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New FY budget aimed at reducing fiscal deficit: Finance Minister

Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb says on the directions of the Prime Minister, the process of simplicity and austerity will be continued in the next fiscal year



New FY budget aimed at reducing fiscal deficit: Finance Minister
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Islamabad: Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb said the budget for the next fiscal year is aimed at reducing fiscal deficit by focusing on measures that enhance the government’s revenues and reduce unnecessary expenditures.

Winding up discussion on the budget 2024-25 in the National Assembly, he said on the directions of the Prime Minister, the process of simplicity and austerity will be continued in the next fiscal year.

He said a committee headed by him has been constituted which will present recommendations in this regard including closing down the ministries or their merger and devolution to the provinces.

The Finance Minister announced that the pension expenditures will be brought down through pension reforms in future.

Muhammad Aurangzeb pointed out that the home-grown reforms program is the basis of the next year’s fiscal budget in order to steer the country out of a difficult economic situation.

He said the reforms include enhancing tax to GDP ratio to thirteen percent, SOE reforms, public private partnership and energy sector reforms.

The Minister said the government is seriously committed to this plan and started its implementation. He assured that all the stakeholders will be taken on board about the implementation of this plan.

He said the digitization process of FBR is being accelerated. He said legislation is being introduced in the parliament to bring changes in the boards of the power sector.  The privatization of the PIA has been taken forward.

Highlighting other points of the home-grown reforms plan, the Finance Minister said these include targeted social protection, broad based fair taxation system and initiatives for the health and education sectors including skills development.

Muhammad Aurangzeb was appreciative of the recommendations submitted by the Senate for inclusion in the next year’s budget.

He said the government has decided to include these recommendations in the budget keeping in view the public interest.

He said these include providing an opportunity to the non-filers for personal hearing before implementing the measures of SIM blockage and ban on foreign travel. 

He announced that the stationery items will remain exempted from tax. He said the current reduced rates for Hybrid-Electric Vehicles will remain intact.

He said under Export Facilitation Scheme 2021 policy, zero rating for the local suppliers is not being abolished.

The Finance Minister said agriculture, education and health sectors have been prioritized, while proposals such as exempting charity hospitals from sales tax will be given a serious consideration.

Muhammad Aurangzeb said the government is fast tracking reforms in the FBR and for this purpose, seven billion rupees have been earmarked in the budget.

He said action will be taken against the retailers from the 1st of July failing to register them with FBR Tajir Dost Scheme.

As regards the defence budget, the Finance Minister said our armed forces have rendered immense sacrifices for defence of the country and are standing firm to meet the internal and external threats.

He said national security is our foremost priority, assuring that the armed forces will be provided with the necessary resources.

The Finance Minister announced honoraria equivalent to three months basic pay for various departments including the staff of National Assembly, Senate, PID, Radio Pakistan, PTV and APP, who performed duties in the Parliament House during the budget session.