Default evaded by taking tough decisions: Miftah

| Finance minister says govt giving relaxation to poor and imposing tax on rich people | Efforts being made to control economic problems in 2 to 3 months
| Targets PTI govt for unprecedented borrowings


ISLAMABAD   -   Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Thursday said that the coalition government has saved the country from default by taking tough decisions of increasing petroleum products prices.

“We have saved the country from bankruptcy by increasing the prices of petroleum products,” said the Finance Minister in a press conference along with Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb.

He further said that it was a tough decision for the government to enhance the prices of petroleum products. He informed that the government has reached an understanding with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over the budgetary measures, which is welcoming.

The Finance Minister has termed the recent budget as historic, which has no indirect taxes, no tax on consumptions and goods as like previous government did that enhanced the inflation rate. He said that country would have never witnessed such progressive taxation budget as like the current budget. He further said that the incumbent government has imposed tax on rich and wealthy people instead of the poor. The government would impose another 1 percent super tax on people earning more than Rs150 million, 2 percent on income of more than Rs200 million, 3 percent on people earning more than Rs250 million and 4 percent on income of more than Rs300 million for a year. He added that taxes had been increased even on companies owned by the prime minister’s sons. “Even my company will have to pay more taxes now,” Ismail said.

Miftah Ismail once again criticized the PTI’s government for recording four highest ever budget deficits of the country and increasing country’s debt to Rs45 trillion in four years from Rs25 trillion. The PTI government has left the economy on the brink of a default and that too “only to remain in power. “I have never seen such situation of economy in last 30 years”.

The Finance Minister said that the government was facing deficit of Rs120 billion by not increasing oil prices as announced by former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Earlier, before the no-confidence move, the PTI government was charging Rs20 per litre levy and 10 percent General Sales Tax on oil products. However, soon after the no-confidence move, the previous government had reduced the prices, he said and added that the previous government was trying to make Sri Lank-situation in Pakistan. “We are responsible to save Pakistan from default”.

Miftah informed that Pakistan would receive $2.3 billion from China today (Friday) or Monday. Moreover, China has also decided to rollover its safe deposits — which were due in June-July. “I would like to thank China for this initiative even when Pakistan did not request them to do so,” he said.  The currency has appreciated and Karachi Stock Exchange has also shown positive trend.

The Finance Minister came down hard on PTI government for not controlling prices of food commodities including flour and sugar. He said that sugar prices had increased to Rs150 per kg in Imran Khan’s tenure. However, the incumbent government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has controlled the prices. Sugar is available at Rs70 per kg, wheat flour at Rs40 per kg and ghee and oil at Rs300 per kg at Utility Stores Corporation. He asked why Imran Khan if he felt for the poor, did not provide cheap flour and sugar to them. “Why did Imran Khan not take concrete measures when he felt for the poor people?” he questioned.

“We are bringing economic stability, which they abolished when they were in power,” he said, adding that it was difficult for PM Shehbaz Sharif to take these tough measures. He informed that he would close the federal budget for the next fiscal year 2022-23 today (Friday) with his closing speech in the National Assembly.

Ismail admitted that inflation was still very high in Pakistan. However, he claimed that the current government will control problems in 2 to 3 months.

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