Govt to enhance development expenditure, no more burden on existing tax payers: Dar

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ISLAMABAD, May 24 (APP): Minister for Finance Muhammad
Ishaq Dar Tuesday said the government would enhance development expenditure while no new burden would be put on the existing taxpayers in the budget for 2016-17.

However, steps would be suggested to bring non-filers
under the tax net regime, he said while addressing a pre-budget seminar organized by Express Media Group here.

The seminar was addressed among others by Senator Osman Saifullah Khan of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Deputy Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Vice President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iftikhar Ali Malik, President Federal of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Abdul Rauf, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Atif Ikram Sheikh, Stok exchange expert Arif Habib, Ajmal Malik of Express Media Group, Arif
Yousuf Jewa and senior journalist Ziauddin Ahmed.

The Finance Minister said during last three years, the
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government’s prudent economic policies had managed to stabilize the dwindling economic condition as had been endorsed by the major international rating agencies.

He said that when the PML-N government came into power in May 2013, it had inherited a dwindling economic condition and international financial institution were declaring Pakistan as a macro-economically de-stabilized country.

International financial institutions like IFC and ADB
had closed their doors for business with Pakistan, he added.

There was some 18-hour loadshedding in rural areas and
16-hour electricity breakdown in urban areas, he said.
Ishaq Dar said the present government took bold
decisions to stabilize the national economy and saved the
country from a possible default.

He said when the government took power the budget
deficit was 8.8 per cent which had now been brought down to 4.3 per cent. In the first budget, the present
government froze all the discretionary funds, besides
bringing the secret funds of ministries to zero.

The Finance Minister said the present government
had increased the rate of the revenue collection in three years to 33 per cent and during the ten months of the current financial year.

He stressed the need for making joint efforts in order to
ensure that the economic gains must not be destabilized due to any political unrest in the country.

The Finance Minister once again asked opposition members
to sit with the government and evolve a charter of economy in order to make the country’s economy even more robust.
He said in a bid to ensure sustainable economic
development, the government had made deep-rooted structural reforms in various sectors, including tax, energy, agriculture and public offices.

Ishaq Dar assured that in the budget for next year, no
new tax burden would be put on common man and those already paying their taxes.

He, however, viewed that the government would
specially target the non tax filers in a bid to force them to
come into the tax net.

He said the withholding tax imposed by the government had
not only helped increase the number of tax payers but also
collect Rs 20 billion during the year.

The minister said the budget deficit was expected to
remain 4.3 per cent during the current fiscal year which had
witnessed a significant decrease from 8.8 per cent deficit
three years ago.

He claimed that during next fiscal year, the budget
deficit would be further decreased to 3.5 per cent.
He said the government also took numerous austerity
measurers including withdrawing of discretionary funds worth
billions of rupees of Prime Minister House and other
ministries.
He said the government also abolishhed secret funds of 32 public departments. He said that the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth rate would remain 4.71 per cent by the end of current fiscal year.

“This growth rate would have been even higher to about
5.2 per cent if cotton crop had not been badly affected,” he
added.

Ishaq Dar highlighted the initiation of Diamer-Basha
Dam and Dasu hydel project to overcome the energy crisis.
The minister said the US $ 46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiated with the help of China would bring prosperity in the country.

The Finance Minister said that Japan External Trade
Organization (JETRO) had declared Pakistan as the second best choicest palace for investment while Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait were also keen to invest here.

He expressed the hope that if Pakistan stayed on course
it could become the 18th largest economy by 2050. If the
reforms process continued even Pakistan could achieve this
target by 2030, he added.

The government, he said, was focusing on economic growth
for the prosperity of the country.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the occasion called upon the
government to focus on agriculture sector for the prosperity
of the country.

The other speakers put forward suggestions to the
government for the growth of national economy.