Pakistan to take steps to curb inflation
ISLAMABAD: The consumer price index (CPI) based inflation has increased significantly in the last five months, and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaf (Pti)-led government is about to unveil another finance bill on January 23 amidst fears of imposition of new taxes on the basic food basket.
The ‘exponential’ increase in prices of basic kitchen items up to 20 per cent has pulled severe consequences for the general public.
In the current scenario, rising inflation amidst lower-than-before economic growth means a fall in income for most categories of households.
Besides, the rupee depreciation against the US dollar is at a fiveyear high as compared to a 20-year average annual depreciation of 3 per cent.
Meanwhile, the government has been terming the menace of twin deficits - the fiscal and current account deficits (seven and six percentage of GDP respectively), the main cause of inflation in the country.
Finance Minister Asad Umar has some ambitious plans in the upcoming ‘mini-budget’ as he said that people do not need to worry, “there will be no tax bomb”, the budget is focused to fecilitate investments and businesses in Pakistan.
“We are ready to address the opposition’s criticism,” he stated confidently.
On the other hand, the opposition leaders have been denouncing the PTI over its ineffective policies to resolve core issues of the general public including economy.
They have termed the economic crisis “miserable failure of the government” due to incompetency and incapability.
“Besides lies, they have nothing else to say. The government has broken record of taking debts,” the opposition leaders lamented. Asad Umar on Saturday announced that the government is to present the mini-budget on January 23.
The mini-budget was set to be presented on January 21 but was delayed as Prime Minister Imran Khan will be travelling, Umar told in an interaction with traders 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 held. Umar stated: “Powers of Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) statutory regulatory orders (SROS) have been withdrawn.”
Last month, in his briefing to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Umar had said the government was mulling over bringing another supplementary budget. He said an increase in taxes had been proposed but the government could consider decreasing taxes in order to boost the economy.
A vegetable market in Islamabad.