Wednesday, December 6, 2023

It was essential to revive the IMF program, says Miftah Ismail

It was essential to revive the IMF program, says Miftah Ismail
June 24, 2022 Web Desk

ISLAMABAD (92 News) - Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail has said that it was essential to revive the IMF program.

Winding up the discussion on the budget for the next fiscal year on Friday, he said that the government had decided to levy super tax on the affluent to reduce the budget deficit in order to end reliance on foreign assistance and take the country towards economic sovereignty.

“Individuals and companies earning Rs150 million will have to pay one percent additional tax, two percent additional tax on Rs200 million income, three percent on Rs250 million income and four percent additional tax on Rs300 million income. This tax will be for a period of one year,” he added.

The minister said that 13 high earning sectors, including oil and gas, cigarettes, cement, LNG terminals, have also been identified for imposition of 10 percent super tax on income of Rs300 million. He clarified that this will be one-time tax.

“There are nine million retail shops and it has been decided to bring 2.5 million of them to the tax net. A fixed tax will be imposed on them. Only 22 gold shops out of 30,000 are registered. A fixed tax will be levied on the gold shops measuring up to 300 hundred square feet while sales tax on big jewellery shops has been reduced from 17 to three percent,” he added.

He said that withholding tax on sale of jewellery has been reduced to one percent from the current four percent. “A fixed tax will also be imposed on car dealers, restaurants and those constructing houses. The tax has been imposed on income and not consumption. Therefore, these measures will not cause inflation.”

The minister said that after incorporating various suggestions and measures the tax revenue target has increased to Rs7,470 billion for the next fiscal year. "Rs4,373 billion will be distributed to provinces as their share. The government has tried to reduce burden on the weak segments of the society. Sugar, flour and ghee will be provided to the people at subsidized rates throughout the year at the utility stores. He informed the House that one million people have so far registered to avail sasta petrol and sasta diesel scheme.

The minister also announced incentives for different sectors and said that the condition of withholding tax and statement for IT companies with the revenue of less than Rs80 million will be exempted. “A tax being charged from oil marketing companies at the rate of 0.75 percent has been brought back to 0.5 percent. Overseas Pakistanis having NICOP card will be included in the active tax payers’ list. Income on the plots of the families of martyrs and war injured has been exempted from tax. Relief has also been given to leather and surgical goods.”

Miftah Ismail said that the government had saved the country from being defaulter and now the country will be taken towards development.

“The previous government took an unprecedented loan of twenty-thousand billion rupees in four years. How a country can remain economically sovereign by taking huge loan that is why we have to revive the stalled IMF program. Difficult decisions were taken in the national interest after consultations with all the allied parties. Given the current account deficit which will remain 17.50 billion dollars, we have to agree to the IMF recommendations to safe the country from default,” he maintained.

Miftah Ismail said that this is the most pro-farmer budget ever presented in the last two decades. "This farmer-friendly budget will accrue long term benefits for the country and help bolster agri-products, besides achieving self-sufficiency in edible oil, wheat and other crops."

About recommendations made by the Senate, he said that most of the suggestion of the Upper House has been incorporated. Senate’s recommendations on pharmaceutical goods will be entertained in the next budget.

The House also offered fateha for those killed in the recent earthquake in Afghanistan. The House prayed for the early recovery of former MNA Daniyal Aziz, who got injured in a road accident.

The House will now meet again at 5 pm on Monday.