ISLAMABAD: After achieving economic stability, the focus of Budget 2016-17 would be on improving economic growth by prioritizing agriculture sector development and promotion of exports, said Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Saturday.
The Finance Minister stated this while addressing a crowded post budget press here at P Block Auditorium.
He was flanked by Advisor to the Prime Minister on Revenues Haroon Akhhtar, Special Secretary to Finance Ministry Dr. Shuja Ali, Secretary Finance Dr.Waqar Masood Khan, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Nisar Muhammad Khan, Additional Secretary Finance Tariq Mehmood Pasha and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.
Ishaq Dar said that the two sectors which needed boost for the promotion of country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) were agriculture and exports.
He said agriculture provides employment to 45 percent labour forces and 70 percent population is dependent on it while its share in national GDP is about 21 percent, adding negative growth of 0.19 in this sector and 28% reduction in cotton production did affect overall growth rate.
He said that provision of relief to agriculture sector was the top most priority of the government so in the budget 2016-17, the prices of Urea fertilizers have been reduced by Rs. 400 per bag from Rs. 1800 to Rs.1400 while the prices of DAP has also been cut from 2800 to 2500 providing 300 relief to farmers.
He said the agriculture package announced in the federal budget was devised in consultations with farmers representatives, chambers of commerce and other stakeholders.
He said that sales tax on pesticides have also been zero rated while the per unit electricity charges for tube wells has been reduced from Rs.8.85 plus sales tax to Rs.5.35 adding that the provinces have been requested to adjust sales tax keeping in consideration to provide relief to farmers.
The Minister said that the second priority sector for boosting growth was to promotion of exports.
He said that due to fall in commodity prices in the international market the exports from the county witnessed decline in terms of cost, however the exports of different commodities increased in terms of quantity.
He said that Pakistan aimed at enhancing ratio of exports to GDP which is about 15 percent or US 45 billion in emerging economies.
He informed that in July this year Pakistan Stock Exchange was likely to be accepted by the international stock market as a frontier market.
He said the government was all set to launch Pakistan Microfinance Company which would have potential of providing microfinance facility to 25 million people and would also help in creation of 300 000 new jobs.
Moreover, he said when the country’s economic growth would cross 7 per cent, a huge number of new jobs would also be created due to increase in economic activities in the country.
Courtesy : TheNews