ISLAMABAD June 8 (APP):Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar on Thursday assured the Upper House of the Parliament for fully accommodating the doable and practical recommendations suggested by the Senate on the Finance Bill, 2017-18.
Winding up discussion on Budget 2017-18 in Senate, the minister appreciated the commitment and dedication of Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue, economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization for presenting a valuable report on recommendations on Finance Bill 2017.
He also appreciated the senators for presenting valuable suggestions on the Finance Bill and assured them that he will try his level best to add all positive things in the budget, which will be winding up next week.
He reminded the house that forty percent of their recommendations were incorporated in the budget of 2015-16 and eighty percent in the year 2016-17.
Dar said that the government was making utmost efforts to finalize the next NFC Award at the earliest. He, however, dispelled the impression that presenting the budget without the new NFC was unconstitutional.
He said the provincial governments will have to demonstrate magnanimity and open heartedness for giving share to Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and FATA from the NFC.
He said there was no nexus between the NFC and the budget. He said a meeting with the provincial Chief Ministers will soon be held on the matter.
The Finance Minister said that the country has achieved economic stability due to the government’s strict financial discipline in finance and economic affairs.
He added international economic monitors have declared Pakistan’s economy as one of the best growing economy of the world.
Dar said that the country has witnessed 5.3 percent growth rate during the current fiscal year due to the prudent economic policies of the government.
He said the size of economy had reached to US $ 300 billion.
Ishaq Dar said that the government had increased the development budget from Rs 300 billion to Rs 1001 billion. He added during last four years, the tax collection ratio was increased to 80%.
He said that the government will make efforts to increase tax net and further improving tax collection system.
He dispelled the impression of borrowing foreign loans by the present government. He added the government has fixed the GDP ratio at 6 percent for next year which he expressed the hope that the government would easily achieve this target.
He added the government had planed to fix 7 percent of GDP for 2018-19.
He said that the government had started operation in 2014 against terrorist in FATA and spent an amount of Rs 400 billion in war on terror during last four years.
He said that Pakistan had been affording annually Rs 90 billion to Rs 100 billion in war against terrorism. He added the government had been using this amount annually without any foreign assistance.
Ishaq Dar said that the government had introduced the Federal Debt Limitation law in the country which became Act in 2005. He said there had been impression on the government about excessive borrowing which was totally wrong as the incumbent government was borrowing to invest for development.
The minister said that budget for various projects in energy sector and infrastructure development has been increased from Rs. 300 billion to Rs. 1001 billion and several programs for social welfare have been also started.
He said that external debt was $ 48.1 million in 2013 which is $ 58.4billion in 2017. He said the government had paid the installment of loans taken by the previous governments.
Ishaq Dar said that international ranking of economy of Pakistan has improved and tax revenue has increased upto 80 percent during the last four years.
About provision of clean drinking water, he said though it was provincial subject but the government had made allocations for several projects like K4 project in Karachi. He said that Prime Minister had also committed to share in Green Line project for better transportation facilities to people of Karachi.
The minister said there had been no loadshedding of 16-18 hours as was witnessed in the past. He said that Pakistan had 1200 MW excessive electricity in 1999 but later the country faced its shortfall. Due to prudent policies of the government, he said that energy crisis had been overcome and this challenge will be no more in next summer.
He said that poverty ratio had decreased in Pakistan and the government is trying for graduate uplift of the poor by providing them loans on easy installments.
The efforts are being made to widen tax net and stop tax theft, the minister said adding that online refunds of tax amount to the filers was ensured by this government.
The minister said there is need for Charter of Economy so that there should be consistency in policies of any government. “We talk about the country and whether there is any government, the continuity in economic policies is crucial for development of the country,” he maintained.
Ishaq Dar said that allocation for Pakistan-Bait-ul Mal had been increased upto 50 percent so that poor can get financial benefit. He said that loan facilities for widows has been resumed while salaries of government servants have been increased by merging the adhoc relief of 2009-10 and further giving 10 percent adhoc relief on the enhanced salary after merger.
He said that economic stability had been achieved by PML-N government due to efforts during last three years while further focus was to improve GDP growth in remaining tenure. The minister said that success story of PML-N government was also being acknowledged by the well-reputed media outlets.
He urged all to shun petty differences and work for progress of the country which is being predicted to join G20 countries in 2030.