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Print Print 2022-07-26

Economy: Miftah stays optimistic

  • Finance minister says issue of price-hike will be controlled in next few months
Published July 26, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail Monday said that the economy will be put on development trajectory and the issue of price-hike will be controlled in next few months.

In an exclusive interview with state-run Radio Pakistan, the Finance Minister was confident that the economic targets set for the current fiscal year will be achieved as a result of better decision-making by the government.

When asked about the rupee depreciation, the Finance Minister expressed confidence that the pressure on local currency will reduce next week.

Citing the reason behind it, he said we have succeeded in reducing imports.

Pakistan currently stands in a position where its new imports are less than exports and remittances. He recalled there were imports of $80 billion and exports of $31 billion during the last fiscal year.

The Finance Minister, however, said increasing exports could be challenging in view of looming recession in the West. “We have to put in more efforts to bolster our exports.”

He said no loadshedding is being carried on the industrial feeders to support this important sector of the economy.

Pressure will ease as imports have gone down: Miftah Ismail

The Finance Minister rejected the impression created by some quarters that the country’s remittances, exports and tax collection witnessed decrease in recent months.

He pointed out there had been record remittances in May whilst the FBR also achieved its targets in the period between April and June this year.

Miftah Ismail said we have set target of enhancing the revenue by 35% during the current fiscal year. He said that the FBR will collect Rs7,500 billion while Rs800 billion will be collected as a levy.

Ismail said the government is supporting the productive sectors of the economy including the agriculture, industries and information technology to put the economy in the right direction. He said tax on seeds has been abolished whilst tax on IT export proceeds has been reduced from 1% to 0.25%.

Responding to a question, Miftah Ismail said Pakistan is expected to receive the next tranche of the IMF by the end of next month after the IMF’s board meeting on 24th August.

He said $4-5 billion are also expected from the friendly countries. He said one friendly country is ready for immediate investment in the country.

The federal cabinet has approved a law to pave the way for this investment. Matters pertaining to the deferred payments of oil and gas are also likely to be finalized with the friendly countries in a week’s time.

Replying to another question, the Finance Minister said a lot is being done to bring improvement in the power sector. He regretted that the previous government neither made any investment to improve the electricity transmission system nor completed the power generation plants timely.

He said the PTI government also did not sign any long term fuel agreement and resultantly we have to operationalise those power plants which operate on expensive furnace oil.

He said we will support the farmers and the poor consumers to convert to solar in order to save them from electricity bills.

When asked about the problems faced by the common man due to price hike, the Finance Minister said under Sasta Petrol and Sasta Diesel scheme, relief assistance of Rs2,000 is being given to deserving families. Cash assistance is also being provided to deserving families under Benazir Income Support Program. He said essential commodities are being provided at subsidized rates to the consumers through the Utility Stores.

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