Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has announced that no additional tax on mobile phone calls, SMS and internet will be levied in the budget 2021-22.

Addressing a post-budget press conference in Islamabad on Saturday afternoon, the minister said the enhancement of rates were put before the cabinet and the prime minister opposed the imposition of tax on mobile phone calls, internet data and SMS.

Shaukat Tareen rejected claims that the government will bring “mini budget”.

The minister said “we will not bring mini budget; we will not burden income taxpayers. In developing countries indirect taxes are increased.”

“We are in talks with the IMF. We have the same goal. The IMF wants us to move towards stable growth,” he continued.

He said additional tax of Rs500 billion will be collected in the next financial year. “We have to earn dollars by increasing exports and add an additional tax of Rs500 billion in the next financial year,” he added.

The government had presented Rs8,478 billion budget for financial year 2021-22, set the tax target at an ambitious Rs5,829 billion.

Minister Shaukat Tarin said the government has presented a total growth budget and their challenge is to stabilise growth.

He said the government will reach non-filers through electricity and gas bills.

Big retailers have sales of Rs1,500 billion and sales tax has to be levied on all big stores, he said and added that consumers will be rewarded if they produce a slip.

The finance minister announced a prize scheme to encourage people to demand receipts for purchases they make from retailers.

He said the government will introduce a scheme under which prizes amounting to Rs250 million will be distributed among receipt holders every month. The amount of prize money will be increased gradually, he continued.

The move is aimed at documenting the economy, he added.

The finance minister said that the poor in the country have not been given loans.

He said loans will be given from commercial banks to small welfare banks and, in the first phase, four million people will be targeted.

He announced plans to provide employment and give Rs150,000 loan to small farmers.

Loans up to Rs2 million will be given to build a roof and loans to poor farmers will go up to Rs500,000, he added.

Shaukat said Pakistan has become a food deficient country and we are now importing what we used to export like pulses, wheat and sugar.

“We did not pay attention to our crops, but now we will pay attention to agriculture sector,” he assured.

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

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