ISLAMABAD, June 13 (APP): Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar Tuesday informed the National Assembly that as many as 75 recommendations forwarded by the Senate were fully or partially accepted for incorporation in the budget 2017-18.
Winding up discussion on Budget 2017-18 in the National Assembly, the Minister said that the Senate had forwarded 276 proposals for incorporation in the budget, out of which 147 were related to Public Sector Development Programme, which had been sent to Planning Division with comments to have favorable consideration on these proposals.
Out of the remaining 129, as many as 75 have been accepted fully or partially or at lease in principle, the minister informed the house.
He informed the house that all the political parties participated in the budget as they were having representation in the Senate and presented their viewpoints.
He informed the house that the government during its first three years focused macroeconomic stability by introducing many structural reforms and resultantly the economy was put on the growth path as has been acknowledge by known world financial institutions which increased the ratings of Pakistan economy and enhanced its outlook from negative to stable and then to positive.
He said that due to these policies the growth rate was recorded at 5.3 percent and has been fixed to grow 6 percent next fiscal year and by 7 percent during the following year.
The Finance Minister rejected the theory that presentation of the budget was illegal in the absence of a new National Finance Commission award, stressing that there was no link between the budget and the NFC.
He said that the NFC would remain intact until the announcement of next award. He also explained the reasons for the delay in announcement of the next NFC award.
Dar said that the government wanted to allocate three per cent each out of the gross divisible pool to meet expenses for additional security and Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Fata.
He said that the proposals needed consensus from the provinces, which are awaited and assured that as soon as consensus is developed, the award would be announced.
Dar said that as many as Rs90-100 billion were being spent annually on the war on terror and rehabilitation of Temporarily Displace Persons (TDPs) and this year too an amount of Rs90 billions has been earmarked for the purpose.
For boosting the export sector, the Minister said that the government announced Rs180 billion as Prime Minister export package while some other insensitive were being introduced to promote exports from the country.
Finance minister Ishaq Dar said that recommendations of lawmakers with regard to promotion of Islamic Banking in the country, minimum wage of labours, Service Sector, free income tax facility for oil marketing companies, further exemption of tax on fertilizers to facilitate small farmers, abolishment of import duty on permanent magnet used in DC fans as well reduction on import duty of plastic have been incorporated.
He said tax ratio was being decreased on Online Market Place entities in order to promote E-Commerce in the country, while special package is being announced for revival of entertainment industry in the country.
He said lawmakers recommendations with regard to Non-Profit Organizations, working on welfare activities have also been incorporated.
Dar regretted that the Opposition did not take part in the budget debate however added that the gap created due to their absence was filled by the active participation of lawmakers of the Upper House of the Parliament.
Clarifying the misconceptions about the public debt, the Finance Minister said that the Foreign Debt which was $ 48.1 billion in 2013 was $ 58.4 billion in 2017.
He said that according to a transition plan, the debt to GDP ration would be reduced to 50 percent during next fifteen years.
He said that if keeping in view the enhancing development spending in the form of PSDP and expanding the allocations for income support programme and the reduction in fiscal deficit form 8.2 percent to 4.7 percent, the debt did not actually increased.
He said that though the Opposition did not take part in the budget debate, still there was time to present a Charter of Economy with its consultation.
If we prepare Charter of Economy with consultation it will be very good for the country’s economic stability.
It will give a positive message to the world that Pakistan is working on the agenda of economic progress, he added.