FAISALABAD/ KARACHI: State Minister for Information & Broadcasting Farrukh Habib Saturday said that no deal was being reached with PMLN supremo Nawaz Sharif, as the only place for the champion of thieves was jail.
He was talking to the media at Sammundri Road after visiting various development projects in his constituency, NA-108, Faisalabad.
He said a wrong impression was being created by some vested interests that a deal was being reached with the PMLN leader. But it must be made clear to all that no such thing was taking place. Whenever he would return to the country, a prisons van would be awaiting him at the airport to take him directly to Adiala jail, he added.
The state minister said a jail was the only place for one who won the world cup of corruption, theft and looting of national wealth.
He rejected the criticism of Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar and said that he had privilege to present record development budget of Rs 750 billion whereas the PMLN had presented much trumpeted budget of Rs488 billion. He said that Punjab utilised 98pc of the allocated funds previous year, which reflected that the government was not only allocating funds but also making efforts to utilise it for welfare of masses.
He termed Shehbaz Sharif a photo-shoot personality, and Usman Buzdar a practical chief minister of Punjab.
He said the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had collected Rs2,900 billion, which was 32 per cent higher than the amount collected last year. The target was Rs2,600 billion and the collected amount was more than it, he added. He rejected allegations that the increase in collection was due to increase in sales tax and said that additional Rs300 billion had been collected under income tax head.
During the PTI government, 70,000 corporate entities were registered which earned a huge profit of Rs1,000 billion. During the PMLN tenure, only 20,000 companies were registered that earned Rs500 billion profit, he claimed.
He said that 68 per cent increase was recorded in car production, 15pc in tractors and 64pc in trucks/ buses, while cement production was also increased by 6.9pc.
He said that the government was taking fundamental and radical measures to streamline the business and in this connection, the first-ever auto and SME policies were also introduced and now young startups could get loans up to Rs10 million without any guarantee.
He said that the prime minister had taken yet another unique initiative and public friendly steps to provide shelter to the homeless individuals and for this purpose, Rs100 billion had been approved while Rs34 billion had so far been disbursed.
He said that 10 new dams were under construction which would not only overcome shortage of water but also produce cheap electricity. He said that food inflation had been reduced and it recorded 10 to 20pc decrease as compared to last year.
He said the government was serious in nailing down inflation as it had taken strict measures to control it, but the impact of global inflation was out of control.
The minister regretted that the PPP government was wasting national resources mercilessly. He said that tonnes of wheat was eaten up be rates in godowns in Sindh and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his father Asif Ali Zardari remain oblivious of it. He said the PPP leaders, instead of indulging in negative politics, must focus on development of Sindh province.
The state minister said Pakistan would continue to tread the road to progress and prosperity due to prudent policies of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He recounted the successes of previous year and said that United Nations and other international organisations had openly acknowledged the smart lockdown policy of Pakistan, which helped it win top position in returning to normality despite COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that the new year would bring more good news for Pakistanis as the country had achieved the ambitious target of vaccinating more than 70 million people till Dec 31, 2021. He dispelled an impression that all vaccine was donated by international organisation. He said the government spent $2 billion on the purchase of vaccine. In this connection, he specially lauded the services of Federal Minister Asad Umar, Dr Faisal and NCOC, who are working day and night to save people from pandemic.
He termed the Punjab health card a gift of the government for the new year and said that health sector remained neglected by the previous governments, but this government had given top priority and every family in Punjab would get free treatment up to Rs 1 million.
About Faisalabad, he said that it got a package of Rs13 billion for roads and infrastructure projects and the amount had already been released. He said that work on Sammundri Road, Jhang Road and Jaranwala Road had been started while construction of Faisalabad-Chiniot Road would be started very soon under public-private partnership mode.
He said that Punjab had allocated Rs360 billion for district development package to ensure equal distribution of funds among all districts of the province.
He said that it would redress the complaints of backward districts of the province. He said that the package would be utilised for construction of roads and other infrastructure projects. He said that 35pc of annual development funds had been allocated for south Punjab which would bring the backward area at par with the developed districts of the province.
He said that 20 new universities, eight new hospitals and a number of industrial estates and special economic zones were being developed to spur the economic growth.
Similarly, 7,000 primary schools had been upgraded to middle level while a mega irrigation project had been launched to upgrade the existing canal system. He said that water supply and sewerage system was being upgraded in the province which would bring a qualitative improvement in the life of common man.
Separately, Finance Ministry spokesperson Muzzammil Aslam said Saturday the price of petroleum products in the country would reduce in the coming days.
Addressing a press conference, he defended the government's decision to impose further taxes worth over Rs300 billion — through the Finance Bill 2021 —and said the international money lender had demanded more.
"The IMF had [asked the government] to impose taxes worth Rs700 billion, but we introduced taxes of only Rs350 billion," Aslam said.
The spokesperson said inflation was a global phenomenon and a similar situation was witnessed in 2008 — a year of severe worldwide economic crisis.
The spokesman claimed that food items’ prices had been reducing now. He said no tax was imposed on items of common man’s use in the supplementary financial bill. He also assured people that petrol prices would drop in the coming days.
He noted that it was important to review the rates of inflation over the last six months, but stated that several financial sectors performed well during the previous year.
The spokesperson added that the Finance Bill 2021 was not the "mini-budget", as the Opposition had dubbed it. "We are also putting an end to the unnecessary tax exemptions awarded by the previous governments."
After unveiling the supplementary finance bill on Thursday, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin had termed the Opposition's criticism of imposing additional burden on the people and of a consequent rise in inflation as “baseless".
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