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KARACHI: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin Friday said the government will not impose new taxes, however tax exemptions to various sectors would be withdrawn.

Talking to reporters at Pakistan Stock Exchange on the gong ceremony on the occasion of first listing on PSX’s Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) Board, Tarin rejecting all rumours said Pak rupee will improve its value soon.

He said the real effective exchange rate should be between Rs 165-167. “Our currency is under value by Rs 10,” he said and warned that ‘speculators’ must avoid speculations. He said these ‘speculators’ would be losers when the Pak Rupee will gain its value soon.

Tarin said that the government is not imposing any new tax. However, he said that exemptions given to various sectors would be withdrawn to increase revenue. He said all taxes on petrol have been abolished and that all benefits from the reduction in oil prices will be transferred to the people.

He pointed out that Pakistan had got $500 million from IMF after an agreement to withdraw exemptions of Rs 700 billion and to impose new taxes. “After taking office of Finance Minister, I refused to increase taxes”, he said.

Tarin warns 'speculators', says rupee will reverse direction

“We were not ready to impose more taxes on people,” he said, adding that the finance ministry had stood firm on its stance during the talks and eventually convinced the IMF to bring down the revenue target to about Rs 300 billion.

About subsidies to various sectors, he said that the government provided subsidised gas to fertilizer manufacturing companies as well as did not impose any tax. The combined subsidy provided to the fertiliser industry was around Rs 150 billion, he said. “Is this reaching our farmers?” he asked.

He said that the government will use the Ehsaas database to provide direct subsidy to farmers instead. Tarin said that inflation is a major problem that had severely hit the lower middle class. He said according to the World Bank, poverty in the country has decreased by 1.0 percent.

Tarin said that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the country. “We should pay attention to the growth of SMEs that is the second largest job providing sectors after agriculture. SMEs are the backbone of the economy. There are 400,000-500,000 SMEs in Pakistan,” he added. He also emphasized developing the agriculture sector.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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