Govt focused on lowering inflation and supporting industries: FM Aurangzeb

Highlighted efforts are underway to accelerate the digitization of FBR and privatization of PIA

News Desk June 25, 2024


Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb emphasized on Tuesday that the government's top priorities include further reducing inflation and facilitating industries.

Concluding the debate on the federal budget in the National Assembly, Aurangzeb acknowledged positive suggestions from parliament members during the discussions.

He highlighted that efforts are underway to accelerate the digitization of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the privatization of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

The government has already begun implementing budgetary measures, with a focus on sectors like agriculture, education, and health, said Aurangzeb.

The finance minister underscored the significance of agriculture, education, and health sectors in the government's agenda.

He mentioned considerations for exempting charitable hospitals from sales tax and emphasized stringent actions against retailers not partaking in the FBR's merchant-friendly scheme. Additionally, pension reforms aim to generate savings.

Aurangzeb expressed pride in the armed forces' performance, affirming the government's commitment to providing necessary resources. He added steps are being taken to ensure security for Chinese experts in the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The finance czar informed about progress towards the next International Monetary Fund (IMF) program, aiming for it to be Pakistan's final such program. The upcoming fiscal year's budget prioritizes completing ongoing projects and promoting public-private partnerships, said Aurangzeb.

He further stated that the federal budget aims to reduce the fiscal deficit by focusing on increasing resources and cutting unnecessary expenses, adding immediate measures will target downsizing the federal government and curbing resource wastage, continuing the Prime Minister's directive for simplicity and austerity.

He affirmed the federal government's commitment to achieving financial stability in collaboration with provincial governments and enhancing the country's overall financial resources.

Discussions are ongoing regarding the distribution of federal expenses, with efforts to ensure provincial contributions align with national expenditures, said Aurangzeb, extending gratitude to chief ministers of all provinces for their contributions to this dialogue.

Aurangzeb earlier underscored the country's need to 'privatise' critical sectors of the country. Highlighting a staggering example, the minister revealed that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) alone has accrued losses amounting to Rs. 622 billion, recently shouldered by the government.

He added that looking ahead, the administration plans to initiate the outsourcing of airports, a strategic move intended to stimulate economic growth by leveraging private sector efficiency.

Acknowledging the necessity of immediate relief measures, he reiterated the government's commitment to assuming full responsibility for mitigating losses and fostering a conducive environment for sustainable economic progress.

Saying that 'countries run on taxes, not charity' he also highlighted ongoing issue of tax evasion, noting that many individuals and businesses are avoiding FBR scrutiny due to concerns over harassment.



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