Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Monday expressed confidence that the pressure on the rupee will reduce in the next week as the government has “succeeded to reduce imports.”
In an exclusive talk with Radio Pakistan, Miftah appeared confident that the economic targets set for the current fiscal year will be achieved as a result of better decision-making by the present government.
“Pakistan currently stands in a position where its new imports are less than exports and remittances,” he explained, recalling that there were imports of $80 billion and exports of $31 billion during the last fiscal year.
He maintained that the economy will be put on a development trajectory and the issue of price-hike will be controlled in the next few months.
The finance minister, however, said increasing exports could be challenging in view of the looming recession in the West. “We have to put in more effort to bolster our exports,” he added.
He said that no load-shedding is being carried on the industrial feeders to support this important sector of the economy.
Miftah rejected the impression created by some quarters that the country’s remittances, exports and tax collection witnessed a decrease in recent months.
He pointed out there had been record remittances in the month of May whilst the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) also achieved its targets in the period between April and June this year.
The minister said we have set a target of enhancing the revenue by 35 percent during the current fiscal year.
He said that the FBR will collect Rs7,500 billion while Rs800 billion will be collected as a levy.
“The government is supporting the productive sectors of the economy, including the agriculture, industries and Information Technology to take the economy in the right direction,” said Miftah.
He maintained that tax on seeds has been abolished whilst tax on IT export proceeds has been reduced from one percent to 0.25 percent.
IMF TRANCHE: Responding to another question, Miftah Ismail said Pakistan is expected to receive the next tranche of the IMF by the end of next month after the Fund’s board meeting on August 24.
He said $4 to $5 billion are also expected from the friendly countries. He furthered that one friendly country is ready for immediate investment in the country.
“The federal cabinet has approved a law to pave way for this investment,” he informed. “Matters pertaining to the oil and gas deferred payment are also likely to be finalised with the friendly countries in a week,” he added.
On the power sector, the minister said a lot is being done to bring improvement in the sector. He regretted that the previous government neither made any investment to improve the electricity transmission system nor completed the power generation plants.
He said the PTI government also did not sign any long-term fuel agreement and resultantly, “we have to operationalise those power plants, which operate on expensive furnace oil.”
He mentioned that the government will support the farmers and the poor consumers to convert to solar in order to save them from electricity bills.
On frequent price hikes, the finance minister said under Sasta Petrol and Sasta Diesel scheme, relief assistance of Rs2,000 is being given to deserving families.
“Cash assistance is also being provided to deserving families under Benazir Income Support Program,” he said, adding that essential commodities are being provided at subsidised rates to the consumers through the utility stores.