ISLAMABAD, Jun 25 (APP): Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin on Friday said that provision of relief to low-income segments and empowering industry through multiple incentives was the major focus of the federal budget for the next fiscal year (2021-22).
Winding up the debate on the budget at the National Assembly, the minister said that the measures were aimed at achieving inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
“We want inclusive, long-term, sustainable and indiscriminate economic growth” the minister said while highlighting that the government was committed to provide home to six million people, ensure basic skills, healthcare to the people through the health card under the bottom up approach, instead of waiting for the trickle-down effect.
The minister said the government had prioritized some sectors of economy including increasing exports and promoting agriculture, information technology and construction sectors. These sectors, the minister maintained, would help promote economic growth.
Talking about the tax policies, the minister said the government had already introduced reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to change the system through automation of the institution and ensure transparency for achieving the annual revenue target.
He said that the government has decided to introduce the ‘Universal Self-Assessment’ for engaging a third party approach to conduct the audit of 15 million potential taxpayers.
He said the government has collected the information of these people from their electricity and other utility bills.
He said that there would be no harassment for new tax filers but some measure would be taken by the government and only third parties would have mandate to negotiate with them to settle the tax issues.
Minister said the government collected Rs 4.1 trillion revenues in the first 11 months and hoped that by the end of current fiscal year (2020-21), the revenue collection would increase up to 4.7 trillion.
“We have set Rs 5.8 trillion revenue target for the coming year 2021-22” he said.
The government has provided tax incentives in budget 2021-22 and has not imposed any new taxes instead provided relief measures to the industrial sector.
He said that in the new auto policy the government announced reduction of tax on the 1000 CC vehicles while it was already reduced for 800 CC vehicles.
He said the government has also exempted the tax on children milk, medicines and medical equipment and the Information Technology (IT) sector to grant relief to the people.
He said the government has also exempted the taxes on mobiles and poultry industry including the poultry feed ingredients.
“We have also provided tax relief to the construction industry during the COVID- 19 and also reduced the tax from 35 to 20 percent for them to benefit around 40 allied industries that would help increase employment in the country” he said.
The minister while talking about the challenges faced by the government said, the PML-N government had left $ 28 billion liabilities for the incumbent government including $20 billion of Current Account Deficit and $8 billion start term loans.
He said, with the prudent policies the government achieved the Current Account surplus during the current fiscal year by removing all liabilities.
He said the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) government had taken bold decisions to provide relief to the industrial sector for achieving the growth of 4 percent in this year.
He said the government had provided relief to the Agriculture sector, which resulted in growth and acquired four bomber crops in this year.
Taking part in the NA Budget session, the Finance Minister said that the agriculture sector is the backbone of the rural economy ,where 63 percent of Pakistanis are living and there is a huge need to provide relief measures for the agriculture sector to create more employment opportunities and growth in the rural economy.
He said that the government has allocated additional Rs 25 billion for the growth of the agriculture sector.
The government has also provided more relief to agri-industry and supports the people for development of modern agri-industrial base to enhance the export in the sector.
He said the government has also decided to grant Rs 300,000 loans to each farmer annually in both cropping seasons.
The Finance Minister said that the housing sector was a major focus of the government and “we are providing easy loans to the people on lower interest rates for growth in the housing sector.
He informed that the government has also awarded the relocation of Chinese industry and said that “we are negotiating with Chinese government in this regard to achieve our share in expected 85000 new jobs from this opportunity.
The game changer China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) maga project is also a major focus of the government, he said adding that Special Economic Zones related the CPEC would play the role of catalyst for the modernization of the industrial sector of the country.
He said the government has also decided to boost the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Rs 10 billion loans would be provided to SMEs with 9 percent interest.
He said that Information Technology (IT) sectors have achieved huge growth and the government has also decided to provide tax incentives to the industry after the negotiation with different stakeholders.
He expected up to $ 8 billion export in the coming year in case the IT sector grows 50 percent a year in the country.
Shaukat Tarin said the government also committed to reduce the Circular Debt through minimizing the line losses and recovery of utility bills in next two years.
He said the government has also increased the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) by 40 percent to Rs 900 billion for the coming Budget 2021-22 as compared to the previous FY 2020-21.
Announcing the relief measure in the coming Budget 2021-22, he said that through ‘Ehsaas Program’, Rs 260 billion was announced for providing relief to the low income people including widows, orphans and scholarship for the student.
He said that through this program health card and skills development programs are also initiated for capacity building to get opportunities of employment.
He said the government is also committed to providing socio- economic justice to the people to attain the dream of the ‘Madina State’.