ISLAMABAD: Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Wednesday presented mini budget in the National Assembly and Senate separately, to fulfil the conditions of the IMF for revival of the stalled loan programme.
The National assembly session was chaired by Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
The Finance Minister Ishaq Dar introduced the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2023 in the session, saying that the government wanted to increase GST on luxury goods from 18 to 25 per cent. He said that the federal cabinet has approved additional taxes of Rs 170 billion.
He compared the performance of the previous PML-N and PTI governments. He said that during former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s tenure, the GDP per capita increased while the Pakistan Stock Exchange’s (PSX) market capitalisation was $100 billion. However, the PSX’s market capitalisation declined to $26bn during the PTI government, he said, adding that the decrease showed a lack of investor confidence in the previous government. Dar also criticised the PTI government for increasing the country’s debts significantly.
“In 2017-18, GDP growth had surpassed six per cent, inflation was at 5pc, food inflation at 2pc … After the 2018 elections, a selected government came into power. Because of its failures, Pakistan’s economy shrunk.” He said that the PTI government had signed accord with the IMF.
The finance minister proposed increase in federal excise duty on cigarettes, and aerated and sugary drinks and 10pc withholding adjustable advance income tax on the bills of wedding gatherings.
The minister also suggested increase in federal excise duty on cement from Rs1.5/kg to Rs2/kg and GST increase from 17pc to 18pc. He said that Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) budget would be increased to Rs400bn from Rs360bn
Ishaq Dar also assured the House that the prime minister and his cabinet would adopt “simplicity” and the former would take the nation into confidence soon in this regard.
Meanwhile, the finance minister also presented the Finance Bill amendment in the Senate, which met with chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in the chair.