KARACHI: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said on Saturday if the prime minister was not satisfied with the finance ministry performance then “we will go home”.
After attending a ceremony at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) he did not take questions when the media persons tried to talk to him.
However, replying to one query about non-inclusion of his ministry in the top ten federal ministries, which were hailed for their performance, he said: “We will go home. What will we do,” Tarin responded when a reporter told him that Prime Minister did not seem happy with the performance of his ministry.
Earlier, Tarin told the KCCI members that the government made all-out efforts to control inflation, caused by domestic factors. “We can’t do anything to check inflationary trends, caused by the imported factors,” he stated. The finance minister said inflation was not worrisome for Pakistan only but even the US, the UK and Germany were also concerned about it as hike in the prices of commodities at the global level had caused problems around the world.
“Even US President Biden telephoned Saudi King Salman over the soaring prices of crude oil in the global market,” he added. Tarin attributed the rising inflation in the country towards the global trends and said that government had been taking the hit of Rs22-24 billion monthly for not raising taxes on petroleum products despite soaring prices of crude in the international market.
“We have brought down the sales taxes on petroleum products to zero and even reduced petroleum development levy (PDL) to stabilise the domestic oil prices despite surge in the global market,” Tarin pointed out. He said that prices of cooking oil, pulses and coal had also risen to their highest level in the international market and Pakistan was dependent on imports to meet the domestic needs of these products. Tarin said that inflation could be countered by increasing the income of middle class. Under the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, a huge programme would be kicked off soon to shore up the income of middle class segments of society.
He claimed that the economy was on the right track and Pakistan needed sustainable and inclusive growth to get rid of loans repeatedly from International Monetary Fund (IMF), other donor agencies and countries. “Pakistanis are a resilient nation and can turn around the situation provided they are given level playing field,” he added. He said China had agreed to help Pakistan in various areas of economy during the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the country. China will help in end-to-end agriculture to raise the yield in this sector as well as support in Information Technology (IT) by investing in it, relocation of industrial units in the special economic zones and for job creation for the youth of Pakistan. “The prime minister asked Chinese leadership to help Pakistan in industry in order to raise the country’s export to $50 billion in next five years to balance the foreign trade,” he said.
Separately, speaking at the inaugural ceremony of ‘Kamyab Jawan Markaz’ at Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), the finance minister announced that the government would introduce a special package for small & medium enterprises (SMEs) soon with the likely exemptions from taxes and regulations to them. He spoke about various initiatives of the government to boost the national economy and said that a few sectors like housing, information technology, trade etc need special focus to achieve five per cent growth.He said that the government would not leave the low income group to rely on trickle down effect from the growth in major sectors but would adopt bottom-up approach and Kamyab Jawan programme was part of the strategy.
He also announced expanding the scope of Kamyab Pakistan programme to the entire country, which was presently functional in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa successfully to provide interest-free loans to farmers, low-interest loans for housing, Sehat card etc. “This huge programme worth Rs1.4 trillion and Rs120-140 billion would be part of budget every year,” Tarin stated.
Responding to complaints of the KCCI members about the raids of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on the retailers in Karachi, Tarin said he had taken notice of the raids. However, he pointed out that only two million people pay the income tax out of total 38 million, which is not a positive sign.He said that the government had collected the data about the income of people to calculate the accurate income tax, that ought to be paid. “Independent auditors would scrutinise cases if somebody disputes the tax, demanded by the government against the income,” the finance minister said.
About the retail sector, Tarin revealed that total worth of the sector was Rs18-20 trillion, but Rs16 trillion of retailers are out of tax net, which would be brought in the tax net. He told the KCCI members that Rs20 billion was kept for DLTL scheme, which were raised to Rs100 billion after he assumed the charge of finance ministry.
Earlier, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Youth Affairs Usman Dar stated that 5,000 shops would be opened in Karachi next month under Kamyab Jawan Programme, adding that 25,000 businesses had been set up under this scheme with the disbursement of Rs33 billion so far in the country. He gave the credit to Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin by bringing revolutionary changes in the programme after he took charge of the finance ministry.
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