All eyes were on the parliament as the Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin presented federal budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 on the floor of the house.
Tarin began his speech by saying it was an honour for him to present the PTI's third buget.
He said there were a lot of difficulties but this government had laid the ground for the economy to revive and now "it is going towards development and prosperity".
The finance minister was greeted by jeers from Opposition benches, with members shouting slogans and taunting the finance minister by laughing loudly as he praised PM Imran Khan's economic initiatives.
Tarin said PM Imran Khan's government does not hesitate from taking difficult decisions. He said the incumbent government had, through its sound economic policies, turned around the current account deficit into a surplus in 2021.
He said when the PTI came into power, the economy had gone almost bankrupt. "Everyone knows we were under the burden of so many loans," he said, adding that the current account deficit was at a historic high of $20 billion.
He said that the budget deficit was at a high of 6.6% and the foreign exchange reserves were at a critical level of $10 billion at the end of PML-N’s tenure. However, the situation has now improved.
The minister paid tribute to the PTI government for stemming the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and taking steps to ensure businesses did not suffer massive losses in the country due to the lockdowns.
From March-May we faced the third crisis but through timely action, we managed to come out of this situation.
Talking about agriculture, the minister said that the agriculture sector witnessed historic growth.
The Minister said an agricultural transformational plan has been devised to increase productivity. Under this plan, support will be provided from water to seeds, fertilizer, agri-credit, tractors and machinery, commodity warehousing, cold storage and food processing industry.
The Finance Minister said the government is placing highest priority to uplift the agriculture sector. He said 12 billion rupees are being allocated for various agri-related initiatives. These include one billion rupees for locust emergency and food security projects; two billion rupees for enhancing productivity of rice, wheat, cotton, sugarcane and pulses; one billion rupees for enhancing oil cultivation on commercial scale and three billion rupees for improvement of water courses.
Tarin claimed that Pakistan has now entered the growth club. “Economy is on the way of growth.”
Finance Minister said Pakistan has become a food-deficit country due to years of negligence, adding that inflation has created troubles for low income peoples. He has said that sugar prices increased by 18 percent.
"We need to make Pakistan food sufficient and for this purpose, we need to focus agriculture," said Tarin, vowing to bring reforms for the agriculture sectors.
Tarin said remittances had increased in Pakistan to record levels, adding that these are expected to rise to $29 billion by the end of this month. “This is proof of the love that overseas Pakistanis harbour for Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he said.
The finance minister announced that for FY22, the government had set GDP growth target at 4.8pc.
He said in the next couple of years, the government wants to increase growth to 6-7 per cent.
Shaukat Tarin said that PTI’s government has decided to provide tax relief package.
Subsidy worth Rs3 lac rupee will be given. And for the first time, mortgage financing has been started.
He said the gross revenues for the next fiscal year have been estimated at 7909 billion rupees compared to revised estimate of 6395 billion rupees for the outgoing fiscal year. This shows a handsome growth of 24 percent in gross revenues. The Minister said the FBR revenues are projected to grow by 24 percent from 4691 billion rupees to 5829 billion rupees. Non-tax revenues are projected to grow by 22 percent.
Shaukat Tarin said the provincial share in federal taxes would increase from 2704 billion rupees last year to 3411 billion rupees. This means an additional 707 billion rupees or 25 percent increase. This should enable the provinces to spend resources on development and critical social sectors like health, education, population welfare, youth, women development, sports and labour welfare, he added.
After provincial transfers, the net federal revenues are estimated at 4497 billion rupees compared to 3691 billion rupees under the revised estimate for last year. This shows a growth of about 22 percent.
The Finance Minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to change the course of the history by uplifting four to six million low income households through bottom-up approach from next year.
He said every household will be provided 500,000 rupees interest free business loans. Every farming household will be given 2050,000 rupees interest free farming loan and 200,000 rupees for tractors and machineries. These families will be provided with low interest housing loans up to two million rupees so that they can build their houses. Every household shall be provided with a Sehat Card and one percent from every household will be provided free technical training.
Through this action we are giving a comprehensive package to the low-income group people; slogan of which was raised by many leaders in the past but nothing was delivered. He said this is an essential requirement of Imran Khan's promise of Riasat-e-Madina.
The Finance Minister announced the grant of ten percent adhoc relief allowance for all the federal government employees and ten percent increase in pensions with effect from next month. The orderly allowance has been enhanced from 14,000 rupees to 17,500. The integrated allowance for employees in basic pay scale one to five has been doubled from 450 rupees to 900 rupees.
The Finance Minister said the minimum wage is proposed to be increased to twenty thousand rupees to mitigate the inflationary pressures on the low income groups.