Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Minister for Finance Asad Umar said on Friday that government had not yet decided if it should go for any programme with International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, a decision to that effect would be taken by October.

The minister said that all options including approaching the IMF were open, adding that he never said that the government would not go to the IMF.

Talking to a private TV channel, he said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) would launch a campaign against tax evaders and take strict action against them adding that campaign is to be launched from September 29 (Saturday) aimed to bring more people in tax net for broadening the tax base and enhancing revenue collection.

The minister said that currently, only 700,000 people in the country were paying tax, adding that tax base would be broadened to minimize the tax burden on people, who were already paying their taxes with full honesty.

The minister said the increasing trend in petroleum prices was not good for the national economy, however, in order to provide maximum relief to the common man the ratio of withholding tax on petroleum products would be reduced.

Asad Umar said that the national economy was passing through a critical stage and was facing multi challenges, adding that it was difficult to forecast about the income and expenditures.

‘The government was taking measures to further strengthen the national economy. Due to mismanagement and ill planning of Pakistan Muslim League (N) government, the national economy was badly damaged,’ said the lawmaker.

Umar said at the inception of the PTI government, the country’s economy was in worst condition, adding that people would now see immense difference between previous and today’s economy.

He said that current account and fiscal deficits were swelling due to ineffective policies of last government, adding that an Economic Advisory Council (EAC) was constituted to review policies, plans and programmes to put the economy on the fast track economic development and social prosperity.

The council was working under the supervision of the incumbent government, which was responsible for its good and bad, he added.

Asad Umar said the State Bank of Pakistan was looking after all the matters related to monetary policy and exchange rate, adding that the government had no concern with them in that regard.

To a question, he said small industry export would generate job opportunities for unemployed youth as Pakistan youth had great potential to earn huge amount of money, as many of them were already earning money online.

The coming four to five months, he said, would provide a platform to serve the country and masses, he stated.

Commenting on providing 500,000 houses, he said the PTI government would give concrete plan regarding the provision of houses.