Budget measures are in line with IMF guidelines

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Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Saturday that the recent budget has yet to fulfil some of the IMF’s conditions. In contrast, most of the budget proposals are per the IMF’s instructions. He said honouring commitments with the IMF will help Pakistan secure new loans to keep the country afloat.

Mian Zahid Hussain said allocating 1400 billion rupees for developmental projects in these difficult circumstances is a miracle.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that a 200 billion rupees cut in development projects could make electricity cheaper for the industrial sector by Rs10 per unit.

Affordable electricity will increase exports by five billion dollars, increase employment, and relieve people, but it seems difficult.

The business leader said that last year, 950 billion rupees were earmarked for development projects, of which only 379 billion rupees could be spent till May.

The budget is too focused on indirect taxes, which will increase poverty while reducing government expenditure, which should be addressed.

There has yet to be a concrete plan to eliminate the power sector’s annual losses of 1200 billion rupees. Besides, the privatization of 80 government institutions, which incur losses of 1200 billion rupees annually, must be done immediately.

In both terms, 2400 billion rupees can be saved annually, which makes it possible to save seven and a half billion dollars in government expenses.

He said that a deficit of 9 billion rupees, half of the total budget, has been shown in the total budget of 18 billion rupees. This deficit will be covered by taking more loans from various sources.

Interest on government loans will have to be paid nine thousand billion rupees this year and ten thousand billion rupees next year. To avoid this situation, privatization and an increased tax base are the only alternatives.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the industries of former Fata, Pata, and other parts of the country are being given incentives of more than 200 billion rupees. At the same time, several incentives violate the promises made to the IMF.

Under these circumstances, if exports, remittances, and the tax base do not increase, new mini-budgets will have to be introduced, increasing the pressure on the people.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that big infrastructure projects can bring improvement for the economy and the people, so these projects should be completed immediately so that the country’s economic condition can improve.

He said that despite the huge increase in inflation, it is excessive to increase the tax on the income of the salaried class and that increasing the price of medicines, medical equipment, poultry feed, tractors, mobile phones, stationery, newsprint, cement, pasteurized milk and other items will increase inflation.

He warned that increased powers given to FBR are tax fraud cases and 0-year sentence risks being misused to discourage investment.

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