Pak­istan to take steps to curb in­fla­tion

The Gulf Today - Business - - REGION -

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.

Agence France-presse

A veg­etable mar­ket in Is­lam­abad.

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