No financial emergency in country: Dr.Hafeez

Federal Minister for Finance, Revenues and Economic Affairs, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh here on Thursday quashed the rumours of imposing any financial emergency saying that ‘No financial emergency is being imposed or needed in the country’.
Talking to journalists after attending a workshop on “Ensuring the transparent use of flood relief , rehabilitation and reconstruction funds” here at a local hotel , he said that financial managers of the country keep on reviewing the economic policies in 365 days of the year according to the requirements of the country.

He stressed the need for mobilizing the local resources for the relief of flood victims instead of taking loans for rehabilitation and reconstruction of people affected by the recent floods.

Dr Shaikh regretted that tax to GDP ratio was 9 percent in the country which is lowest in the world.

“Elite class in the country is not paying its due taxes”, he remarked and called upon them to pay their taxes properly for the socio economic prosperity of the country and for lessening reliability on the foreign /assistance.

The Finance Minister termed the recent floods as the biggest catastrophe in the history of the country which has severely damaged houses, farm lands, crops, livestock, roads and other infrastructures and displaced millions of people in the country.

“We don’t want that we should rebuild all these things by seeking loans but want to mobilize our own resources “, he remarked.

He said that government has already imposed Capital Gain Tax on those who can afford it adding that government wanted to put less tax burden on poor segment of the society and those who can afford are being taxed.

Replying to a question, he said that Reformed General Sales Tax would be imposed from October, 1, 2010, abolishing special tax exemptions.

He appreciated the Europeans Union (EU) for increasing market access for Pakistani goods with duty concessions to help Pakistan in the wake of devastating flood situation.

To another question, he said that government accords top priority to higher education and had enhanced the allocations in budget 2010-11 for Higher Education Commission (HEC) by 8 percent.

He reiterated that not a single foreign Pakistani student would be affected as the government would continue to provide financial support to them.

The Minister said that government also wanted to resolve the issue of 50 percent raise in the salaries of the staff of universities adding it had already established a pay committee comprising Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Chairman HEC and the representatives of the Vice Chancellors.

He expressed the hope that the issue would be resolved amicably.