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Agencies
February 2, 2019

Reform package mistaken as mini-budget: Asad

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A
Agencies
February 2, 2019

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umar on Friday said the mini-budget was in fact an economic reforms package designed to improve the state of the country’s economy.

Speaking in the Senate, he said the opposition indulged in point-scoring in his absence and whenever he was present in the House to answer their questions, they were absent. The minister highlighted the improved environment in the stock market last month, explaining that it had recovered from the losses suffered last year. Asad said Pakistan’s bond market had seen the highest improvement in Asia with banks regaining trust as well.

He said the ‘Pakistan Banao Certificate’ announced by the government on Thursday was an out-of-the-box solution that would help improve the serious issues facing the country on the external front. He told the House that the balance of payments crisis had also seen improvements.

Meanwhile, addressing a ceremony at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Lahore, Asad Umar said the country’s economic matters could not be resolved unless the trade deficit was reduced.

The finance minister said, “There is a need for reforms in the energy sector. There needs to be independence to produce electricity and there is a need to improve the system of power supply.

“Net metering system has been introduced in the federal capital and it will be replicated in other parts of the country as well,” he said. Umar assured that a simplified procedure of filing tax returns for individuals and entrepreneurs will be introduced in the current year. “Top taxpayers will be recognized in a ceremony which will be chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan to encourage the people to come into the tax net,” he said. “Economic woes cannot be resolved till trade deficit was reduced,” he added.

“We need to change the environment. Cases worth billions of rupees are being heard in courts and we can no longer hide behind a wall,” the finance minister said. Umar further assured the businessmen, traders and investors of full facilitation to bolster exports.

“The industrial sector has an important role to play in the economy and steps are being taken to address their problems, including those relating to energy,” he added. Further, the finance minister said special economic zones will be set up under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. “The Economic Coordination Committee in its meeting on February 5 will deliberate on early operationalization of these zones,” he stated.

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