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ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said on Tuesday that the government would unveil a progressive fiscal consolidative budget designed to reduce the fiscal deficit below five percent without affecting the growth much.

Addressing a business conference here on Tuesday, the finance minister said that the government has prepared a very progressive budget which would be visible to everyone in a couple of days. We are going to do fiscal consolidation to bring the budget deficit below five percent.

He further stated the GDP growth would be positive either four percent, five percent or six percent for the next fiscal year and will also control inflation.

The finance minister also underlined the importance of reforming the power sector and stated unless reforms with good management are brought about, it would be disastrous for the economy.

Addressing a business conference here on Tuesday, he said that the government has provided a subsidy of Rs1,100 billion in the energy sector this year besides, Rs500 billion have gone into circular debt.

Additionally, he said that the gas sector circular debt has increased to Rs1,500 billion.

He said that a subsidy of Rs81 billion was provided to the petroleum sector.

He said that the country was exporting wheat and sugar in 2017-18 and now sugar and wheat are being imported.

He said when the government came to power, Pakistan was the third country with the highest inflation and more than 20 million people had gone below poverty line as every year 1.8 to two million people enter the labour market.

He said that the government would be required to take we will take more for a difficult decision, under which petrol will be a little more expensive.

He further stated that if the IMF agreement was to be followed, the price of petrol would have been Rs300.

The minister said that the country is going through a difficult time. When the present government assumed office, Pakistan was on third place in inflation.

In the last four years, 20 million people have gone below the poverty line. When we came into government, Rs5,600 billion which was equal to the budget deficit of three and a half years of their government from 2013-2018.

The finance minister said that the primary deficit was agreed at Rs25 billion but the previous government left it at Rs1,300 billion, not only this, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has taken more than 20,000 billion during its tenure.

Next year we have to repay the debt of $21 billion and the current account deficit would be $12 billion. We need $41 billion over the next 12 months and stated he was very confident that this amount would be achieved as the country reengaged with the IMF and took a tough decision as it was not easy for a prime minister to increase Rs30 per litre twice in a week.

He said that the DLTL summary was pending in the ECC for the last eight months but the previous government did not approve it.

We re-engaged with Saudi Arabia, China, and the UAE and try to get oil and LNG on deferred payment, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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