Pakistan to increase development spending by 38%: finance minister | SAMAA

The government will raise Public Sector Development Program spending by 38%, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said Thursday.

He was addressing a press conference with Energy Minister
Hammad Azhar and Industries and Production Minister Khusro Bakhtiar.

Tarin said they now want to take the economy from stability
to growth by giving incentives to agriculture, industry, export and IT sectors.

After contracting 0.4% last fiscal year, the economy has
grown by 3.9% this year, he said.

The government is now targeting a growth of 5% next year and
6% the year after. “The growth will be inclusive and sustainable,”
Tarin said.

The trio criticised the PML N government for a GDP growth
they said came at the expense of deficits, excess energy (the projects that now
eat up a major chunk of revenue in capacity payments) and overvalued currency.

Tarin said they will use bottom-up approach, which will
include marginalized and lower-income segments. They will be given business
loans, health cards and technical training, he added.

The government has set a revenue target of Rs5,829 billion
for the fiscal year starting July 1 and plans to increase it to Rs7,000 billion
by the end of its tenure, according to the minister.

To a question about collecting this revenue, the minister
said they would privatize some of the state-owned enterprises that the previous
government could not.

He said the government will not increase taxes and rather
broaden the tax base with a focus on the retail sector.

The finance minister said they would curb harassment of
taxpayers by the Federal Board of Revenue officials.

Reports earlier suggested the government would stop issuing
notices to tax defaulters and only up to 5% cases will be referred to the third
party for an audit.

If default was proven, the defaulter will be penalized.
These reports emerged after a meeting between Tarin and leading business
figures.

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