensive plan for the uplift of four to six million poor households. Under this plan, these households will be provided with affordable houses.

The rural households will be given interest-free loans of up to three hundred thousand rupees for agriculture productivity besides two hundred thousand rupees for the purchase of equipment. He said Rs. 500,000 worth of interest-free loans will be provided to each deserving household in the urban areas to start their businesses, and that these poor households will also be provided health cards.

He said that the allocation for the Ehsaas Program has been enhanced to 260 billion rupees to provide assistance to the underprivileged segments of societies and that the government will provide targeted subsidies to the low-income groups on the power tariff, flour, ghee, and sugar.

The minister said that the tax collection for the next fiscal year has been fixed at Rs. 5,800 billion. The government is bringing changes in the tax system and is introducing automation. He said that twelve withholding taxes have been withdrawn for being regressive.


ALSO READ

Confirmed: Govt Imposes Tax on Voice Calls Longer Than 5 Minutes


He added that the government has increased the annual PSDP by 40 percent from Rs. 630 billion to Rs. 900 billion. He also explained that the projects pertaining to transport and energy, and those for the development of backward areas including Balochistan, the Tribal Areas, and Gilgit-Baltistan have been prioritized in the development plan to bring prosperity and reduce poverty.

He further said $1.1 billion has been earmarked for the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccine, and that Rs. 5 billion has been set aside for the development of the e-voting system.

Minister Tarin pointed out that Pakistan has become a net food importer and that the government will now spend on the agriculture sector to achieve self-reliance. He said that a plan has been formulated in cooperation with the provinces to uplift this sector. He added that cold storages and warehouses will be established and a network of agri-malls will be spread across the country to eliminate the role of the middle man.

Regarding the industrial sector, he said that incentives of forty billion rupees will be given to increase the competitiveness of this important sector of the economy. He revealed that tax relief has been given to the SMEs sector, and loans of Rs. 100 billion will be given to them on a markup of nine percent.  He also announced that the government is bringing a new auto policy and the ‘Meri Gari Scheme’ will be introduced.

He said the incentives given to the export-oriented industries will be continued during the next fiscal year, and that the aim of the government is to enhance the export base by encouraging exports in different sectors.


ALSO READ

IMF Urges Pakistan to Solve Long-Standing Economic Issues


Minister Tarin expressed satisfaction over the growth of the IT sector, and stated that the aim of the government is to bolster the exports to 6-8 billion dollars within the next two to three years. He said that it is also establishing special economic zones (SEZ) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. He added that the government is engaged with China for the relocation of their industries to these zones, and that investment from other countries will also be brought in to these SEZs.

Turning to the power sector, the minister said that there will be no increase in the tariff and that this has also been conveyed to the IMF. He was confident that the flow of the circular debt will start reducing from the next fiscal year.  He also stated that sufficient funds have been earmarked for the construction of dams in Pakistan.

Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *