Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Thursday said that the incumbent government saved Pakistan from default by taking tough decisions as the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf regime had pushed the country to the verge of bankruptcy.
“The loan of $2.3 billion from China is expected to be transferred by Monday while Beijing has also rerolled the safe deposits that were due in June and July,” the finance minister said while addressing a news conference along with Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb.
Miftah said it was their responsibility to save Pakistan from default. “And with the grace of Allah, we did it and can say now that Pakistan has been saved from default.”
He said the government saved the country from bankruptcy by increasing diesel and petrol prices as well as by remaining continuously engaged with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“The decision to increase petroleum products’ prices was not an easy one but the government had to take it to save the country.” He said that Pakistan was now returning to a better financial position, citing the increasing value of the rupee against the dollar and the performance of the Pakistan Stock Exchange as examples of the progress.
The minister said that the IMF in a statement said that it had made important progress in negotiations with Pakistan on budgetary measures for fiscal year 2022-23. The minister said that the government had reached an understanding with the IMF on the budget measures.
The minister said that it was a progressive and historic budget in a way that it did not increase indirect taxes nor did it propose taxes on commodities or consumption, a common practice of governments to improve collection.
He said unlike the PTI government that used to impose taxes on consumption that hit the poor, the incumbent government had taxed the rich. “People having income of Rs150 million will pay 1% more tax whereas those with income of Rs200 million, 250 million, and 300 million will be imposed additional taxes of 2%, 3% and 4%, respectively.”
He said during its four-year tenure, the PTI government enhanced debt burden from Rs25,000 billion to Rs45,000 billion, an increase of 80%.
He said by providing subsidy on petrol and diesel for gaining political benefits, the PTI government inflicted a loss of Rs120 billion to the national exchequer per month.
“Sugar price that had touched Rs150 per kilo in the PTI tenure is now available at Rs70 at Utility Stores whereas flour is being sold at Rs40 per kilo,” he said, adding that edible oil was imported to reduce prices of the commodity in the local market.
He said that the government had taken measures to protect the poor as six million families having income less than Rs40,000 were to be registered for monthly stipend of Rs2,000, of which one million had been registered.
In addition, he said, the BISP recipients would receive Rs2,800 per month whereas 60% of the BISP families would be provided funds for education of children through the Waseela-e-Taleem scheme.
He said the people having income of less than Rs40,000 would also be facilitated through the Utility Stores Corporation by providing them commodities at reduced rates.
(With input from APP)
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