Islamabad Politics Report: Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umar Saturday said a finance bill would be presented on January 23 with an aim to provide an ease of doing business environment instead of focusing on revenue generation.
Addressing the business community here at the Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), he said the finance bill was initially to be presented on January 21 but it had now been rescheduled due to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s foreign visit.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was taking measures with regard to the ease of doing business. The business community would be offered incentives in the finance bill, he added.
He said in the 21st century, the economy of a country was driven by private sector and that was why the government intended to provide them better facilities.
He said the PTI was the only political party which emphasized on the ease of doing business in its manifesto for general election-2018. The prime minister chaired a meeting every month to discuss steps regarding ease of doing business, he added.
He said there would also be good news for stock exchange in the finance bill.
The minister said,”Pakistan’s trade deficit had reached the dangerous level in the previous year.” With increased investment, the economy would progress, he added.
Asad Umar said in its first five months, the government had taken solid steps for the uplift of the most deprived segments of the society.
Recalling his recent visit to Turkey, the minister said he had suggested promotion of strong bilateral trade between the two countries like their robust diplomatic relations.
He said the government wanted peace not only in the country but also in the entire region and for the purpose it desired to have dialogue with India for the resolution of Kashmir dispute. The military leadership was also on the same page with the government for talks with India, he added.
The minister said the results of PTI government’s positive policies would be visible soon with pouring in foreign investment in the country.
For the first time in its history, Pakistan was being supported overwhelmingly by the friendly countries, he added. Asad Umar assured the business community that gas supply issue would be resolved soon.
He said only professionals were now being inducted in economic institutions on merit. The discretionary powers of low-rank officials of the Federal Board of Revenue had been withdrawn, he added. Later talking to media persons, the minister said the PTI-led government had overcome the economic challenges, which it had inherited.
Replying to a query, he said the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund were underway. To another question, he said the scope of Karachi Infrastructure Development Co Ltd. (KIDCL) was being expanded. The federal government was working on different projects through the company, he added.
Responding to another question, Asad Umar said there was nothing secret about the debts taken under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as their details had been made public. Earlier, the KCCI members, including Chairman Businessmen Group Siraj Qassam Telli, apprised the minister of different problems being faced by the business community, including low gas pressure and its shortage, tax-related issues and discretionary powers of FBR officers. The business community hailed the incumbent government for its anti-corruption measures and demanded continuity of the accountability process.