ISLAMABAD: Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi notified the Senate on Friday about a multi-pronged strategy that has been initiated by the government in order to improve the resource position and reduce dependency on foreign loans.
He was speaking on behalf of the finance minister, and informed the house during a question and answer session that the strategy foresees an increasing tax to GDP ratio‚ bringing tax evaders into the tax net and eliminating tax exemptions.
He said that the finance division has cut back on current expenditure by up to 30% during the current fiscal year. These expenditures include subsidies that will be further rationalised.
The minister also stated that the State Bank of Pakistan is in the process of improving the incentives regime to encourage remittances by Pakistanis working abroad in order to build foreign exchange reserves.
Similarly‚ a comprehensive trade policy has been formulated in order to boost exports over the medium term. These initiatives are expected to bring the external debt to GDP ratio from 24.3% to 15.6% in the next financial year.
Abbasi said the government will repay loans of over Rs400 billion during the current financial year.
Meanwhile, leader of the house Raja Zafarul Haq said that a four-member committee has been constituted to hold talks with the Pakistan Peoples Party to end boycott of the upper house.
He said that opposition members are making conflicting remarks in the media which may have a negative effect, hence decorum must be maintained with utmost caution in order to run the proceedings of the house in a favourable environment.
“We want the opposition parties to fully participate in the Senate and raise issues of public interests,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2013.