LAHORE: Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Dr Farooq Sattar has said that for sustainable growth, the government would have to announce welfare budget by cutting defence expenditures.
MQM's parliamentary leader was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday. LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh, Senior Vice President Kashif Younis Meher, Vice President Saeeda Nazar, former Presidents Iftikhar Ali Malik, Mian Anjum Nisar and Mian Muzaffar Ali were present on the occasion.
Dr Farooq Sattar said that the country at the moment is facing multiple challenges and the economic crisis is on the top of the list. Therefore, the government would have to come up with out-of-box solutions otherwise the survival of the country is at stake.
He said that it is not only the economic recovery is direly needed at this juncture but measures are needed to make it sustainable for years to come. “We would have to bring down the cost of doing business for making Pakistani goods competitive in the world market where they have lost their due place”, he added.
He said that relief to the common man is need of the hour and it is only possible if the common man is made part of budget making process. He suggested an increase of Rs400 billion in direct taxes to deal with the challenge of fiscal deficit.
Dr Farooq Sattar said that they have proposed a reduction of 10 percent in defence budget and a sizeable cut in civil expenditure to overcome prevailing economic challenges. The additional collection of Rs400 billion included Rs100 billion through agriculture income tax, Rs50 billion through Afghan transit trade, dealing with under-invoicing and smuggling Rs50 billion and raising another Rs50 billion by tax on agricultural trading. Improvement in monitoring, broadening the tax base and elimination of tax evasion due to corruption would generate another Rs200 billion.
"Direct taxes are proposed to be increased from existing 32 percent to 45 percent and indirect taxes are proposed to bring down from 68 percent to 55 percent in the next fiscal year.
He also proposed abolition of petroleum levy. It proposed an allocation of Rs250 billion subsidies for the energy sector to resolve the problem of inter-circular debt and Rs150 billion subsidy for food and fertiliser support to help revive the agriculture sector.