The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has decided not to impose any new taxes on the salaried class in the federal budget for the upcoming financial year, saying no new taxes will be levied on masses to provide relief to them.

The announcement was made by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin who started presenting the federal budget in the National Assembly amid sloganeering and jeering by the members of the opposition parties.

READ HERE: ANNAUL BUDGET STATEMENT

The finance minister started his speech by listing the achievements of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government during the outgoing financial year. As he started praising the Imran government, the opposition started raising ‘Go Niazi Go’ slogans.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was also in attendance during the much-important budget session. Before his arrival to the National Assembly, the premier, while responding to a question by journalists, said that the budget will make “everyone happy”.

TAXES:

Speaking about tax collection, the federal minister said that revenue collection increased by 18%, crossing Rs4,000bn mark. The finance minister said there will be no imposition of taxes on the salaried class, adding that the rich will be asked to pay taxes according to their wealth.

The minister said that those who are found guilty of evading taxes or deliberately hiding their income will be fined severely, adding that the track-and-trace systems will be strengthened so that undocumented trade does not flourish in the country.

Tarin said the government was introducing third-party audits which would thwart the FBR harassing any individual or business entity.

‘GROWTH-ORIENTED BUDGET’:

According to Tarin, the total outlay of the budget has been kept at Rs8,478 billion and had set the tax collection target at Rs5,829 billion. He lauded PM Imran’s leadership and said that government did not hesitate from making difficult decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic and because of that the government is seeing a turnaround in 2021.

According to Tarin, the government has  allocated Rs2,135 billion under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) – an increase of 37 per cent from last year’s development allocations.

Tarin announced a development package for 14 districts in Sindh, adding that these will focus on improving education, solving the province’s water issues and carrying out development in these districts. Rs16.5 billion have been allocated for these projects.

For developmental projects in Gilgit-Baltistan, the government has allocated Rs40 billion. Rs54 billion have been allocated for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s merged districts. Rs601 billion will be given to South Balochistan for uplift programmes, he added.

GDP GROWTH:

The finance minister said that the GDP growth target has been set at 4.8% for FY21-22. In next two to three years, the government is eyeing 7-8 per cent GDP growth, he added.

Shedding light on the success of the PTI government, Tarin said they had managed to bring the current account from deficit to a surplus of $800 million. The government, through the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, provided cash to 12 million people across the country,” he said. 

Tarin said remittances had increased in Pakistan to record levels, adding that these are expected to rise to $29 billion by the end of this month. 

Speaking about the various allocations made by the government, Tarin said Rs480bn had been allotted for pensions payments of both civilians and retired military officers. The government has allocated Rs1,370bn for defence budget, whereas Rs1,168 have been allocated for development and non-development grants for provinces. 

The federal government has also allocated Rs12 billion for the agri sector.

Meanwhile, the government has allocated Rs23 billion for Diamer-Bhasha Dam, Rs6 billion for Mohmand Dam, and Rs8.5 billion for Dasu Dam. It has also earmarked Rs14 billion for Neelum-Jhelum Power Project. Rs91 billion have allocated for the protection of water resources.

Speaking about taxes, Tarin said the government was slashing withholding taxes on mobile phones, adding that it will be reduced to 10 per cent at first and then 8 per cent at a later stage.

The National Assembly session has been adjourned to meet again on Monday, June 14, at 4pm.

CURRENT EXPENDITURE:

The current expenditure earmarked for FY22 stands at Rs7,523 billion, which is an increase of Rs1,178 billion from last year’s Rs6,345 billion.

Out of a total sum of Rs7,523 billion, Rs1,370 billion will be spent on Defence Services while Rs3,060 billion will be spent on interest payments.

Expenditure on Defence Services makes up around 16pc of total expenditure budgeted for FY22, down from 18 per cent last year.

INFLATION: 

For the upcoming fiscal year, the government targets to keep inflation at 8.2 per cent, which is significantly higher than the 6.5 per cent targeted for FY21.

FISCAL DEFICIT:

The fiscal deficit for FY22 has been budgeted at Rs3,420 billion, which is around 6.3 per cent of the GDP, down from 7 percent last year.

KEY ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Rs900 billion allocated for federal PSDP
The minimum wage has been increased to Rs20,000
Pensions and federal government employees’ salaries will see a 10pc increase
Rs12 billion allocated for the agriculture sector
Rs118 billion for power distribution
Rs61 billion for Viability Gap Fund
Rs14 billion for Climate Change mitigation projects
$1.1 billion for vaccines procurement
Rs100 billion for Covid-19 Emergency Fund
Rs12 billion special grant for Sindh

BUDGET ALLOCATION TO MINISTRIES, DIVISIONS:

  1. Aviation Division – Rs3,558.2 million
  2. Board of Investment –  Rs80 million
  3. Cabinet Division – Rs46,155 million
  4. Climate Change Division – Rs14,327 million
  5. Commerce Division – Rs1,613 million
  6. Communication Division (other than NHA) – Rs451.32 million
  7. Defence Division – Rs1,977.63 million
  8. Defence Production Division – Rs1,745 million
  9. Establishment Division – Rs800 million
  10. Federal Education and Professional Training Division – Rs9,700 million
  11. Higher Education Commission (HEC) – Rs42,450 million
  12. Finance Division – Rs123,131 million
  13. Housing and Working Division – Rs24,211.5 million
  14. Human Rights Division – Rs279 million
  15. Industries and Production Division – Rs2,916 million
  16. Information and Broadcasting Division – Rs1,899 million
  17. Information Technology and Telecom Division -Rs9,361.05 
  18. Inter-Provincial Coordination Division – Rs3,734.73 million 
  19. Interior Division – Rs2,1048.71 million 
  20. Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Division – Rs69,959.9 million 
  21. Law and Justice Division – Rs6,027.35 million 
  22. Maritime Affairs Division – Rs4,461 million 
  23. Narcotics Control Division – Rs489.39 million 
  24. National Food Security and Research Division – Rs12,017 million 
  25. National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Division – Rs21,722 million
  26. National Culture and Heritage Division – Rs125.9 million 
  27. Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission – Rs27,000 million 
  28. Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority – Rs200 million 
  29. Petroleum Division – Rs2,349.5 million 
  30. Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Division – Rs19,245.5 million 
  31. Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division – Rs589.9 million
  32. Railway Division – Rs30,025.6 million
  33. Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Division – Rs493 million 
  34. Revenue Division – Rs4,025.06 million 
  35. Science and Technology Research Division – Rs8,341 million 
  36. SUPARCO- Rs7,368.86 million 
  37. Water Resource Division – Rs103,472.69 million 
  38. National Highway Authority – Rs113,750 million 
  39. NTDC/PEPCO – Rs69,485 million 
  40. COVID Responsive and Other Natural Calamities Programme – Rs5000 million 
  41. Viability Gap Fund (VGF) – Rs61,500 million 
  42. SDGs supplementary fund – Rs 22,000 million

The writer is a member of staff
The reporting desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk

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