Progressive budgetary measures taken to reduce deficits, ensure sovereignty: Miftah

No intention to impose whole of petroleum levy: Miftah

ISLAMABAD, Jun 24 (APP): Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Miftah Ismail here on Monday highlighted various progressive budgetary measures, aimed at overcoming huge deficits, putting economy on growth path with an objective to ensure the country’s sovereignty, which was put on stake by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government.

Winding up the budget debate in the National Assembly, the minister said that most of the recommendations proposed by Senate and National Assembly Members were incorporated in the finance bill.

Criticizing the PTI government for damaging the economy, the minister said that fiscal year 2021-22 would be remembered as the worst year as the country deviated from all its set targets, accumulating huge deficits of up to Rs 5.31 trillion, which is around 9.85 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

However, by taking several decisions, the incumbent government had saved the country from bankruptcy.

“This country is not going towards default but was going towards progress now,” he remarked.

He said, many budgetary measures were taken to tax the rich and provide relief to the poor.

He said, the budget was farmer-friendly as many initiatives were taken to promote agriculture sector to make the country self-sufficient in edible oil, wheat and other crop production.

He said despite resources constraints, growing internal and external challenges on economic fronts, government in its budget 2022-23 had proposed several initiatives to provide maximum relief to common man, besides taking steps for the uplift of agriculture sector, industrial development and enhancing revenue collection to reduce reliance on borrowing to meet expenses.

The government has paid special attention for the development of agriculture sector and withdraw sales tax on different agriculture inputs including seed cotton, cotton cake to enhance output of all major and minor crops, he added.

The minister said that farms’ friendly measures announced by the government in budget for the uplift of agriculture sector would have some short and long term impact enabling the country to achieve self-sufficiency in production of edible oil, wheat and other crops.

Miftah Ismail said that due inefficiencies and incompatibilities of last government during its four years, the country was eventually reached to verge of default as it pushed the country in historic highest debt trap, besides providing unfunded subsidies over Rs 120 billion that was higher than the total operational expanses of civilian government.

In such situation, he said the coalition partners decided to come forward and decided to sacrifice their political capital and party image on the supreme national interest to protect and safeguard the state from looming economic threats.

The incumbent government took hard and unpopular decision and enhance petroleum prices, besides rationalizing electricity and gas tariff to safe the country form default and fulfilling the international commitments and agreements.

The minister said that government was also taking steps to control rising current deficit, which he said was expected to reach to $14 billion by the end of current fiscal year, adding that negotiations with IMF was in progress and soon it would be culminated on a positive note.

Miftah Ismail apprised the House that progressive taxation measures were introduced by promoting direct taxation and taxing the rich and big companies to reduce deficit and reliance on borrowing to meet the expenditures adding that revenue targets for the forthcoming fiscal year is set at Rs 7.4 trillion.

He said that the non-tax revenues were expected to reach Rs 1,935 billion adding that the provincial governments would be provided Rs 472 billion.

He further informed that there were over 9 million retails shops and government was intended to bring over 2.5 million retailers under tax net and with introduction of a simple method of tax as their income tax would be included in electricity bills.

Meanwhile, he said that there were over 30,000 big gold shops, adding that a minimum number of only 400 shops were registered with revenue collection system, adding that government has proposed 3% turnover tax on shops comprising on 300 feet.

In order to reduce the primary deficit, the government has proposed some short term tax measures and proposed 1% super tax for income exceeding Rs150 million, 2% upto Rs200 million, 3% tax for upto Rs250 million and 4% for those earning Rs300 million, adding that this tax would be applicable for one year.

Besides, he said that about 13 sectors were also identified and companies earning Rs300 million would have to pay 10% super tax and these companies are related to cement manufacturing, steel, banking sector, LNG terminals, beverages and others.

Finance Minister said that special incentives were introduced for the development of IT sector and government had withdrawn holding tax as last government imposed tax on IT companies that impeded growth of IT sector in the country.

Meanwhile, the minister said that special measures were also introduced for overseas Pakistanis and families of martyrs on the purchase of house or plots and exempted from the taxes to provide them relief and facilitation.

To provide relief to lower income segments of the society, the government has also introduced special relief measures, he said adding that so far 4 million people have sent their messages for registration of this program and over one million people would start getting grant by the next month.

The government with its utility stores network would also providing essential commodities including flour, sugar, ghee and others on controlled rates to facilitate them.

The minister also lauded the inputs of all members of standing committees, members of both houses for their valuable inputs, adding that would incorporated for better fiscal planing and development management.