Budget prioritizes agriculture, export development to promote growth: Dar


ISLAMABAD, Jun 4 (APP): After achieving economic stability, the focus of the budget 2016-17 is on improving growth by prioritizing agriculture sector development and promotion of exports, Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar said here Saturday.

The two sectors which needed boost for the promotion of
country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are agriculture and
exports, the minister said while addressing the post-budget
press conference here.

He said that agriculture provides employment to 45
percent labour forces, 70 percent population is dependent on
it while its share in national GDP is about 21 percent, adding
that the negative growth of 0.19 in this sector and 28%
reduction in cotton production affected overall growth rate.

He said that provision of relief to agriculture sector
was the top most priority of the government, so in the budget 206-17, the prices of Urea fertilizers have been reduced by Rs.400 per bag from Rs.1800 to Rs.1400 while the prices of DAP has also been cut from 2800 to 2500, providing 300 relief to farmers.

He said the agriculture package announced in the federal
budget was devised in consultations with farmers’
representatives, chambers of commerce and other stakeholders.

He said that sales tax on pesticides have also been zero
rated while the per unit electricity charges for tube-wells
has been reduced from Rs.8.85 plus sales tax to Rs.5.35,
adding that the provinces have been requested to adjust sales tax keeping in consideration to provide relief to farmers.

The Minister said that the second priority sector for
boosting growth was to promotion of exports. He said that due to fall in commodity prices in the international market, the exports from the county witnessed decline in terms of cost, however, the exports of different commodities increased in terms of quantity.

He said that Pakistan aims to enhance ratio of exports
to GDP which he said is about 15 percent in emerging economies. He said that five exports sectors have been zero-rated while the refunds upto April would be cleared off by 31 August 2016.

He said that the exports refinancing has also been reduced to as low as 3 percent to facilitate exporters.

He said that the investment to GDP has increased from
12.6 percent of GDP to 15.6 percent, which would be further
enhanced to 21-22 percent, to ensure 7 percent growth.

He said that the industrial sector has performed well
adding the government also provided incentives for this
sector. The duty on capital goods and machinery has been
reduced by percent.

Services sector and promotion of IT and Agriculture
credit was also a focus of the government, the finance
minister added.

He said that revenues have also witness record growth
adding that the government has rolled back the concessionary SROs, however concessions for the charity organization would be maintained.

He said the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP)
of Rs800 for federal component and 875 for provincial
component would help promote development in the country.
He said 7 percent GDP growth, enhancement in per capita income, creating job opportunities, enhancing average life expectancy, poverty alleviation and reducing inflation to single digit was the ultimate target of the government.