Pak­istan mini-bud­get to be pre­sented on Jan 23, says Asad Umar

Gulf Times Business - - BUSINESS -

Pak­istan’s Fi­nance Min­is­ter Asad Umar yes­ter­day an­nounced that the gov­ern­ment will present the minibud­get on Jan­uary 23.

The mini-bud­get was ini­tially set to be pre­sented on Jan­uary 21 but was de­layed as Prime Min­is­ter Im­ran Khan will be trav­el­ling, Umar said dur­ing a meet­ing with in­dus­tri­al­ists at Karachi Cham­ber of Com­merce.

“Tax anom­alies will be re­moved in the mini-bud­get,” the fi­nance min­is­ter said. “Any changes in tax pol­icy will be made af­ter ap­proval from the Par­lia­ment,” he added.

Umar fur­ther said, “Pow­ers of Fed­eral Board of Rev­enue’s (FBR) statu­tory reg­u­la­tory orders (SROs) have been with­drawn.”

Dur­ing the meet­ing, in­dus­tri­al­ists ex­pressed reser­va­tions over pow­ers given to low cadre FBR of­fi­cers.

Speak­ing to the me­dia af­ter his meet­ing, Umar said, “In the 21st Cen­tury, pri­vate sec­tor runs the econ­omy, thus, we have to pri­ori­tise our de­ci­sions.”

“Till we don’t cre­ate a favourable en­vi­ron­ment for pri­vate in­vestors, they will not in­vest af­ter a cer­tain limit no mat­ter how pa­tri­otic they are,” he added.

The fi­nance min­is­ter con­tin­ued, “Pak­istan Tehreek-e-In­saf (PTI) is the only po­lit­i­cal party which men­tions ease of do­ing busi­ness in its man­i­festo.

Ev­ery month a meet­ing is sum­moned and chaired by Prime Min­is­ter Im­ran Khan to dis­cuss ease of do­ing busi­ness.”

“Sav­ings and in­vest­ment are at their low­est in the coun­try. This is why in the mini-bud­get we will take mea­sures to lower con­sump­tion and in­crease in­vest­ment,” he stated. “The fi­nance bill to be tabled on Jan­uary 23 will high­light ben­e­fits of in­vest­ment and ease of do­ing busi­ness.”

Last month, in his brief­ing to the Se­nate Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Fi­nance, Umar had said the gov­ern­ment was mulling over bring­ing an­other sup­ple­men­tary bud­get.

Tax anom­alies will be re­moved in the mini-bud­get and any changes in tax pol­icy will be made af­ter ap­proval from the Par­lia­ment, the fi­nance min­is­ter said

This would be the sec­ond such bud­get in­tro­duced by the Pak­istan Tehreek-e-In­saf (PTI) gov­ern­ment since it was voted into power in the July 28 gen­eral elec­tion.

The fi­nance min­is­ter had pre­sented Fi­nance Sup­ple­men­tary (Amend­ment) Bill 2018 in the Na­tional Assem­bly in Sep­tem­ber, say­ing that “dif­fi­cult times called for dif­fi­cult mea­sures”. The mini-bud­get, as it was called, cut planned de­vel­op­ment spend­ing and in­creased taxes for higher earn­ers.

The key pro­pos­als in the minibud­get in­cluded with­drawal of the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to in­crease petroleum de­vel­op­ment levy; Rs5bn re­lief to the ex­port in­dus­try; in­crease in min­i­mum pen­sion to Rs10,000; in­crease in duty on ex­pen­sive mo­bile phones; duty on 1800cc and above ve­hi­cles at 20%; in­crease in WHT on bank­ing trans­ac­tions for non-fil­ers to 0.6%; and in­tro­duc­tion of health cards, among oth­ers.

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