ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Tuesday said that target for GDP growth for fiscal 2017-18 has been set at 6 percent, adding that the current GDP growth is a t 10-year high.
Dar addressed a session of the National Assembly (NA) today and concluded the discussion on the federal budget that was presented last month.
He said that the six percent growth target set for the next fiscal year is realistic and achievable.
Addressing budget debate in the national assembly, Dar said that economic growth for the upcoming fiscal year is projected at 6 percent.
Winding up discussion on Budget 2017-18 in the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon, he said net debt to GDP has decreased from 60.23 percent to 59.3 percent. He said Rs90 billion have been allocated in the next budget for the rehabilitation of Temporary Displaced Persons of FATA and security purposes.
He said the government is also taking measures to increase country’s exports, which include a subsidy of Rs22 billion.
The Minister said 75 recommendations of the Senate have been accepted totally, principally or partially out of total 276 recommendations, while 147 suggestions have been forward to the planning division with favorable remarks.
He said agri loan for small farmers has been increased from 50,000 rupees to 75,000 rupees for a single crop. He said sales tax on the import of the machinery of small peter engines has been reduced from 20 percent to three percent. He said the concession announced in the budget for the services sector is being enhanced to IT enabled services.
The Minister said double sales tax on Islamic banking products is being abolished. He said the minimum wages for labourers are being set as 15,400 rupees per month. He said customs duty on the import of magnet for DC fans has been withdrawn.
Ishaq Dar said a special package is being prepared for the entertainment industry and revival of drama and film industry of Pakistan.
He said Prime Minister should take Parliament into confidence over Pakistan’s future foreign policy regarding Gulf countries and 35-member Islamic Military Alliance.
“The road to prosperity will continue,” said the finance minister.
Per capita income and quality of life will also improve, Dar added.
The Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government on May 26 had presented its fifth budget before general elections in 2018, earmarking a total of Rs 4,757 billion in expenditures for the next fiscal year.
Dar had informed that inflation will be kept under 6% and budget deficit is projected at 4.1 percent. A 10 percent increase in pensions and salaries of government employees was also announced.
“Tax to GDP ratio, which was 10.1 percent in fiscal year 2012-13, is likely to increase to 13.2 percent this year,” Dar had said, adding the government was targeting tax to GDP ratio of 13.7 percent in the year 2017-18.
He rejected perception of immense increase in foreign debts and said that at last 147 budget recommendations have been forwarded to planning division.
He said that budget deficit is to be cut to four percent from the previous eight percent. He let it out that the ministry was working towards ninth financial award which would soon be finalised.
He pointed out that the government is the past followed the practice of rubbishing the recommendations filed by parliamentary parties unlike the incumbent government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The government has reserved Rs 90 billion worth of funds for the development of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Dar said adding that Information Technology (IT) companies have been given privileges this fiscal year.
A dedicated package of Rs 180 billion has been reserved for exporters while the government is to provide a subsidy worth Rs 22 billion to meet energy demands of the industrial sector.
Dar further said that small-scale farmers would now be able to avail Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000 worth of loans per head while Rs 120 billion have been reserved for income support programme.