One of two entities to be privatized soon

Losses in the energy sector has been more than defense budget

no other option before government but to take tough decisions

Govt giving subside of Rs16 per unite on electricity

Production cost of electricity has been climbed to Rs35/unite

Subsidy on electricity worked out to be Rs 1000 billion

In Gas sector subsidy amount is around Rs 400 billion

ISLAMABAD (Eshfak Mughal):- The Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has said that the fiscal consolidation and provision of relief to general public is top priority of new government.

He was addressing in post-budget press conference here on Saturday along with Federal Minister Mariyum Aurungzeb, Minister of State Aysha Guaus Pasha, Chairman FBR, Secretary Finance and other officials.

He said that GDP growth and inflation will be also in government radar but fiscal consolidation and provision of relief to masses of the country is top priority of government in new budget. He said that that the budget of Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) has been increased by thirty-five to forty percent and flour, sugar and ghee will be provided on discounted rates at Utility Stores Corporation throughout the year.

The Finance Minister said the government has taken difficult decisions keeping in view the interest of the country. The government has reduced our expenditures as well as subsidy on power and gas to reduce deficits.

He maintained the govt presented the budget when the country was going through a difficult time. The new government had no other option but to take tough decisions to stabilize the economy. He criticized the former government for not taking steps to resolve the issues

During the current fiscal year, the finance minister said the government gave over Rs1100 billion subsidy to the power sector. He maintained that they have to pay Rs500bn for the losses incurred by the power companies.

“It means the government of Pakistan is giving Rs16 per unit subsidy,” he added.

“The country is generating electricity Rs30-35 per unit, even, there are the most efficient power generation plants in the world.

Bad administration, flaws in the system for fixing the rate, transmission and distribution losses and other issues were major reasons behind the high power generation rate, he added.

On a query, he said that there is need to look the matter of financial losses of power distribution companies, PIA, Pakistan Steal Mills, Pakistan Railways and Gas companies. He further said that atleast two

The finance minister said that Pakistan is a nuclear power and the new government has to put the country’s economy on the right track. In violation of the agreements signed with the IMF, the previous government gave subsidies on fuel.

While responding a query, he said that as Finance Minister, it is not his duty to lodge criminal cases against previous government officials on violation of international agreements including IMF and others. He said that the relevant government department should look the matters. He said that the previous government named gifts to bribery.

He maintained that PM Shahbaz Sharif took difficult decisions for the sake of the country. Now, the country has left no option other than tough decisions,

Miftah Ismail said the government has imposed additional taxes on the well-off people while efforts have been made to reduce the tax on personal income tax. He said Pakistan is a dignified nuclear power state and we will have to correct the course of our economy.

The finance minister said that the government would bring 2.5 million shopkeepers into the tax net this year.

Highlighting another “significant” development announced in the Finance Bill 2023, Miftah Ismail said they have introduced a new dispute resolution mechanism to solve cases involving the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). He said that he offers to those peoples who have tax cases in courts or tribunal, let’s come and solve it through new dispute resolution mechanism.

“Earlier, the FBR officials were empowered to decide who would head the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committees (ADRCs) but It has been changed now.”

Under the new mechanism, the FBR would select one referee and the complainant would select one and both of these nominees will choose the third individual who would act as an umpire.

“The decision will be based on the majority,” he said, adding that it would help address the concerns raised by the business community.

While underscoring the need for utilizing the country’s resources, Miftah Ismail said that they could not use even 5% of our total resources.

Alluding to the soaring prices of palm oil in the international market, the Miftah Ismail said the package of 20 billion rupees has been given to promote the cultivation of oil seeds. The finance minister, however, admitted that it does not seem that the prices of the commodity will come down this year.

The finance minister said that Rs400bn subsidy was given to the gas sector. He maintained that they would not let any factory be closed as they provide jobs to the people.

The government is facing losses in the gas sector, he said, adding that it is not known whether the gas is being stolen or it is evaporating

In her remarks, Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha said that our aim is to ensure economic stability and take the country towards the track of growth. She said the philosophy of the budget in these difficult times had been to put minimum burden on the comman man. He said we are providing relief to the common man and this includes the cash amount of two thousand rupees to the deserving families.

Aisha Ghaus Pasha said that subsidy has been given to the farmers to enhance agro productivity and cut the import bill of food items. She said reducing budget deficit and non-imposition of indirect taxes are anti-inflationary measures which were taken to protect the poor.

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