ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar Wednesday said Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) collected taxes worth Rs. 1593.5 billion during the first seven months of current fiscal year as against Rs. 1345.3 billion the same period last year, constituting 18.4 percent increase.
Briefing Senate on Public Debt and Economy, the Minister expressed the confidence that at the current pace of collection, the country could expect tax collection to the tune of Rs. over 3000 billion by the end of the current fiscal year.
He said budget deficit during seven months of the current fiscal year was 1.8 percent as against 2.3 percent of same period last year. Remittances by Overseas Pakistanis during seven months were 11.2 billion dollars, representing six percent increase over the same period last year, he added.
The Finance Minister acknowledged that there was eleven percent decline in exports during first seven months of the current financial year because of global economic depression.
He said exports during this period were $12.513 billion as against $14.129 billion during same period last year.
He said imports also declined by 6.8 percent during this period as compared to same period last year, adding that imports in first seven months stood at $23.387 billion as against $25.108 billion during comparable period last year.
The Minister said trade deficit during first seven months stood at $10.874 billion which was slightly less than $10.979 billion same period last year.
He said Foreign Direct Investment during this period was $647.9 billion as against 619.6 billion dollars same period last year, representing 4.6 percent increase.
In his briefing, the minister said inflation during eight months of the current financial year was recorded at 2.48 percent as against 5.45 percent same period last year.
He hoped that inflation would remain below 4 percent for the whole year. Ishaq Dar said GDP growth rate target for the current year was 5.5 percent but there might by some problems because of decline in cotton production.
Brushing aside speculations and misinterpretation about debts, he said total debt of the country till December 2015, stood at Rs. 18467 billion including Rs. 5599 billion external debt and 12870 billion domestic debt.
He said the government had returned $4.4 billion to the IMF, out of $5.27 billion loan.
The Minister categorically said Pakistan would never role back its nuclear programme. The country would not compromise on its nuclear programme and provide necessary resources for the programme. “Out nuclear programme is asset of the nation,” he added.
He said provision of funds for Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) was also top priority of the government, adding it spent Rs. 45 billion on TDPs while Rs. 100 billion had been allocated during the current financial year while Rs. 45 billion would be spent on them next year.
He said terrorism and energy crisis were the biggest problems of the country and government was utilizing all its resources to resolve these issues on priority basis.
He said after redressing these issues, the country’s economy would be further strengthened.