Islamabad, May 03, 2018 (PPI-OT): Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue/Federal Minister Senator Haroon Akhtar Khan has hit out at the Opposition for glossing over five-year achievements of the government and painting a bleak picture of the economy requiring imposition of an “economic emergency”.
“Surely, the suggestion of an economic emergency would have made sense in 2013 when the economy was in shambles, with almost all economic indicators showing a bleak situation, but for the Opposition to insinuate and belittle our economic achievements of the last five years shows their inherent bias and poor understanding of the economy,” he said in a statement in response to what he called “unjust” and “unwarranted” criticism by the Opposition of the government’s economic performance over the last five years.
Haroon Akhtar Khan reminded the Opposition that five years ago in 2013, GDP growth was merely 3.68 percent while it was 5.79 percent now. Similar growth trends were visible in the industry which grew from 0.75 percent in 2013 to 5.80 in 2018; in agriculture which grew from 2.68 percent in 2013 to 3.81 percent; and in Services sector which had grown from 5.13 percent in 2013 to 6.43 percent in 2018.
He also alluded to an impressive growth recorded in the industrial sector during the last five years with large-scale manufacturing leading the way with 2.98 percent growth in 2013 to 6.24 in 2018 while even greater growth had been recorded in the construction sector which had risen from 1.08 percent in 2013 to 9.13 percent in 2018.
The Minister drew attention of the Opposition towards a massive increase in the agriculture credit given to farmers during the last five years, saying while a puny amount of Rs 196.12 billion was loaned to framers in 2013, the figure had reached Rs 569.97 billion in 2018 while the target for financial year 2018 was Rs 1,001 billion. “Similar growth trends can be seen for the last five years in the wheat crop which grew from 24.21 million tonnes in 2013 to 25.49 million tonnes in 2018; rice which grew from 5.54 to 7.44 million tonnes; maize which improved from 4.22 to 5.70 million tonnes; sugarcane which rose from 63.75 to 81.10 million; and whole sale and retail trade which went up from 3.53 WRT to 7.51 WRT.”
Haroon Akhtar Khan also challenged the Opposition on the inflation front where in the last five years, the CPI had come down from 7.98 in July-March 2013 to merely 3.78 percent in July-March 2018, with the core inflation also going down from 10.05 percent to 5.45 percent. “Similarly, our foreign exchange reserves rose from $ 11.85 billion in April 2013 to $16.91 billion in April 2018 while per capita income had also increased from $ 1,333 in June 2013 to $1,640 in April 2018,” he added.
He also drew the attention of the Opposition towards a 160 percent hike in the allocations for the BISP which received Rs 121 billion in 2017-18 as against Rs 46.5 in 2012-13. “Not only this, we have also brought down the unemployment rate from 6.2 percent to 5.9 percent, risen the PSX index from 19,916 to 45,877, market capitalization from Rs 5.049 trillion to Rs 9.449 trillion at 87.1 percent growth rate, and incorporation of companies from 2,876 to 8,349, recording an impressive 190.3 percent growth over FY 2012-13.
Talking about the government’s achievements on the monetary front, Haroon Akhtar said the SBP policy rate had been brought down from 9.0 percent in 2012-13 to 6.0 percent in 2017-18 while credit to private sector (flows) had shot from a negative 7.6 percent for full year in 2012-13 to an impressive Rs 469.2 billion in July-March 2017-2018. He also questioned the Opposition’s criticism of the public debt saying the total debt of the government was 60.2 percent of GDP in 2013 while it was fractionally higher at 61.4 percent of the GDP in 2017.
Haroon Akhtar Khan also mentioned a remarkable almost 100 percent growth revenue growth registered by the government during the last five years. “We provided maximum facilitation to the taxpayers and businesses by introducing one audit in three years with salaried class completely out of audit, simplified return form for salaried class, 40B to be directly supervised by FBR, 10% payment on automatic stay at Commissioner’s Appeal and making ADRC decisions binding,” he added.
In the Income Tax, he listed several incentives and concessions given by the government in the areas of super tax, bonus share, corporate rate, AoP rate, relaxing of distribution of 40% net profit to 20% and the tax from 7.5% to 5% percent. “Similar incentives and concessions have also been given in the areas of Custom duty and Sales tax and many pro-business and pro-growth revenue measures have also been adopted to further steady the existing and achieve 7 percent growth in the coming years,” he added.
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