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Economic stability main target: Hafeez

03 June, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Saturday said that the main focus of the Federal Budget 2012-13 was to ensure continuity of microeconomic stability in the country to provide relief to the poor.

He was addressing a post-budget briefing at the Planning Commission Auditorium. Finance Secretary Wajid Ali Rana, Adviser to the Finance Ministry Rana Asad Amin, EAD Secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan and FBR Chairman Mumtaz Hyder were also present.

He said that the country's economic situation was uncomfortable, yet manageable, adding that institutions such as the IMF were there to help out countries trapped in balance of payment difficulties.

Defending proposed provision of the Finance Bill 2012 relating to provision of security and other facilities to the presidents and prime ministers of Pakistan after their retirement, the minister said this is being done around the world to acknowledge their services for their country and in Pakistan this would be done in accordance with set rules.

Shaikh said the pace of inflation has been on declining trend for the last couple of years and it was projected to come down to single digit this year.

The minister said that the government would ensure tax collection from all those who were liable to pay, adding that due to the efforts of the government the tax collection increased by Rs 400 billion during the current fiscal year, showing 25 percent increase.

He said owing to increase in the oil prices in international market, the electricity generation cost was increasing in the country and the government was providing subsidy to share this burden and provide relief to people.

He said the government had taken measures and increased allocation in the current budget for the energy sector development, adding that the power sector was provided highest allocations in the PSDP.

He said the government had already added about 3,500megawatt electricity to the national grid system while work on several other projects was underway. Power crisis could not be resolved with financial allocation alone; things would improve with the upgrading of administrative structure, he added.

Shaikh said the government was trying to make the taxation system easier in order to facilitate the taxpayers.

He said the procedure for paying income tax has been changed in a way that as many as 1.4 million taxpayers would get relief. He said an international institute would be established at the Prime Minister's House and the premier would live in a small house.

End.

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