Finance Minister hints at introducing mini-budget in January

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Finance Minister hints at introducing mini-budget next month

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar has hinted that the government may introduce another ‘mini-budget’ to address the economic challenges facing the country.
In his briefing to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance on Wednesday, Umar said the government was mulling over bringing another supplementary budget in January 2019 (next month) but there had been no final decision on it yet.
He said an increase in taxes had been proposed but the government could consider decreasing taxes in order to boost the economy.
The finance minister said the government has decided to supply gas to exporters at $6.5 per MMBTU, and electricity at 7.5 cents per unit. A notification in this regard would be issued soon.
The government has also decided to issue bonds for tax refunds, he added.
If a supplementary budget is announced next month, it would be the second such budget introduced by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government since it was voted into power in the July 28 general election.
The finance minister had presented Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Bill 2018 in the National Assembly in September, saying that “difficult times called for difficult measures”. The ‘mini-budget’, as it was called, cut planned development spending and increased taxes for higher earners.
The key proposals in the mini-budget included withdrawal of the government’s decision to increase petroleum development levy; Rs5 billion relief to the export industry; increase in minimum pension to Rs10,000; increase in duty on expensive mobile phones; duty on 1800cc and above vehicles at 20 percent; increase in WHT on banking transactions for non-filers to 0.6 percent; and introduction of health cards, among others.

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