Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin has said that inflation is there to remain and the government will frame programs in the next few days to improve the income of different segments of society affected by the international commodity price hike.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad on Wednesday, he admitted that the salaried class and the urban lower-to-middle class were suffering because of inflation.
Shaukat Tarin said the country’s economy was growing, especially after rebasing, adding that all economic indicators were improving. He affirmed that the current fiscal year would end with over 5 percent of growth.
He said the government had also started the Ehsaas Rashan program to provide essential items such as ghee, pulses, and wheat flour at subsidized rates to 20 million households. The government would give Rs. 1,000 per month to each household, he added.
The Finance Minister said that Kamyab Pakistan Program had also started taking off and so far Rs. 1 billion had been disbursed under the scheme. He said the program was providing interest-free loans to start businesses as well as the construction of houses. He said these allocations would be significantly enhanced in the months ahead.
He pointed out that there had been a record revenue collection whilst exports and remittances were also increasing. He said the private sector was getting over Rs. 1.45 trillion liquidity. “We are not taking any loans from the State Bank of Pakistan since 2019, and the government has returned SBP’s Rs 1.5 trillion loan as well,” he underlined.
Shaukat Tarin said the corporate profitability of 100 large companies had reached Rs. 929 billion, which was 70 percent higher than what these companies were making in 2018. Similarly, electricity consumption, he said, had increased manyfold and the imports were also increasing, widening the trade deficit. However, he added, the majority of imports were in machinery and value addition sectors. He maintained that the tax collection was 33 percent higher compared to the previous years, while the agricultural growth was much higher from previous years.
The Minister was confident that the goods exports would touch $31 billion and those of IT would reach $3.5 billion. He said the remittances remained at $15.8 billion during the first six months of the current fiscal year.
To a question, he said the International Monetary Fund had rescheduled its board meeting once again on the request of Pakistan and by the time the Supplementary Finance Bill would be passed through the Senate.