Budget 2013-2014: Sales tax bumped up by a percentage point

Published: June 12, 2013

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar (R) presents the annual budget at the National Assembly as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (L) reads a copy of the budget in Islamabad on June 12, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar presented the federal budget for the year 2013-2014 in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Express News reported.

The first litmus test of the newly sworn-in government began when Dar presented a Rs3.5 trillion federal budget in a bid to revive the country’s ailing economy. Designed to target an estimated growth rate of 4.4% over the next fiscal year, the budget would seek to reduce non-development expenditures and fix a burgeoning energy crisis that has been costing the country 2% of gross domestic product annually.

Finance minister Ishaq Dar told the national assembly that the government would clear $5 billion in circular debt from the energy sector within the next 60 days.

“This will greatly help minimise power cuts in the country,” Dar said, giving no details on how the government would find the money to pay the bills.

Years of mismanagement, under-investment and corruption cause blackouts of up to 20 hours a day in blistering summer heat, when temperatures reach up to 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit).

Pakistan is still paying off a $11.3 billion International Monetary Fund loan from 2008.

A 10% increase in defence spending was also announced, despite the country facing a crippling budget deficit of 8.8 percent.

The new budget earmarked Rs627 billion ($6.3 billion) for defence, a 10 per cent increase compared to Rs570 billion in the outgoing year, ending June 30.

Business was also a key focus for the new government and announced a three year gradual reduction in the corporate tax rate which will be reduced by 1% over the next year and by 4% more in the subsequent years.

The full budget speech can be found here.

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                                                                   END OF LIVE UPDATES

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6:52pm

We have inherited a weak economy. Its recovery is our topmost priority, says Dar.

Our government won’t run away from obstacles.

We have embarked on a way that is filled with challenges but this is the only way we can assure prosperity and progress in the country, says Dar.

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6:50pm

Pension will see an increase of 10%, says Dar.

Minimum pension amount has been increased from Rs3000 to Rs5000.

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6:49pm

Restrictions will be placed on the purchase of new cars.

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6:47pm

The new government will have less than 40 ministries, says Dar.

No vehicle can be imported without paying the duty tax.

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6:44pm

All organisations and autonomous bodies have been asked to freeze secret funds.

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6:41pm

We promise transparency to the people, says Dar.

People Work Programme 2 is being abolished.

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6:36pm

Prime Minister Youth Skills Development Program will be launched. Whoever is younger than 25 years will be provided with 6-month vocational training. All expenses will be covered by the federal government, says Dar.

Masters and PhD student’s fees will also be paid by the federal government.

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6:35pm

Laptops will be given to any student who is getting higher education from any HEC associated university, says Dar.

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6:33pm

A scheme will be launched to provide employment training opportunities for the youth in government offices, says Dar.

Whoever is younger than 25 years old and has completed 16 years of education will be eligible for the one year training program. Rs10,000 will be paid monthly to the enrolled candidates.

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6:32pm

100% sales and excise duty has been abolished for Hybrid vehicles upto 1,200cc.

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6:28pm

The current budget will be encourage the exploration of alternate energy sources. Machinery that makes use of wind and solar energy will be made easily available.

Energy savers will be exempted from customs duty.

Access to clean water is the basic right of every citizen. To mitigate the prevalence of water-borne diseases, water filtration system will have its customs duty reduced, says Dar.

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6:24pm

Necessary amendments are being made to address the ambiguity surrounding sales tax and federation excise.

Sales tax has been increased from 16% to 17%.
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6:19pm

0.5% tax will be levied on movable property in the government’s income support programme and I will be the first one to make the contribution, says Dar.

Aashiana housing scheme will be launched.

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6:18pm

Rs 100,000 to Rs 2,000,000 loans will be made available to small businesses.

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6:13pm

Adjustable taxes will be levied on small businesses.
Withholding tax will be levied on traders’ registrations.

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6:10pm

An adjustable withholding tax has been introduced for holding wedding functions in hotels, clubs etc.

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6:05pm

Special economic zones, with tax exemptions will be launched.

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6:04pm

Government is chalking out a fool-proof tax recovery system.

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6:02pm

10% increase in pension has been approved by the federal cabinet.

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5:58pm

Withholding tax will be imposed on foreign soap operas and movies, says Dar.

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5:56pm

The government plans to increase credit facilities for the private sector by reducing its own borrowings.

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5:54pm

Rs21 billion has been allocated for the health sector.

The federal government will provide assistance to the four provinces in their task of combating prevalent illnesses like measles, says Dar.

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5:50pm

Rs2 billion relief package will be granted during the holy month of Ramazan.

Rs18 billion fund has been allocated for HEC.

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5:49pm

We are working on connecting Gwadar port to Afghanistan and China, says Dar.

The allocated funds for the federal ministers will be abolished.

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5:46pm

Pakistan Railways has become an organization which is sustaining considerable losses.

Through focused leadership and a renewed promise, we will work on improving the infrastructure and operations of Pakistan Railways, says Dar.

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5:44pm

Tax exemption on VVIP cars will be abolished.

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5:39pm

Business loans will be granted 8% mark-up from Rs10 million to Rs20 million.

Rs225 billion have been allocated for investment in the energy sector.

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5:38pm

We need to explore new sources of water supply. Our government is allocating Rs59billion for the purpose, says Dar.

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5:35pm

Income support fund will be increased by 20% from Rs1,000 to Rs1,200, says Dar.

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5:33pm

Benazir Income support funds will continue, says Dar.

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5:31pm

Development funds will be increased by 50% to Rs540 billion, says Dar.

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5:30pm

We will reassess the system of subsidies so that funds could be diverted to the poor, says Dar.

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5:28pm

Low budget Nandi Pur project will be completed in 18 months, says Dar.

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5:26pm

We will take legal action against whoever is responsible for the misuse of country’s resources, says Dar.

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5:24pm

In a historical move, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has decided to resolve the circular debt situation within 60 days, says Dar.

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5:21pm

We will keep a steady watch on the prices, says Ishaq Dar.

New budget schemes will be introduced.

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5:19pm

Our aim is to reduce fiscal deficit rate, says Dar.

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5:18pm

We will have to bring a revolution in the shattered infrastructure of the country, says Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

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5:17pm

The previous government left the economy in tatters. The value of dollar rose from Rs60 to Rs100. The government borrowed heavily from IMF, says Dar.

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5:12pm

We want to create an economy that doesn’t depend on other countries, says Dar.

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5:11pm

The budget is based on our party’s manifesto, says Dar.

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5:05pm

Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has started to announce the provisions of the federal budget.

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5:00pm

The Federal Cabinet has approved the 2013-2014 budget.

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Reader Comments (65)

  • Arshad
    Jun 12, 2013 - 5:19PM

    The budget is based on our party’s manifesto, says Dar
    it should be public oriented………. not PMLN oriented.

    Recommend

  • Nadir
    Jun 12, 2013 - 5:44PM

    The whole budget is corrupt, except for the defence budget which is disciplined.

    Recommend

  • mashwani
    Jun 12, 2013 - 5:44PM

    @Arshad:

    Agreed and hoping so.

    Recommend

  • MAK
    Jun 12, 2013 - 5:48PM

    non-developmental expenses: means teachers, staff etc. salaries will be affected. :(

    Recommend

  • roadkashehzada
    Jun 12, 2013 - 5:48PM

    @Arshad:
    criticism for the sake of criticism.
    if its not based on party’s manifesto, u ll say PMLN has backtracked on its promises

    Recommend

  • Frantic
    Jun 12, 2013 - 5:53PM

    The previous government left the economy in tatters. The value of dollar rose from Rs60 to Rs100. The government borrowed heavily from IMF, says Dar.

    Recommend

  • Arshad
    Jun 12, 2013 - 5:54PM

    Pakistan Railways has become an organization which is sustaining considerable losses, says Dar.

    Railway can be turned into 180 degrees change, into a highly profitable public entity within two years. Just need a business acumen and more than that a PATRIOTIC WILL.

    Recommend

  • Mohammad
    Jun 12, 2013 - 5:56PM

    Overseas Pakistanis looking at you Mr. Dar, let’s see what you give us.

    Recommend

  • Jat
    Jun 12, 2013 - 6:20PM

    The only thing that will count is how much the government expenditure, especially the defense budget has been reduced, and correspondingly what is the increase in allocation for education, health and infrastructure.

    Recommend

  • Emjay
    Jun 12, 2013 - 6:22PM

    Even though I rooted for PTI for different reasons and a fundamental change in the country, I do have faith in PML-N as far as getting the economy back on track economy is concerned. We need to give them the time and space required to do so.

    Recommend

  • Breaking Bad
    Jun 12, 2013 - 6:22PM

    “5:19pm Our aim is to reduce fiscal deficit rate, says Dar”. Smart cookie not making any false promises. Media is tough these days.Recommend

  • Kaleem
    Jun 12, 2013 - 6:27PM

    Very low increase in pension, senior citizens have no securities other than the government :(

    Recommend

  • Jun 12, 2013 - 6:36PM

    increase in salex tax means you have make all other benefits of budget null.

    Recommend

  • roadkashehzada
    Jun 12, 2013 - 6:39PM

    @MAK:
    teachers salaries are accounted for in provincial budget.

    Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    Jun 12, 2013 - 6:44PM

    I hope that Budget 2013-14 will give incentive to the poor and middle class people of Pakistan.

    Before giving my comprehensive comments, I have read the details of the budget in tomorrow’s newspapers.

    Recommend

  • Oliver Kahn
    Jun 12, 2013 - 6:45PM

    @Arshad:
    What kind of reasons you present.
    People have cast votes to PMLN based on their manifesto.

    Recommend

  • roadkashehzada
    Jun 12, 2013 - 7:01PM

    no excise duty on hybrid cars less than 1200cc?? just wondering which car it can be :S not sure if there is hybrid cultus. should have been for at least 1300cc cars ideally 1500cc to bring a minivan in for families

    Recommend

  • v
    Jun 12, 2013 - 7:04PM

    @Nadir: Which is why I think the Armed Forces should be given the power to manage Fiscal and Monetary policy. They are clearly the only people who have the discipline for this exercise.

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Jun 12, 2013 - 7:10PM

    all else is good except laptop scheme seems to be a waste of money. Also what about primary education? i would also like to see a huge literacy campaign throughout the country offering basic literary skills to adults.

    Recommend

  • waqas
    Jun 12, 2013 - 7:14PM

    What about the increase in pays of Govt employees?

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  • frank
    Jun 12, 2013 - 7:15PM

    This budget is going to devastate Pakistan’s middle class. The industrialist buddies of PML-N are laughing all the way to the bank, though!

    Recommend

  • Farooq
    Jun 12, 2013 - 7:30PM

    New jobs oppertunties ?Recommend

  • Ek Tha Kashmiri
    Jun 12, 2013 - 7:31PM

    Thanks for creating more poors!!!

    Recommend

  • Mj
    Jun 12, 2013 - 7:35PM

    Taxes and more taxes. Terrible budget.

    Recommend

  • Lion Again
    Jun 12, 2013 - 7:55PM

    No increase in salaries of government employees it means private companies will also not increase salaries (as per previous trends private companies used to increase salaries after budget).

    Increase in Sales Tax from 16% to 17%. (Every citizen will be suffering because its increase in indirect taxes and shows governments inability to collect direct taxes or maybe government does not want to collect direct taxes from industrialist because they are having friendly relations).

    Restrictions on purchase of vehicles. (Cars are made for rich people only)

    Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Jun 12, 2013 - 8:10PM

    A budget designed to crush the salaried class and protect the industrialists and traders. No increase in salaries is a cruel measure and is designed to keep the wages low for the benefit of N-leagues industrialist friends. This will cause great hurt to ordinary people.

    Recommend

  • Kayla
    Jun 12, 2013 - 8:20PM

    Inqalabi’s are going to cry. Sick of reading inqlabi comments anyways!! Sighhhh!!!

    Recommend

  • confused
    Jun 12, 2013 - 8:30PM

    Increase in sales tax but no mention of agriculture tax?

    Wadera financial system to the core

    Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Jun 12, 2013 - 8:34PM

    A clear mala fide with the common men. The budget seems to target only the rich and elite business class, ignoring the lower middle-class and poor completely. We are going to see higher prices soon due to increased sales tax.

    Recommend

  • riz
    Jun 12, 2013 - 8:40PM

    Good beginning by pmln…..

    Recommend

  • frank
    Jun 12, 2013 - 8:49PM

    @riz:

    Good beginning by pmln…..

    Good joke by riz

    Recommend

  • Jun 12, 2013 - 9:01PM

    PML-N government has presented a good budget focusing on energy, business and development friendly policies. They should also announce pay increase for government employees however. Private companies will also have to follow the suit then. Sales tax should also not be increased.

    Recommend

  • Shaami
    Jun 12, 2013 - 9:12PM

    Higher education have got only 18 Billion Rs while in a country of 180 million we have a health budget of only 21 billion. Higher education is the engine of growth in terms of Innovation and R&D and i am greatly disappointed that Defense budget have been increased without asking anything While Health and Higher education is totally ignored by PMLN.

    Recommend

  • lol
    Jun 12, 2013 - 9:14PM

    @confused:

    Agricultural tax is a provincial subject.

    Recommend

  • Saad
    Jun 12, 2013 - 9:36PM

    What about education? What I see is that no political party lobbied for increase in education budget. Nobody at media outlets demanded for that. Even educated youth on social media is silent. I see no blogs on this. Even ET readers seem indifferent, there have been no comments!
    I wonder what can become of nation which is least interested in education!

    Recommend

  • Shaami
    Jun 12, 2013 - 9:38PM

    Who will end the Non Developmental Expenditure in Pakistan Army??. Who will make sure that with this budget increase Our Army will not spend money on New DHA Housing Schemes?. Who will make sure that Defense budget will not be spent on DHA Cinemas, New Shopping Malls in Cantts and on renovations of Rest Houses , Messes, Sports Clubs and Golf Clubs of Army Officers around Pakistan.??
    Also who will make sure that All Purchases of Defense Equipment will be corruption free and no Officer will took Commission on the purchase of Foreign Military Hardware?

    Recommend

  • I love Nawaz
    Jun 12, 2013 - 9:38PM

    It is good not to increase salaries of corrupt government personnel. They are just eating money and doing nothing. For sure it is good decision. Secondly imposition of restrictions of purchase of cars is also good. Everyone is buying car without thinking about the negative affect on enviornment and roads. There should be more taxes on buying cars so only people who can afford will get cars and it will positively improve the enviornment and also improve traffic conditions on roads.

    Recommend

  • Arshad
    Jun 12, 2013 - 10:17PM

    @roadkashehzada:
    Means the party manifesto should be PUBLIC ORIENTED……..Agreed now?

    Recommend

  • Arshad
    Jun 12, 2013 - 10:20PM

    @Oliver Kahn:
    Do you think………… the 70% of voters would have read the Manifesto of PMLN???? or any other party……….. means you are living in diplomatic enclave?

    Recommend

  • jawwadjee
    Jun 12, 2013 - 10:21PM

    Well..overall budget seems acceptable but there some limitations regarding primary education, agriculture sector, youth future plans and increase in sales tax. I hope PM will console the grievances of the poor people of this rich land, Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • hassan
    Jun 12, 2013 - 10:25PM

    @frank:
    Yeah if Pakistan’s middile class earns above 3 million a year, deals in real estate for tax-free returns, buys expensive cars and spends on levish functions,indeed this budget is gonna hurt them bad!!

    Recommend

  • Zain
    Jun 12, 2013 - 10:40PM

    @Saad: Education is a provincial subjet. Federal Government Education budget is HEC, Islamabad Capital Territory schools and a few vocational institutions (other like NIH etc funded through their ministries).

    Recommend

  • Khan
    Jun 12, 2013 - 10:40PM

    Bad budget the entire burden is on the people already paying Tax. 35% Tax Rate will drive People to look for new ways to hide their incomes and bribe will be on top the list. Pakistan should have flat rate of 15% income Tax across board on all incomes first 500,000.00 should be exempt and this will encourage people to become Tax payers instead Tax evaders.

    Recommend

  • Zain
    Jun 12, 2013 - 10:41PM

    @Shaami: Federal Government health budget is for FG run hospitals and institutes. So PIMS, JPMC, NIH and a few only. Health is a provincial subject. Federal Government does not run your local DHQ Hospital.

    Recommend

  • Dr Waqas
    Jun 12, 2013 - 10:58PM

    Middle class has been droned in this budget.You did not increase salaries but increased tax on everything.Well done PML-N.Great job

    Recommend

  • Shaami
    Jun 12, 2013 - 11:11PM

    @Zain: Federal Government this time is getting a major chunk of the budget and provinces on their own cannot sustain the Health System at all. It is the responsibility of the Federal Government then to share the budget with provinces on the health sector then. Moreover for your information FATA , Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan needs allocation from Federal Budget as well and it is not only PIMS etc which will be allocated by this budget but also semi autnomous regions of Pakistan as well.
    If Federal Government can allocate around 100 Billion for special purpose projects in Karachi and for Rawaplindi metro from federal allocation in recent PSDP then Federal can do the same in Health and in Higher education but in the end it all ends up in priorities then.

    Recommend

  • Saqib
    Jun 12, 2013 - 11:20PM

    Budget is excellent. Better than i expected considering the current financial condition of Pakistan. PPP Sindhi party stolen everything from treasury (Haraami Party).

    Now hybrid cars will come to Pakistan, which will reduce our reliance on oil import, plus it will bring saving to common man.

    Agriculture tax is a provincial matter. Plus agriculture tax will increase vegetables and fruits cost in entire Pakistan. I have no agriculture back ground but i think one must see the consequences of imposing such tax before doing it.

    Higher slab salary taxes have been increased. Now person whose salary is 600,000 per month will pay 35% tax i.e. 178,000 (if im not wrong) per month. Good.

    All secret accounts have been closed.

    Defense budget has NOT been increased. PPP proposed Rs 30 billion increase in defense budget 3 months back. PML-N rejected. Good.

    Education budget has been doubled almost. Good.

    Prime Minister expenses are reduced by 45%. Excellent.

    Ministries are reduced to 24 from 84. Excellent.

    Plus other than budgets; PML-N will develop motorways and industrial city in Gawadar Port and link it to China physically. Motorways will bring 50 billion dollars royalty annually to Pakistan by 2025. Excellent. Once done we can pay our entire loans in two years.

    People, have patience. Everything will be done good. PML-N needs time. They presented budget in a week after they started working. We should encourage them.

    Recommend

  • Saqib
    Jun 12, 2013 - 11:25PM

    Give PML-N 15 years consecutive. So that they can implement such policies without interruption. In America their each party rule 8 years continuously. 5 years are too less. 1 year = 1 budget; Means 1 month salary. How can we expect any govt to change Pakistan in 5 months :).

    Recommend

  • Jun 12, 2013 - 11:28PM

    The Budget is not based on party’s manifesto, party is also working for nation. The last government left the Pakistan empty in all aspect now if they are trying to regain the position then don’t discourage or criticise them.

    Recommend

  • gp65
    Jun 12, 2013 - 11:46PM

    @Arshad: “The budget is based on our party’s manifesto, says Dar
    it should be public oriented………. not PMLN oriented.”

    It is implicit that public approved the manifesto and hence party got elected. If they implement the manifesto, they are fulfilling the promises they made to the public.

    I do not know what their manifesto is and whether this budget actually complies with it or simply claims to do so. I am making a more generic point.Recommend

  • frank
    Jun 13, 2013 - 12:05AM

    @hassan:

    Yeah if Pakistan’s middile class earns
    above 3 million a year, deals in real
    estate for tax-free returns, buys
    expensive cars and spends on levish
    functions,indeed this budget is gonna
    hurt them bad!!

    So the increase in GST, the duties on edible oil, the electricity unit cost increase etc are not going to hurt the middle and lower middle class? The middle classes never use wedding halls? Where are the taxes on the rich industrialists and traders that the USA, UK and several world bodies have been demanding for years? Their taxes have actually been reduced!

    Recommend

  • Jun 13, 2013 - 12:13AM

    Major disappointment when I cannot find any mention of budget for EDUCATION which is “Root Cause” of all problems in Pakistan. I expected EDUCATION to be the TOP budget item showing 6% to 8%. All I see was useless and wasteful projects like the “Income Support Program” which has always been to buy votes and keep all the politicians from the feudal’s in power and keep the poor in to perpetual slavery. Shame-Shame-Shame

    Recommend

  • John the Baptist
    Jun 13, 2013 - 12:31AM

    @gp65:

    Thanks. All your points are always generic. Recommend

  • John the Baptist
    Jun 13, 2013 - 12:56AM

    I am making a more generic point.

    Nothing new. All your points are always generic.

    Recommend

  • SM
    Jun 13, 2013 - 2:16AM

    How can we Pakistanis complain about the budget when only 1 million of us pay Income Tax out of a population of 180 million? If we do not pay taxes, we have no right to complain.

    As tax evaders, we are thieves and have no right to complain when the government cannot spend on development.

    Let us all pay taxes first before we demand accountability from the government.

    Please note I do not defend the government in any way; they have enough faults but lets face our shortcomings and fix them first.

    Recommend

  • PakArmySoldier
    Jun 13, 2013 - 2:32AM

    Here’s my biggest criticism: They kept Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) and abolished People Work Programme 2. The latter models itself on a “right to work” program – equivalent to India’s NREG. It provides income support to families by guaranteeing employment in public works and infrastructure projects. Instead of giving people cash hand-outs, guarantee them employment.

    Recommend

  • zaleelkamina
    Jun 13, 2013 - 6:26AM

    What I dont get is that we dont want to pay andthe.n want to whine about how are salaries r nt being raised.hayay ghareeb mer gaya .bijli mehngi ho gai…mehngaaai..it shows nthn but stupiddity… by the way I supported pti

    Recommend

  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Jun 13, 2013 - 12:40PM

    If you recall your memories and enter the past few years ago then you will remember that this 17% GST imposed on every thing is that renamed Value Added Tax which the that time’s government refused to impose now has been imposed and for which Pakistan was coerced/enforced by IMF to impose because IMF enforced Pakistan to impose 16 or 17 percent Value Added Tax on the name of General Sales Tax on every thing……..Recommend

  • Ammad
    Jun 13, 2013 - 3:32PM

    @Salman Saleem:
    I hope goverment employees deserved that increase in salary but sadly they dont, no offense but thats the truth !!

    Recommend

  • Musa Khan Sherani
    Jun 13, 2013 - 10:58PM

    PMLN have to in crease the salaries off all the employs up to 10 gram of the Gold, where he easily maintain his family life slandered, but unfortunately said government initiate revers process that could not support the life of common man.

    Recommend

  • Musa Khan Sherani
    Jun 13, 2013 - 10:59PM

    PMLN have to in crease the salaries off all the employs up to 10 gram of the Gold, where he easily maintain his family life slandered, but unfortunately said government initiate revers process that could not support the life of common man.Recommend

  • Jun 13, 2013 - 11:02PM

    PMLN have to in crease the salaries off all the employs up to 10 gram of the Gold, where he easily maintain his family life slandered, but unfortunately said government initiate revers process that could not support the life of common man.

    Recommend

  • MA
    Jun 13, 2013 - 11:32PM

    Pak-Iran Gas pipeline project no where seen

    Recommend

  • Asi
    Jun 14, 2013 - 3:52PM

    @Saqib:
    that’s not completely true tax on salary less than 150k per month and more than 600k has been increased but unfortunately they decreased the tax on salary around 150k-500kRecommend

  • Aftab
    Jun 14, 2013 - 9:39PM

    According to Wikipedia, around $200 billion is in Swiss account, which is utilized by the western world. Why the government do not bring that money in the country. It can be done by saying that no question will be asked if the money is brought in Pakistan and kept in Pakistan account for 10 years without any interest. Then this money will be returned to the person as it is in dollars. The government can utilize this money for next 10 years without paying any interest. The government can earn interest @10% per year, which will make it $20 billion equal to around 2 trillion, out which debt service and defense expense can be met of around 1.8 trillion, thus reducing the budget burden by 50%, it will provide the room to the poor people to live at least for next 10 years above poverty. The new government should also make sure that during this 10 year duration, new debts are acquired. You just image after 10 years the company will be debt free as all debt would have been paid.

    There are other solutions available to change the fortune of the people of Pakistan and the big people know it, but not understandable why do they not go for the right plans.

    Note: Given personal information is not real, it has been filled to send this comment, thanks.

    Recommend

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