Adviser to the Prime Minister on Economic Affairs Abdul Hafeez Sheikh has said that the government will not introduce any new taxes in the upcoming budget for 2020-21.
Talking to a private news channel, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that the government will bring down duties to zero on many more items in the coming budget in order to boost industries. He said that the government will have to devise smart budgeting in order to create a cushion for stimulating the stagnating economy.
Hafeez said the government will have to do work hard in the coming days to reduce the budget deficit to 9%.
He said that the negative impact of the coronavirus is also affecting our national economy like other countries, adding that the government is trying to reduce its expenditures by adopting austerity measures.
The adviser said the present government had inherited $20 billion in budget deficit which had been reduced to $3 billion by adopting prudent policies. He said the basic objective of the government was to provide relief to the people in the next budget, adding duties going to be decreased on many things in the coming budget.
The Adviser said that due to the efforts of the State Bank of Pakistan, reserves have increased to $12 billion dollars but unfortunately foreign remittances decreased by 6% due to the virus.
He said that Islamabad expects good news on account of $1.8 billion deferred payment facility from G20 countries.
Replying to a question, he said the government will announce a package in the upcoming budget to specific sectors to increase economic activities and generate employment opportunities in the country.
The government is trying to give economic aid to the people through the physical stimulus package, with Rs. 12,000 per person being distributed among the unemployed people under the Ehsaas Program.
He said that the government will make a decision about hedging oil prices in international in the next two to four weeks as the ECC will take up the decision in the context of analyzing its price and attached cost of insurance to get a life time opportunity to get benefits out of it.
He said the government will try to maintain petroleum prices at the current level.
To another query regarding illicit cigarette shares when the withholding tax was brought down to Rs. 10 per kg on tobacco production, Dr. Hafeez Shaikh said that the prime minister had issued instructions to take stern action against illegal cigarettes.
He said that efforts will be made to bring the informal sector into the tax net.