Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Saturday said that “The estimated loss to the GDP due to the coronavirus is Rs3 trillion”.
Hafeez Shaikh addressed the post-budget conference on Saturday in which he said, “The first nine months, we had a lot of success. In 2018, the national debt was Rs30,000 billion and during the first two months, we spent returning the loans we had,”
He also said that the budget presented was made considering the ongoing situation crisis happening in the country due to coronavirus pandemic.
“We paid Rs 2,700 billion towards debt retirement. This was done despite our total resources for provinces standing at Rs 2,000 billion,”
He also said that the Federal government has decreased its expenditures.
“The government also had a series of firsts, such as no borrowing from the State Bank of Pakistan, decreased imports and an increase in foreign investment of nearly 137% in the country,”
In addition to this, Shaikh continued that the government did not borrow money from the State Bank of Pakistan, and it has not granted supplementary to any department.
“But in between this the coronavirus came and affected our economy. We have suffered a loss of Rs700 billion in revenue due to the coronavirus outbreak,” adding that the current deficit was decreased from $20 billion to $3 billion.
“Coronavirus has affected the entire world. It is not an excuse, but it is a reality and thousands have been affected. Even the IMF has said countries would be affected by it; naturally, it has taken a toll on our economy as well.
On the other hand, the advisor Hafeez Shaikh talked about tax collection. He said that they would have gathered Rs4,000 to 4,500 billion if the Federal Bureau of Revenue had kept collecting tax till the end of the year.
“We now have Rs3,900 billion. No one could have stopped coronavirus and because of that, businesses were shut down and there has been a loss of employment.”
“To deal with the pandemic situation in the country, an Rs 1,200 billion package was announced by the government. [A significant chunk] has already been disbursed under the program to help the needy in the country,”
“It has reached 10 million Pakistanis. The public saw us distributing cash and giving aid without any discrimination.”
He also said, “Government also said it would pay bills of commercial enterprises and small businesses for three months to aid in their recovery. Rs50 billion was given to the agriculture sector to lessen the fertilizer costs.”
“More than 6,000 business enterprises took benefit and relief was given to consumers for their electric bills. The government did all this when it did not have money,”
He said that the government had nine months of stability in the year. “Despite the decline in prices of oil, diesel, etc. worldwide, we did not raise taxes or keep the portion of the profits made but made sure it trickled down to masses,”