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Govt committed to reduce expenditures, boot revenues: Aurangzeb

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Govt committed to reduce expenditures, boot revenues: Aurangzeb

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ISLAMABAD: Federal Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Aurangzeb reiterated government’s commitment to reduce expenditures and boost revenues as part of a comprehensive effort to strengthen the country’s economy on sustainable grounds.

Addressing a press conference in his hometown, Kamalia, the minister said the federal government would shut down parallel ministries or departments that have been devolved to provinces.

This move is expected to significantly reduce expenditure and improve efficiency, adding, the Prime Minister has already announced the closure of Pakistan Public Works Department, a move that will help reduce the financial burden on the government.

Secondly, the government will privatize state-owned enterprises (SOEs), which have been a significant drain on the national exchequer. The minister cited the example of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which has a liability of 622 billion that has been transferred to the government.

The minister also announced that airport outsourcing is being completed, with Karachi airport set to be handed over to the private sector by July or August this year, to be followed by Lahore airport.

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The government is committed to reducing losses and burdens on the federal government, and these measures are part of a larger effort to achieve this goal.

The minister emphasized that the Prime Minister was personally leading the effort to reduce expenditures and improve efficiency.

On revenue side, the minister emphasized the need to increase the tax-to-GDP ratio from 9.5% to 13% over the next three years, stressing that taxes are essential for running the country.

To achieve this goal, the government has announced revenue measures, including bringing the non-taxable sector into the tax base, gradually eliminating tax exemptions worth Rs3.9 trillion, and rephrasing policies in areas like health and agriculture.

 

The minister announced that 32,000 retailers have already been registered and will be taxed starting from July 2024, and emphasized the government’s commitment to bringing other sectors into the tax net.

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The government is also focusing on compliance, plugging leakages in the system, and implementing an end-to-end digitization system to reduce human intervention, increase transparency, and end corruption. Sales tax automation is a top priority, he remarked.

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He reiterated government’s commitment to develop the agricultural sector, saying Rs.41 billion have been earmarked the federal Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) to promote this sector.

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