Sunday May 23, 2021
Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin on Sunday said that at the current pace of economic growth, the country can expect 5% growth in FY2022 and more than 6% growth in FY2023.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, he said recent indicators led the government to announce a 3.94% expected growth rate.
He said from here on, the government's focus will be on bringing stability to prices and thereby reducing inflation to bring people much-needed relief. "It is Imran Khan's promise to the people that prices will be brought down."
The finance minister also spoke of how the agriculture sector has been neglected for a long time. "The country is suffering from malnutrition," he said.
Speaking of the government's efforts so far in bringing the economy out of the quagmire it has been in, he said that in 2018, the country had a deficit of $20 billion and the country simply did not have the dollars required to bridge the deficit.
"The country was forced to go to the IMF (International Monetary Fund)," he said, adding that this time around, the global lender set very strict conditions.
Even under the tough conditions, the government gave special attention to the housing, agriculture, and export-oriented industry, which led to economic stability and growth.
The finance minister spoke of the measures the government has planned for the coming financial year.
He said a long, short, and medium-term strategy is being evolved in 12 sectors.
Short-term measures will include taking steps in the agriculture sector to enhance food supplies and to establish warehouses and cold storage facilities.
"Illegal profiteers and hoarders will have to be dealt with severely," he added.
Speaking of revenue collection, he said that the government will use technology to broaden the tax net.
"We will not use force, rather encourage people to pay taxes, by providing them facilities," the minister said.
He said that the government has already reduced sales tax and petroleum levy.
"We will not burden the people. Tariffs will not increase. This is our promise," Tarin said.
The finance minister also spoke of the country's long overdue exit from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)'s grey list. He said no conditions have been spelled out in the IMF programme for Pakistan to exit the list.
He said only one condition remains to be fulfilled now.
At the time of the current National Finance Commission award, the tax-to-GDP ratio was 8.8%, Tarin said.
Tax-to-GDP under NFC could not increase by 1% per annum, he said, adding that the Centre and the provinces did not take appropriate measures.
"To solve financial problems, the ratio will have to be increased up to 18-20%" the finance minister said.