Gov’t has taken difficult decisions aligned with the interest of the country: Finance Minister

Target of next year's budget is fiscal consolidation & provision of relief to masses: Finance Minister

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ISLAMABAD, Minister for Finance and Revenue, Miftah Ismail on Saturday said that the government had set a target to bring 2.5 million shopkeepers in tax net.

While addressing a Post Budget Press conference along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Marriyum Aurangzeb, he said that first time the government had fixed the sale and income tax.

Miftah said that Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000 fixed tax would be charged from the 2.5 milion shopkeepers at first time and then they would have to summit their income tax return.

He said that the government gave them a big relief as they would not be asked bout their income sources.

Minister of State Dr Ayesha Ghous Pasha explained that the tough decisions announced in the budget 2022-23 were aimed at stabilizing the economy.

In such circumstances, she said, the government had tried its best not to pass on the impact of tough decisions and revenue measures to the common man.

She said the measures to enhance revenue were anti-inflationary, and the government had also increased allocation for the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), besides providing significant subsidy on inputs to promote the agriculture sector.

The relief measures in the agriculture sector would help the country attain self-sufficiency in commodities, she added.

Dr Pasha said additional taxes were imposed only on the wealthy people, in order to avoid further burdening the poor.

She said the world was passing through the super cycle of inflation and Pakistan was also not an exception, which was badly hit.

Miftah Ismail said in the BISP, the government had increased its share by 40% or Rs 100 billion.

He said Prime Minister Shehbaz had recently talked to the Indonesian president to lift ban on the import of palm oil import as it caused steep hike in its price to $1700 per ton in the international market.

The government, he said, had also proposed a package of Rs 20 billion for the promotion of seed oils, aiming to increase their production that would help reduce the external dependency for producing cooking oil.

The minister said in the budget 2022-23, the government proposed one percent tax on the properties held abroad by the local Pakistanis.

With respect to tax measures on personal income, he said the government decided to provide relief to the small and medium income salaried persons as taxes were being reduced on those drawing monthly salary up to Rs 200,000 per month, however, taxes were being increased on those getting monthly salary of over Rs 1 million.

He said the government had also decided to bring 2.5 million shopkeepers into the tax net, who would be charged the fixed tax ranging from Rs 3000 to Rs 10,000, which would be collected along with the utility bills.

To a question about cut in funds allocations for the Azad Jammu and Kashmir, he said the government had cut all government expenditures.

To another question, Dr Pasha said, “We took measures to decrease the import-led consumptions in order to help ease the inflation rate.”

With respect to the privatization process, Miftah said the government was committed to continue the privatization process, and two big companies would be privatized immediately.

To a question with regard to the measures to reduce inflation, the minister maintained that the government’s first and foremost target was fiscal consolidation, to save the country’s finance.

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