Finance minister Shaukat Tarin on Saturday said the federal budget for the fiscal year 2021-2022 focuses on sustainable economic growth through incentives for various sectors including agriculture, industry and housing.
Addressing a post-budget media conference in Islamabad, the finance minister said the main emphasis of the budget is to protect the vulnerable segments of society.
He said four million households will be accessed through the Ehsaas Survey and they will be provided with interest-free business and farming loans. Tarin further said that such households will also be provided with health cards, with technical training imparted to one member of the household.
Referring to the budget, the finance minister said incentives have been given to uplift the agriculture and industries sectors to increase employability and clarified that incentives to industries are not textile specific, but have also been extended to other sectors.
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Tarin added that taxes have been abolished to facilitate the investment in the Special Economic Zones being set up under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
Regarding the IT sector, he said taxes have been rationalised in order to exploit the full potential of the sector and added that the government wants to substantially enhance the sector’s exports in the coming year.
For local industries, Tarin said duties have been abolished on almost all the raw materials, which will aid in strengthening local industries and reduce Pakistan’s imports.
Read: Budget sets sight on growth
Tarin also expressed confidence that the price of motor vehicles up to 850cc horsepower will reduce following the tax relief given to the segment and said the incentives given to the SMEs will also help achieve higher growth in the industry.
Informing the media that Prime Minister Imran Khan has given special emphasis to the housing sector, he said it will help allied construction industries.
Talking in regards to the power sector, the finance minister said that subsidies have been increased and efficiency will be brought to the sector. He said DISCOs will be operated through independent boards and will be privatised. He also said line losses will be reduced and recoveries will be enhanced.
Expressing confidence at the revenue target set by the government, Tarin maintained that the tax to GDP ratio has to be enhanced to 20pc in a period of seven to eight years. He said the focus is to expand the tax net instead of imposing additional taxes on the masses.
About PSDP, the finance minister said it has been enhanced ‘significantly’ to take the country towards sustainable growth.
Answering a question, the finance minister clarified that the federal cabinet did not approve the proposal to enhance charges of SMS, mobile phone calls and internet usage.
Tarin on Friday announced a Rs8.5 trillion tax-loaded budget that he plans to finance by taking Rs4 trillion new debt while also making an attempt to strike a balance between the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) demands and economic growth.
Tarin presented his first and the PTI government’s fourth budget amid rumpus by the opposition parties in the National Assembly, constantly chanting anti-government slogans.