Friday May 20, 2022

‘Next government to face budget challenges’

April 28, 2018

KARACHI: Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, former Advisor to the PM on Textile and leader of the business community, while expressing his views on the budget speech on Friday, said that the high targets set in the budget would be the challenges for the next government.

He drew attention towards the circular debts of Rs980 billion, exporters sales tax refund of Rs200 billion and Rs500 annual loss of the public sector and loss making organizations.

He said that the government kept high targets for other economic indicators, which would not be easy for the incoming government to achieve. He stressed the need for the export-led growth in the future, adding that an increase in the export can only help stabilise our foreign reserves and Pakistan’s rupee.

Dr Baig said that out of the total revenue collection of Rs4000 billion, the government has to pay Rs1550 on debts and interest payments and Rs1100 on defence expenditure, due to which there are very meagre resources left for education, health and social sectors.

He said that the defence of our country is imperative for the restoration of peace and the nation is ready to give any sacrifice but the repayments of loans and interest have become unsustainable.

He said that in order to alleviate poverty and improve the living standard of the poor masses, it is imperative to achieve 7 percent of GDP, consecutively for the next five to seven years. He termed the budget election-centric budget and expressed his disappointment over the meagre allocation of Rs57 billion for education and Rs17 billion for health in the budget, but appreciated the long-term incentives for investors to attract new investments.

He also said that incumbent Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that the fiscal deficit has increased from the target of 4.1 percent to 5.4 percent due to some unforeseen expenditures and the provinces were not transferring the surplus funds to the federal government, however, he set a target of 4.9 percent for the next year.

Dr Baig said that the imposition of petroleum levy would increase the prices of petroleum product, hitting the common men.