New initiatives proposed in the national budget for 2017-18

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ISLAMABAD, May 26 (APP): Following are the new initiatives,
proposed in the national budget for 2017-18, unveiled by Finance
Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar at the Parliament House here
Friday:

WELFARE
Welfare scheme for family of martyrs – CDNS – preferred
profits will be offered
Scheme for disabled persons – CDNS – preferred profits will
be offered
Loan write-off of widows – HBFC – upto Rs 500,000
Facilitating elderly, widows and pensioners – CDNS – IT, on-line
connectivity, and alternative service delivery mechanisms –
ATMs, mobile, etc.
Overseas Pakistanis – non-convertible bond, an exclusive
sector in Islamabad by CDA
BISP Beneficiary Graduation Programme – Grants to
willing self-employed individuals – Rs 50,000 grant per family
will be provided to 250,000 families in the first phase
Provision of off-grid solar solutions in sparsely
populated areas, especially Balochistan

AGRICULTURE
Continuation of subsidized electricity for agri-tube wells
Single-digit (9.9%) mark-up rate for farmers utilizing loans up-to
Rs 50,000
Continuation of subsidy on electricity to low-income and low-usage
customers
Credit to agriculture sector – increased from Rs.700 billion target of
the current year to Rs.1,001 billion

FINANCIAL INCLUSION
Financial inclusion – loans to low-income segments through
micro-finance banks, exemption from WHT on branchless banking agents

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Setting up of an IT Park
IT export houses/companies shall be allowed to open
Foreign Exchange Accounts in Pakistan
Reduction of the withholding income tax on cell phone call from
14% to 12.5% and Federal Excise Duty from 18.5% to 17%
Smart/android phones – custom duty to be reduced from
Rs.1,000 to Rs 650
Import duty is being reduced on mobile telecom products
The start-up software houses shall be exempted from Income Tax
for the first 3 years
Exports of IT services from Islamabad and other
Federal territories shall be exempted from Sales Tax

OTHERS
Minimum wage of labour increased from Rs.14,000 per month
to Rs 15,000 per month
Bait al Maal allocation increased by 50% from Rs.4 billion
to Rs.6 billion
Risk sharing guarantee scheme – house building finance

TEXTILES
To stabilize cotton prices in the country, a system of cotton
hedge trading for the domestic cotton will be initiated
Launch of Brand Development fund for textile sector
The approval process of establishment of 1,000 stitching units
has been completed and its implementation will start during FY 2017-18
and shall be completed in three years;
Online textile business/trade portal for textiles using B2B
(business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) mode

INFRASTRUCTURE FINANCE
Establishment of Pakistan Infrastructure Bank

FINANCIAL INCLUSION STRATEGY
A Rs.8 billion fund will be created at the State Bank of
Pakistan to provide loans to low-income segments through
microfinance banks;
In order to facilitate transactions through mobile banking,
e-gateway systems, mobile banking, the Government is establishing
a state-of-the-art e-gateway systems at the State Bank of Pakistan
at a cost of Rs.200 million.
Technical training and handholding of the service delivery organisations shall also be undertaken through this project;
Exemption from withholding tax on Cash Withdrawals by Branchless Banking Agents- exemptions on withholding tax will be given on withdrawal
of cash from branchless banking;
Pakistan Micro Finance Investment Company: The Government of
Pakistan in 2016 launched Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company
(PMIC) jointly with DFID and KFW to augment the availability of
capital for Micro Finance institutions.
It is estimated that this will lead to doubling of small loans;

SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES
Establishment of Risk Management Facility
Innovation Challenge Fund
Secure Transaction for moveable property

SALES TAX REFUND
Sales tax refunds: All the pending sales tax refunds whose RPOs
have been sanctioned by 30th April 2017, shall be paid in two parts.
RPOs upto the value of Rs.1 million will be paid till 15 July, and the remaining RPOs will be paid till 14th August 2017.