Major fiscal deficits managed: Hafeez

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– says Reforms bearing fruits

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to PM on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shiekh and Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Syed Shabbar Zaidi addressing a press conference. – File Photo

By Asad Cheema

ISLAMABAD: Advisor to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has announced that the federal government has managed to overcome two major financial deficits of the country.
Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, while addressing a press conference alongside the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman Shabbar Zaidi, said that the authorities have successfully reduced the trade deficit up to 35 per cent and the decrease of the same figure was made in its fiscal deficit.
“The trade deficit stood at $9 billion in the first quarter of the previous financial year, whereas, the fiscal deficit was Rs476 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. After shrinking the gap between the income and expenses of the government to 36 per cent, the deficits were reduced up to 35 pc.”
“Sixteen per cent increase was made in revenue and the same hike was made in tax collections. The government has not acquired any loan from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and no supplementary grants were issued during the last three months.”
“The reduction in the government’s deficit indicates that the state will have to acquire lesser loans. The improving economical situation will also benefit the nation in future.”
“An increase up to 100 pc is witnessed as compared to the previous year in term of non-tax income after receiving Rs406 billion which would be taken to Rs1600 billion. In past, millions of dollars were wasted to stabilise the value of the national currency.”“The present government has taken difficult steps which are gradually giving us positive results. Foreign investors expressed confidence in the national economy, whereas, the exchange rate comes to a stable point besides hike of 22 per cent in stock marks from August 2019. Global institutions are giving positive statements for Pakistan as well.”
“PM Imran Khan wanted to eliminate money laundering from the country which would give a good message to the world. The government is willing to get out of the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and steps are underway to achieve the goal.” “The reduction in the government’s deficit indicates that the state will have to acquire lesser loans. The improving economical situation will also benefit the nation in future.”
The finance adviser further said that PM Imran Khan wanted to eliminate money laundering from the country which would give a good message to the world. He said that the government is willing to get out of the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and steps are underway to achieve the goal. While addressing the media persons, Shabbar Zaidi revealed that Dubai’s land authority showed agreement to provide details of the properties to the government besides taking steps for misusage of Iqama (work permit). He said that the issues including the misusage of Iqama and provision of properties details were discussed in meetings with the Dubai officials.
The FBR chairman said that Pakistan has gained complete support of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He further detailed that the authorities have also held talks over double tax treaty with the Dubai officials. He expressed hopes that Iqama will not be used illegally in future.
While answering to a question, Zaidi said that the government is holding dialogues with the two traders’ groups and it will satisfy the businesspersons regarding the condition of the national identity card.
Agencies Add: Adviser on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh on Saturday said the difficult decisions taken by the government have started bearing positive results on the economic front.
Addressing a news conference along with Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Shabbar Zaidi here about the economic situation of the country, he said the government has overcome the fiscal and trade deficits.
He said the trade deficit witnessed a decrease of 35 per cent and fiscal deficit 36 per cent during the first quarter of the current fiscal year.
Hafeez Sheikh said the current account deficit has been reduced to the record level. “For this, we struck agreements with the friendly countries as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.”
He said Pakistan’s exchange rate and foreign reserves were standing at strong levels with sixteen per cent surge in revenues. He said that “0.8million additional people have come to the tax net”. The adviser said the government has not made any borrowing from the State Bank of Pakistan over the last three months with the aim to control the inflation. He said the government didn’t take supplementary grants as there was a check on the expenditures.
Sheikh said the non-tax revenue contributed Rs406bn in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. He said this was 140 per cent more than the last corresponding period, adding this was a big achievement.