Economy to suffer GDP loss of Rs3,000b due to coronavirus: Abdul Hafeez Shaikh
June 13, 2020
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Abddul Hafeez Shaikh said that the economic would suffer a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) loss of Rs3,000 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic. Addressing the post-budget press conference on Saturday, he said that they would have to cut down something if they wanted to pay off the loan of Rs3,000 billion. He said that 10 withholding taxes are being abolished. “The government will give more budget to the Ehsaas Program. An amount of Rs50 billion has been allocated for the agriculture sector so that the prices of fertilizers could be reduced,” he added. The finance adviser said that the government tried its best to give the benefit of the reduction in the prices of POL products. “The basic pillar of the budget is that no new tax has been imposed in it rather concessions worth Rs40-50 billion have been given in taxes and duties to support the industrial sector and create job opportunities,” he maintained. He said that the development outlay has been set at Rs650 billion. “The government is taking loans to clear the loans taken in the past. We paid off Rs2,700 billion of loans last year and this year we will pay off Rs2,900 billion in loans,” he declared. Giving a breakup of the relief given in taxes, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that regulatory duty on 1,623 tariff lines of raw materials are totally being done away whilst on others including those related to engineering sector are also being reduced. Replying to questions, he said that the government has been striving to increase per capita income and national savings. “Tax collection and national savings have historically been low in Pakistan, but we are committed to increase their rates. If we increase income of people, this will enable them to save more,” he maintained. Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar said that the private sector is the engine of job creation. “Our focus is on preservation of economy so that it runs smoothly and creates employment opportunities. We have improved our ranking in Ease of Doing Businesses and hope it will further improve next year,” he maintained. He said that an increase has been made in allocations for PSDP and a cash injection of Rs50 billion has been made to SME sector to help it create jobs. “We have also given a number of incentives to construction sector because it creates employment,” he added.