General

Finance Minister presents amendments for federal budget 2018-19

Finance Minister Asad Umar presented proposed amendments for the federal budget 2018-19 in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, ministers, and lawmakers from various political parties attended the NA session today.
As he began his speech, Umar recalled that fiscal deficit had increased from 4.1 per cent at the start of the last government’s tenure to 6.6 per cent at the end of its term.
“The country stands at the same place where it was after five years,” the finance minister lamented, adding that the fiscal deficit might reach to 7.2 per cent [Rs2,900 billion] in FY19.
Umar also recalled that the current account deficit increased from 2.5 billion dollars in 2012-13 to 18 billion dollars in FY18.
“In the five-year term [of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government], foreign debt increased by 34 billion dollars, while foreign exchange reserves continued to decline speedily,” Umar said.
He further said that the depleting foreign exchange reserves have led to the Pakistan rupee’s depreciation.
The proposed amendments by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Isnaf government include removal of regulatory duty on raw materials used by export industries. “Zero duty on raw materials will benefit the export industries by Rs 5 billion,” Umar noted.
Major points
1. Govt withdraws decision to increase petroleum development levy
2. Rs5 billion relief provided to export industry
3. Minimum pension
4. Duty on expensive mobile phones to be increased
5. Duty on 1800cc and above vehicles set at 20 per cent
6. Non-filer tax rate increased by 0.6 per cent 0.4 per cent
7. Health card system will be introduced across Pakistan
The finance minister said that unchanged gas tariff for the export industries is expected to provide a relief of Rs 44 billion to the export industry.
A new health card system will allow citizens to buy medicine at lower prices. According to the finance minister, 4.5 million citizens will benefit from this scheme.
Furthermore, an increase in tax on expensive mobile phones and vehicles above 1800cc were proposed.