Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin has said the current challenging economic situation being faced by the country is the result of wrong policies of the last Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government which had caused a loss of $20 billion.
"The current government inherited an economy in shambles, with high inflation and massive circular debt due to bad decisions of the PML-N regime," he said while addressing a virtual press conference along with Minister for Energy and Petroleum Hammad Azhar and Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar on Thursday.
Tarin said that the government had to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support the deteriorated economy and accept tough conditions such as high power tariffs.
However, he added, now the government’s focus is on providing relief to the masses in the upcoming budget 2021-22 and that is why it is conveyed to the IMF in recent talks that the electricity and gas prices would not be increased.
He said that former finance minister Miftah Ismail of the PML-N, during his tenure, had raised the petroleum development levy up to Rs30, while the present government had reduced it by Rs2 to Rs3.
"Today the circular debt is declining and the government would take more steps to further reduce it," he added.
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The finance and revenue minister said that it is the PTI government’s top priority to alleviate poverty, by promoting skills development practices among four million families, besides providing them housing facilities and health cards.
The finance minister said that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the government remained successful in bringing the economic growth rate close to 4 per cent, adding that it is likely to remain around 5 per cent during the next fiscal year.
He said that the government does not believe in imposing new taxes to enhance revenue collection and the objective for higher collections will be achieved through expanding the tax net. "We have decided to increase Public Sector Development Programme by 38 per cent."
Tarin further said that the government is working to initiate the process of restructuring and privatisation of loss-making state-owned enterprises.