Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen has acknowledged that inflation hiked in the country due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

Talking to media in Islamabad, Shaukat said that there was a 50 per cent difference in the global prices of ghee which we kept at 30 per cent. The prices of wheat have gone up by 13.5 percent. Petrol is Rs123 per liter in Pakistan and in India, it is Rs250 a liter.

The finance minister said that the government will give subsidy on imported edible oil. It will bear the burden of additional prices of imported oil, he added.

Shaukat announced that the government will give direct subsidy on food items to the poor and cash subsidy to 40 million people.

He blamed middlemen for price hike saying that they are earning undue profit to the tune of 400 percent. He announced restoration of food inspectors to arrest inflation.

Shaukat urged CCP to take action against cartels of food.

He said that due to rise in oil prices in global market and import of vehicles, the dollar has become dearer.

He claimed that the greenback is being smuggled to Afghanistan which cast a negative impression on Pakistani exporters who have started keeping dollars abroad.

He said that the prime minister has advised that medium and long term plans should be made so that crises could be averted.

Kamyab Pakistan programme will be launched later in the current month, he added.

Replying to a question, Shaukat said he is not going anywhere, he will continue to work as finance minister.

MEETING KARACHI TRADERS: Shaukat said of the total 2.9 million income tax filers, one million filers are those who have zero taxable income.

During a meeting with the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) officials, the finance minister told businessmen to visit Islamabad to discuss their reservations about the new ordinance, besides resolving all issues on the spot by arranging meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan, ministers and advisers.

“We will instantly give deadlines for all the pending policies as the PM is determined to revive business, industrial and agricultural activities,” he added.

He said that the government “intends to take help of artificial intelligence to examine electricity, gas, telephone bills along with bank transaction activities and other details of such filers and classify them as under-filers, who will be asked to submit their taxes through a third party.”

He said that the government was serious about resolving issues in order to ensure sustainable economic growth at the rate of 5 percent, which was the basic reason for enhancing the PSDP and reducing prices of raw material so that the industry could stand on its feet.

“The good news is that we are growing as all indicators are showing improvements and we are growing faster than expected,” he said.

 “However, the import bill is going to touch $19 billion this year as compared to $13 billion last year mainly due to rising petroleum prices and other commodities, which we have to absorb.”

He said that the government’s target was to improve the pace of exports from the existing 8% to 18% in the next few years while the narrow industrial base was also being expanded through offering incentives.

“We have to enhance exports and FDI by facilitating local investors through the Board of Investment. If our local investors will not be happy, how are we going to attract foreign investors?”


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