Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Shaukat Tarin defends “Budget of Hope” at the closing session of the National Assembly

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said Friday that the proposed budget for fiscal year 2011-22 is a “budget of hope” for the less fortunate, so they will take care of them “as they do in the state of Medina.”

The PTI-led third budget, which has been debated for more than 40 hours, has been the subject of difficult National Assembly (NA) meetings and opposition objections.

Minister Tarin’s speech took place at the last session of the budget debate in the House of Representatives’ Lower House.

He said the current budget would revive the hopes of low-income people; “hope has been stolen from them,” he added. “Not only that, the economy will also develop,” the minister promised.

Tarin added that electricity tariffs would not be raised because Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted to reduce the financial burden of the poor.

“We [the government] will use an unconventional mindset to reduce circular debt, reduce losses, and increase returns. Actually, this is a big challenge.”

He added that the current account deficit increased due to the actions of the previous government, leaving the PTI government with no choice but to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Tarin said the IMF had set tough terms as Pakistan moved closer, which he said the coronavirus pandemic had taken a toll on the country’s economy.

Regarding the electronic voting system, the finance minister said that 5 billion rupees had been allocated for the electronic voting process for “transparent elections in the country”.

Ministers read strongly in favor of “best” budget

“This sector helps expand to 40 other industries and create jobs,” he added.

Minister Tarin added that incentives have also been given to the construction sector as there has not been a previous foreclosure law that would have made mortgage loans less than 0.5 percent of the country’s GDP.

Regarding taxes, he said, for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with a fixed and simple system, a loan of Rp 100 billion was also given with an interest of nine percent (interest).

The Minister of Finance added that tax exemptions were also given to the IT sector to increase its exports.

There is a tax of 0.75 rupees during mobile phone calls, but no tax on SMS and mobile internet.

He said Federal Revenue Board (FBR) harassment was an issue that prevented taxpayers from filing their statements. The government plans to establish a third country system with a legal structure until taxpayers are arrested.

“He will only conduct audits and talk to taxpayers,” he said. Minister Tarin reiterated the need to increase exports in order to reduce the budget deficit.

“We have to return in dollars, and that is only possible if we increase our exports,” he said.

The finance minister also announced that he would cut taxes on the textile industry from 12% to 10%.

Read Also: Pakistan Receives $4.5 Billion to ease Oil and LNG Imports

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