Mini-budget to be unveiled on Jan 23
The federal government has decided not to enter an International Monetary Fund programme for now, Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Saturday.
The finance minister made the remarks while talking to businessmen at the Karachi Chamber of Commence and Industry. Umar said that instead of rushing into the IMF programme, the government was exploring alternative options.
Furthermore, the finance minister announced that the government will unveil a mini-budget on Jan 23 instead of Jan 21. He associated the two-day delay to an impending foreign trip of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The finance minister said that his visits of Lahore and Karachi were regarding a one-point agenda: the amended finance bill, which he said will facilitate businessmen.
Umar indicated that the amended bill will also carry “some good news” for the Pakistan Stock Exchange. The minister said that he consulted all stakeholders over the upcoming mini-budget, assuring the assortment of businessmen that tax anomalies will be eliminated in the budget.
The minister rejected the impression that the government was only borrowing money, stressing that several agreements have also been signed to bring investment into the country. “The impacts of the investment agreements will start surfacing from the next week,” he added.
Sharing details of the budget proposals, the finance minister said that powers of the Federal Board of Revenue’s statutory regulatory orders will be withdrawn.
He highlighted the need to address tax anomalies and said that any changes in taxation policies will be subject to parliamentary approval. Umar said the government was striving to create a conducive environment for encouraging ease of doing business and attracting foreign investment to uplift the economy.
He said the economy was core component of government’s foreign policy and that they were committed to promote trade and investment in the best interest of the country.
The minister said Pakistan wanted cordial relations with all countries of the region, including India and there was a need to resolve all the issues between the two countries through dialogue.
Asad Umar, even before he was sworn in, had said that the economy would need an infusion of more than $12 billion within six weeks.