By Our Staff Correspondent
ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar has unveiled the first budget for fiscal year 2019-20 of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led federal government with an outlay of Rs7.02 trillion, in the National Assembly (NA) Tuesday.
In his budget speech, the minister said that the government has a brought a new thought, new commitment and new approach to governance.
He said it is time to lift the people who have been left behind and recalled the economic situation the government has faced since coming into power.
Hammad Azhar said: “Pakistan s total debt has reached Rs31 trillion. We are deeply indebted thanks to high-interest loans. Foreign exchange reserves had dropped below $10 billion. The current account deficit had reached a historic peak of $20bn, while the trade deficit had reached $32bn. The fiscal deficit was more than Rs2.26tr.”
He said: “$7 billion reduction in Current Account Deficit will be achieved this year, which will be $6.5 billion next year.”
The minister said current account deficit will be reduced to 6.5pc in FY19-20 and exports will be boosted through a revised duty structure. “Power and gas will be cheapened and Free Trade Agreements will be re-evaluated,” he said and added Pakistan will be made a part of the international value chain. Azhad said we borrowed a total of $9.2 billion from China, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, adding that the government empowered State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
“A total of 11 percent tax to GDP ratio currently, was the lowest in the region,” he said and added there were only 50 percent of SECP registered companies paying tax. “We will have to change this culture.” The minister said that circular debt was reduced by Rs12 billion per month and it was brought down to 26 billion rupees from 38 billion rupees. The govt has decided to cut by three percent the tax imposed on mobile phones. In addition to this, it has also been decided to lift the ban on non-filers of the income tax returns to purchase property above Rs 5 million.
Moreover, the defence budget will remain the same at Rs 1150 billion whereas the civil budget has been reduced from Rs 460 billion to Rs 437 billion. However, the daily used items, including sugar, cooking oil, ghee, soft drinks, cigarettes and CNG prices will go up.