- He said that innovative substitutes would be introduced to achieve the revenue targets, by providing different incentives and facilities, besides broadening the tax base.
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin Sunday said that GDP growth at 3.94 percent during the current fiscal year (2020-21) was calculated in a transparent manner, predicting that based on the current trend the economy would grow by 5 percent in 2021-22 and 6 percent during 2022-23.
Addressing a virtual press briefing, the minister said that it was due to the prudent policies of the incumbent government that this growth was achieved despite tough International Monetary Fund (IMF) adding that the focus of government had been on housing, agriculture and export sector that delivered these results.
He said that government had identified 12 sectors and formulated short, medium and long term strategies to achieve inclusive sustainable economic growth and social prosperity, with special focus on housing, agriculture and promotion of export industry were on prime focus.
He said that development of these sector would not only bring the sustainability in nation economy, but would help in achieving sustainable economic growth for the welfare of common man in the country.
The COVID-19 pandemic had effected the global economies and it also put negative impact on national economy, he said adding that the prudent polices of Prime Minister Imran Khan helped in steering out the economy from the crisis in a fair manner and put it on path of sustainable economic development.
In order to fulfill the fiscal requirements, the government had to initiate a programme with IMF and this time the fund introduced tough conditions like increase in tariff, exchange rate and interest rates that also influenced the national economy.
The minister said that a well thought-out federal budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 would be presented in the start of next month, adding that the budget envisages provision of maximum relief to common man in tax and electricity tariff, adding that no more tax burden to be put on those who are already paying tax.
He said that innovative substitutes would be introduced to achieve the revenue targets, by providing different incentives and facilities, besides broadening the tax base.
The minister said rising trend in food commodities was a global phenomenon, adding that strategy was evolved in order to provide maximum relief to common man, particularly saving them from inflationary shocks and taking some short-term steps like operation against hoarders to overcome the issue of artificial shortage of food essential food commodities.
In long term, the farmers would be facilitated to establish storage facilities for strengthening the domestic strategic reserves in order to keep the supply of food commodities at smooth level and address the issue of hording and over profiteering, he remarked.
Shaukat Tarin informed that second focus of the government was on economic growth that would help enhance revenues create employment opportunities, adding that reliance on trickle down effects to extend the gains of economic growth would be minimized according the vision of Prime Minister.
He said that government was taking various steps in order to provide livelihood opportunities to masses, provision of interest free loans to farmers, adding that it was also paying special attention on productivity sector for enhancing the competitiveness of local industry to promote exports and reduce imports.
The minister said that increase in exports and reduction in imports would also help in producing import substitutes that would reduce the pressure on domestic foreign exchange reserves, besides reducing the reliance on foreign debts and assistance.
The exports had witnessed increasing trend during the period under review which needed to be further increased, adding that remittances witnessed sharp increase, which was result of trust and love of overseas Pakistanis on Prime Minister Imran Khan.
He further informed that government was taking steps for the development of housing sector for ensuring the fulfillment of housing needs in the country, besides taking measures to enhance revenue collection to reduce fiscal deficit and ensure credit availability for private sector. The government was working on the improvement of financial sector to encourage savings and to use the available resources on social sector development.
He said that planning exercise was going on for achieving an inclusive and sustainable growth to benefit under privileged and middle class for ensuring equal distribution of economic gains to all segments of society.
Replaying to a question, Finance Minister said that Pakistan Bureau of Statistics was revamped in order to make it an independent institution to get proper statistics for better policy interventions, adding that it was not functioning under the finance ministry.
To another question, the minister said that all the conditions of Financial Action Task Force were met and expressed his optimism about the positive response from the forum to take the country out of grey list. He said that India was using its influence to put pressure on Pakistan, adding that government was also working to tackle with it.
About, circular debt and subsidy, Tarin said that targeted subsidy would be provided to deserving segments of the society, saying there were 35 million household connection of electricity and out of the total 29 million were provided subsidy that was not justifiable.