Shaukat Tarin. File
Pakistan’s Finance Minister (FM) Shaukat Tarin has said agriculture, industries, IT and Service sectors will be incentivised in the next budget to enhance their productivity.
Addressing a webinar titled, “Budget 2020: Balancing Stability and Growth” organised by Institute of Policy Reforms in Islamabad on Sunday, the Finance Minister said the government has a progressive plan for the development of agriculture sector. Enhancing its productivity will also help check the prices of food items.
The Finance Minister said the tax rates will not be increased. He said we have figured out a plan to enhance our revenues. He expressed the confidence that the tax collection will reach 5.8 trillion rupees next year. He said technology will be used to achieve the target without any coercion.
Shaukat Tarin has said government was determined to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth by focusing on development of few targeted sectors of economy including revenues, agriculture, industry and external trade.
The finance minister said the government had already constituted Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to evolve development strategies with the help of experts to ensure sustainable growth of about 12 different sectors.
The minister said Pakistan needed inclusive and sustainable growth as few regional countries were experiencing so, he added, a planned roadmap was being developed which the current and successive governments would follow to have consistency in the planning process. He said it was the first time that government was making such comprehensive roadmap for development of economy since sixties.
The minister said enhancing revenue collection would be the top priority of the government, adding that currently the revenue collection was less than 10 per cent of Gross Domestic Product. He said the measures already adopted by the government boosted revenues beyond Rs 4 trillion benchmark till now, which he termed historic hoping to raise it to around Rs5. 8 trillion during the next fiscal year.
Secondly, the government would enhance funding of Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) to Rs 900 billion and this time projects would be launched with Public Private Partnerships to promote growth.
Likewise, he added, agriculture was another prime focus of the government. He lamented that Pakistan was converted from food-exporting to food-importing country, so the government’s focus would be on reversing this trend.
He said there was also need to focus on all agriculture chains, adding that a progressive plan was being put in place with a number of incentives for agriculture reforms. He said the government was also focusing on making industry more efficient to enhance exports manifold.
Meanwhile the Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PCMAEA) Senior Vice Chairman Riaz Ahmed Sunday said that the export sectors should be divided into categories according to the size of the problems being faced and the sector which has more difficulties should be given priority.
In an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Imran Khan, the vice chairman of the association Riaz Ahmed said Prime Minister Imran Khan is making every effort to increase exports, so he is required to play a key role in resolving the long-standing problems of the handloom carpet industry.
He said Pakistan’s handmade carpet products have a unique identity around the world, so manufacturers and exporters who have been working for decades are emotionally attached to it despite the unfavorable conditions. Our carpet exporters are taking all steps to compete with their competitors especially with their arch rival India despite this fact that they are having fewer resources as compared to their rivals.
“We appeal to Prime Minister Imran Khan to listen to our concerns so that this industry can be revived,” he said.
He said the government is spending billions of rupees to prevent urbanization through the development of agriculture and livestock. The handloom carpet industry can also provide employment to people in rural areas at their doorsteps.
“We desperately need the patronage of the government to attract those who are out of the industry and new skilled workers by giving them attractive incentives,” he concluded.
Shaukat Tarin said earlier that the country witnessed a strong V-Shaped growth despite being in a tough International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.
In a tweet here the minister said that IMF programme was necessitated by unsustainable current account deficit and falling foreign currency reserves, and a vicious COVID-19. He expressed gratitude for Prime Minister, Imran Khan and his team for achieving this growth.