Budget silent over resource allocation to businesses. 27 pc revenue hike difficult, reduction in customs duties a good step. Virus, locust and circular debt to keep growth rate hostage.

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(June 13, 2020)

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, FPCCI’s Businessmen Panel Sr. Vice Chairman, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Saturday said government’s announcement to boost revenue by 27 percent to Rs4.963 trillion without introducing any new tax in beyond understanding.

The decision will put additional the burden on tax administration which will be transferred to the business community amid sluggish economic activities, negative growth rate, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the revenue target will only be achievable if a mini-budget is introduced adding to the problems of the masses and the business community.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said the public sector companies are wasting Rs600 billion but the budget document is silent about it.

The former minister noted relief has been stressed in the budget but there is no roadmap for it while pushing up GDP growth to 2.1 percent is difficult in the present national and international circumstances.

The veteran business leader said that virus, locust, political friction, government’s expanses, economic downfall, increasing circular debt and seven percent budget deficit will be major obstacles in increasing the growth rate.

He said that the government has claimed improved construction activities but reduced consumption of cement is contradicting the claim. Reduced spending has been envisioned except for the defence and debt servicing which will be hard to manage for the government.

The budget proposes a 12 percent hike in defence budget, Rs2.946 would be spent on debt servicing while Rs100 billion would be raised through privatization which is discouraging.

He said that subsidies have been reduced by 48 percent, power sector subsidy will be brought down from Rs200 billion to Rs124 billion, petroleum levy has been increased by 73 percent while Rs70 billion have been earmarked for corona related schemes which include helping the poor.

Custom duties have been abolished for 163 tariff lines which is a good step, he said, adding that Rs14 billion have been allocated for three hospitals of Karachi while a package has been announced for frontline health workers which are positive moves.

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