Image Source/The Express Tribune

On Tuesday, the adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenues, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, announced that the government would not impose a new tax in the upcoming budget for the fiscal year 2020-21.

The decision was made to facilitate the industry and help check the contraction of the economy. “No new tax would be introduced in the upcoming budget, and we will not take any tax measure that overburdens our industry,” Shaikh said while talking to a private news channel.

Negative Impact of Coronavirus 

The coronavirus has affected our national economy like other countries. Pakistan will be taking measures to reduce its expenditures by adopting austerity measures. He emphasized that the government will have to work hard in the coming days to reduce the budget deficit to 9%.

The PTI government had inherited $20 billion in the budget deficit, which had been reduced to $3 billion by adopting policies.

He said the primary objective of the government was to provide relief to the people in the next budget. Due to the efforts of the State Bank of Pakistan, reserves have increased to 12 billion dollars. Unfortunately, foreign remittances decreased by 6% due to the deadly virus.

Oil Prices

He said that the government would decide between cutting oil prices 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 lifetime opportunity to get benefits out of it.

He said the government would try its best to maintain petroleum prices at the current level. Islamabad is expecting good news on account of a $1.8 billion deferred payment facility from G20 countries.

Generate Employment 

The government’s focus right now is to increase economic activities and generate employment opportunities in the country in specific sectors. He said the government would announce a package in the upcoming budget.

Illegal Cigarette Trade

Dr. Hafeez Shaikh said that the prime minister had issued instructions to take strict action against the illegal cigarette trade.

The withholding tax was brought down to Rs. 10 per kg on tobacco production. He said that efforts would be made to bring the informal sector into the tax net.

Ehsaas Program

Under the Ehsaas Program, the government is giving economic aid to the people through the physical stimulus package, with Rs. 12,000 per person.

Payments For Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program Have Begun Rolling

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