PM’s aide says upcoming budget to focus on mitigating peoples’ sufferings through various measures. PHOTO: APP/FILE

Finance adviser talks of corona-led budget

Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh says the upcoming budget will focus on mitigating peoples’ sufferings through various...

Our Correspondent April 29, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The country’s de facto finance minister has said the upcoming budget would be formulated keeping in mind the impacts of coronavirus pandemic on people and businesses and would aim at mitigating their sufferings.

"This is the corona-budget, so we would like to mitigate the sufferings of our people and give them hope, give them cash, food products and recreate employment opportunities for them," Adviser to Prime Minister of Finance Dr Hafeez Shaikh said while talking to a TV channel on Wednesday.

“The government expects to come up to the budget expectations of the people,” he added.

The adviser said the federal government would present the budget for the fiscal year 2020-21 in the parliament in the first week of June 2020, with a special focus on mitigating the sufferings of people through various measures and creating employment opportunities for them.

He said in the previous budget, the PTI government had taken austerity measures, adding that there still is a need that expenditures are made in a better way to ensure that the public money was not wasted.

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“Now public money would be spent in a way so that the sufferings of the troubled people are mitigated. It is a big principle of the economy that through government expenditures, money comes in the hands of people which helps generate economic activities and job creation and helps in tackling the recession.”

He said the budget for the upcoming fiscal year would also feature a balanced tax collection approach and the government would adopt a strategy for documentation of economy. However, it would not be so strict that it results in the suffering of businesses.

Shaikh said the government would try its best to enhance taxes reasonably to help the growth of the economy.

“With the consultation of provinces, policies would be introduced to improve agriculture productivity, promote industry and exports.

“However, the private sector had to play a big role, as the government could only make policies and provide a business-conducive environment for them or give some subsidies from its limited resources.

"The real players are the businessmen, investors, exporters, workers, and farmers," he added.

The adviser said the country has to focus on enhancing business relations with other countries as no country in the current era could progress on its own. He also underlined the need for enhancing exports, reducing imports, and also giving incentives to the expats to invest in Pakistan.

He said the government is making economic policies for the public good adding that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has reduced policy rate whereas the government has also announced relief packages with the basic aim to ensure that the economic activities are not much affected by the pandemic.

He stressed the need to strike a balance between health and economic activities, saying the government has to protect people from Covid-19 effects, and at the same, it has to save the economy of the country.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan has time and again laid stress on taking measures with wisdom so that economic activity is generated but not at the cost of health.

“After passing through the current hard times within a couple of months, the focus of the government would be on strengthening the long-term trend of the economy, to ensure the welfare of the people,” he said.

(With input from APP)

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